The River That Built It All

The River That Built it All

Here, you can see the upper horseshoe falls at St Anthony Falls, as well as an upper wall of the lock and dam. St. Anthony falls is one of the main reasons that Minneapolis was able to boom in this location, and while our reliance on water power has since dwindled, this river is still crucial to the city. We get our drinking water from the river (just a few miles upstream from here), and it also serves as a center for recreation. Even in December, the riverfront is filled with runners, bicyclists, and families enjoying the day and the sights.

Faces of Midtown Global Market


This is a collection of photos, made into a mural of a food truck, inside the Midtown Global Market. Through the window, a worker prepares food for a hungry line of customers. Most customers here seem to be white, which is a stark contrast to both the vendors, and everyone walking by outside on Lake Street.

Vine art on 3rd Street


This apartment complex across the street from the Minneapolis Institute of Art is a work of art itself. This building, covered in Stranger Things style vines, is quiet and calm, despite the busy “eat street” commercial area on nearby Nicollet Ave.

Tamales on Lake Street

Tamales on Lake Street

What better place for a sweet corn tamale than Lake Street, Minneapolis?! This area is home to many immigrants, especially from East Africa and Latin America, and the stores around here reflect it. Walking up and down, one can buy anything from a tamale to a car to a cell phone to halal meat. Being here on Lake Street makes me think about how landscapes reflect social identities, and how they are created and managed both by actors within and outside of the communities that rely on them.

Larger-than-life advertising


A giant inflatable panda waves to potential customers in front of Wonders Ice Cream, drawing attention to the storefront of St. Paul’s first official rolled ice cream shop. However, it blocks the sidewalk and leaves only a narrow, uneven walkway for pedestrians. Very few businesses along University Ave utilize (or block?) the sidewalk space outside their storefronts. Though temporary, this creature really stands out on the landscape.

Industrial buffet?


The building housing the International Buffet and (on the far side) a halal meat shop boasts a tall smokestack, hinting that this place had an industrial past. The “history” feature on google streetview shows that in the last decade, this building has seen many different commercial occupants.

Holy Mackerel!

Holy Mackerel!

These frozen fish are sold whole at Sun Foods (Asian grocery). It has been a while since I was last in Sun Foods, so this was a great chance for me to remember just how great and overwhelming it is. The colors, smells, and crowds inside the store provide a welcome contrast from the stark cement of University Ave outside. Here, I’m reminded that there are many different versions of the city that exist within St Paul.

Irvine Park Gazebo


Summer concerts are far in the past and this gazebo at Irvine Park says only one thing: “no smoking.” I thought this was an interesting view because rules, imposed by signs and symbols, are such a central part of many parks. Even this small neighborhood park had many signs– rules– about it’s usage.

Blue Skies in the Morning


A window to the sky at 504 Selby. I would not have noticed it if I hadn’t stopped to admire the old brick architecture. This building dates back to the days when streetcars dominated the urban transportation landscape and the Selby line provided an important commercial area in St. Paul.

Tree-lined intersection


The houses at this intersection are beautiful and historic (it is even commemorated on the street sign!), but this neighborhood may look very different in a few years. With the die-off of the ash tree population due to emerald ash borer, nearly half of this street’s boulevard trees will be gone. As the historic buildings continue to be preserved, the surrounding landscape continues to change.