Monday, June 15, 2009

Where Does North Minneapolis Begin? (Summer Visitation 2009)

Photos By John Hoff

When I picked up my son on Friday for extended summer visitation, we went to Pizza Luce in the Warehouse District. The food there was both good and affordable. The place seemed very popular with bike messengers. One of the messengers was wearing a pair of dress pants, hacked off with a scissor just above the knees to make a pair of shorts. Bike messengers are so cool, I thought.

I avoided directing my impressionable son's attention toward the bike messenger with the hacked off pants. It looks like a fun and addicting lifestyle, but will you become well-to-do like that? I don't think so.

While my son was eating his hot fudge sundae, I noticed the address for Pizza Luce had the word "North" in it. I sat there eating a salad (of course) and thought, "My son and I are in the Warehouse District. We are ALREADY in North Minneapolis. Where does North Minneapolis actually BEGIN?"

A friend tells me Hennepin Avenue is "Avenue Zero." Beyond that is First Avenue North. From downtown, this is where NoMi begins, geographically. However, when people say "North Minneapolis" usually they mean...

...something a lot different than north of Hennepin Avenue. One resident of North Minneapolis tells me Glenwood Avenue is the first place where people think "I have crossed into North Minneapolis." But when the media do their little media framing thing, virtually "marketing" North Minneapolis as an urban dystopia theme park, they appear to be describing a rather narrowly restricted area-within-an-area.

Even that area is, however, turning around by leaps and bounds as the foreclosure crisis presents opportunities to completely remake our neighborhood. NoMi is a wonderful, exciting, rapidly-changing place...and my son will be right in the middle of it for the next five weeks.


veg*nation said...

well, pizza luce in the warehouse district won't deliver to my house (1300 block of Sheridan), so in my mind that makes them NOT a north minneapolis business, and not even a north minneapolis-friendly business!

a couple of summers ago, we ordered a pizza luce for delivery, but then the manager called back and said that they wouldn't deliver to my house, since it is a few houses north of plymouth avenue, and the point was not negotiable!

i no longer eat a pizza luce because of this, which is kind of a shame, since it's one of only three pizza places with vegan options.

The Mortgage Geek said...

If you really want to get technical, the city counts that neighborhood (the North Loop) as part of downtown, or the "Central" community.

The city divides "NoMi" into two communities - Near North and Camden. Near North has the following neighborhoods: Harrison, Sumner-Glenwood, Near North, Willard-Hay, Hawthorne, and Jordan.

The Camden community contains McKinley, Folwell, Webber-Camden, Cleveland, Victory, Shingle Creek, and Lind-Bohanon.

There's your son's geography lesson, which includes the fact that names aren't always intuitive. Even though both the street names and the neighborhood have "North" in them, it could be argued that you weren't technically in north Minneapolis.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. This does clarify a question you asked of me a few weeks back.

"Does your band play in any clubs in NoMi?" To which I can now say yes.

So, kick off the July 4th weekend by stoping down to the Fineline on July 2nd to listen to a North side boy play his drums in a band called Watson.

-The Thong Master

Jordan Neighbor said...

Hey Thong Master - I'll be at Fineline on 7/2 and I'll be brining my little bro who will be visiting from Virginia!

Watson Rocks!!

(for anyone wondering what Watson sounds like - think Cities 97 but their own original music!)

veg*nation said...

i was just thinking--maybe future NoMi events could be catered by pizza luce or other north loop businesses, so that they can "get to NoUs" and maybe "start to Dliver2us"

Jordan Neighbor said...

pizza luce's CEO is NoMi-nese

(is that what we are? NoMi-nese?? cause I been trying to figure out what we are for a long time now)

Collier said...

Very good question. I think the flexibility of defining North Minneapolis creates self-fulfilling expectations about North, and create the false impression that North Minneapolis is not changing.

For instance: the 923 Bar, now Clubhouse J├Ąger, has benefitted from some gerrymandering as it becomes a part of the North Loop district, which is part of downtown. But when it was the 923, it was a notorious North Side dive on the level of Stand Up Franks.

My expectation is that Downtown will keep annexing property as it deems appropriate in the corridor between 94 and the river, but will not be able (or willing) to cross either of those perceptual obstacles and expand its empire beyond them. Let's look at the bright side: This is a corridor that would otherwise be neglected by neighborhoods, and could easily become a blighted tract between them. Instead, the tract from Deja Vu to the Honeycomb Hideout is rapidly gentrifying and becoming its own little urban/suburban zone.

As for the true North, (and, as Downtown and Bryn Mawr annex their nearest neighborhoods this leaves us with everything North of 55 and West of 94 that calls itself "Minneapolis"), we'll have to fend for ourselves. But I think we're capable, especially as great ameneties encroach. (Be*wiched at 800 N Washington has the best sandwiches in the WORLD).

Part of my Huggable North urban dystopian theme park brand is a resistance to the notion that NoMi needs to be treated with lye and bleached white like a lutefisk before Minnesotans can gain an appetite for it. We're better than that. I don't want Camden to stretch south. I do want to walk safely at night.

Anyway, great article. Something I've been meaning to point out for quite some time. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe everything you hear or read, because people who worked as a loan officer new that this people did a great job. Even when everything happened they tried to fix the problem. You can't blame them for the programs the lenders had- state income, no asset and other programs that only mortgage brokers know about.