For the twenty-three years I’ve been on this earth, Minnesota — specifically, Minneapolis — has been home.
There’s little I haven’t seen or experienced here in my hometown, yet every year a new corner of our spread-out city presents itself to me. A universe unto itself fit for me to explore.
I stumbled across a two-bedroom apartment in the north east corner of town early last month and shortly thereafter moved in — crates of denim jackets in tow. There was good mojo in this building and I needed change in a big way.
This new neighborhood is a textured one. For being so close to downtown, it feels very removed, oftentimes otherworldly. I am reminded of the working-class vibe inherent in Nashvilles’s Marathon Village and nearby Germantown and the ‘get-er-done’ vibe of rural Red Wing, MN.
A stone’s throw from my home, train tracks criss-cross like arteries around the original General Mills factory. The trains still run everyday, and the factory is still in operation. If you walk by it during a certain time of day,the smell of malted oats and something industrial and bitter cannot be missed.
It all feels like what I imagine our newly trendy ‘warehouse district’ felt like back in the seventies, before no-name craft cocktail bars and rooftop dining. Back then, the Ribnick Fur Factory rubbed up against sparsely populated warehouses –the Cremette Factory, Duffy Paper Manufacturing. The tenants were young artists who happened to find themselves in the Midwest rather than in New York, transient weirdos, and half-baked junkies.
My neighborhood isn’t quite as a heady a mix as all that. It’s quiet save for traffic, and perfectly safe. But it is populated by old auto-body repair shops, boxing gyms, blue-collar dive bars, and greasy-spoon diners. Up the street lives a neon artist, whose creations glow in the window at night and keep watch over the busy street we both live on. The factories and towering warehouses nearby that once made caskets, mattresses, and other ephemera of the late 18th century now house designers and personal studios. It’s industrial grit mixed with cosmopolitan creativity and it feels like home for now.