The first time I drove into downtown Saint Paul, Minn., it was New Years Day, 1999. I was trying to find my way to a place called the Saint Paul Union Depot for the opening of the Titanic exhibition. Even though I was lost, I was distracted by the fact the area I now know as Lowertown, looked like New York City. I had never been to New York, but in my head, at that moment, I felt like I was in New York.
When I had the opportunity to move to the Twin Cities later that same year, I knew exactly where I wanted to live – the place that made me feel like I was in the West Village of New York.
As a 14 year resident of the Lowertown district of Saint Paul, I have watched the city blossom into a beautiful, mature lady. One event that has been in Saint Paul even longer than me is the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Minnesotans take their winters seriously. They complain about the cold and the snowy commutes like the best of them, but at the end of the day, they celebrate winter. So much so, each January, they put on a two-week party called Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
As part of Winter Carnival, the city lights the parks, decks the halls, and sets up outdoor activities for all to enjoy during the cold months both before and after the carnival. One of these outdoor activities, that reminds me so much of New York (now that I’ve been there many times), is a pop up skating rink. The Wells Fargo Winter Skate is open to the public for skating, broomball, which you see in the picture above, and youth hockey events.
It’s classic and romantic and fun. I hope to bump into you sometime in my northern Midwest version of New York sometime.