Tag Archives: St. Paul

I joined downtown YMCA

This junky elliptical I bought several years ago gave out last February, and I was stuck wondering how to get workouts in amid the horror that is Minnesota winters.

Looked at a couple different gym options. Downtown YMCA is fairly close to me in Lowertown, skyway accessible, and $45 a month if I go 12 times (health insurance benefit). Anytime and places like that are cheaper, but I don’t want to drive anywhere.

Anyway, downtown YMCA is pretty good. The facilities are a bit worn, and there aren’t any sparkling atrium-like mega cardio rooms like some YMCAs around the TC, but the four floors offer a variety of exercise options. There’s a pool, hot tub and sauna. On the fifth floor, a running track circles the basketball courts, a feature that is absent in some other newer YMCAs, including Lino Lakes and White Bear Lake. Mainly, I want to be able to run in the winter, not outside and not on a treadmill. Call me a hamster, it’s better than the treadmill.

What else is going down around here? It looks like current hole-in-the-wall The Liquor Vault is going all emporium on us by moving into the old Eisenberg’s space, according to research done by someone who decided to comment on a previous blog post. Btw, shout out to that person for inspiring me to get back on here and keep blogging, I was flagging for a while.

The Penfield project is moving at a rapid pace. The framing and insulation is up on about five stories above the foundation of the future Lunds, and it keeps growing taller. It won’t affect my view of anything but many neighbors have views of the Capitol. I look at Region’s Hospital all day.

Because I didn’t have any pictures for you, I’m inserting this ace footage of the Purity Ring show at First Avenue last Thursday:


Buzz band at Amsterdam

I filmed about a minute of last night’s Cloud Nothings’ show at Amsterdam in St. Paul. Check it out:

It was the first actual rock show I wanted to see at the bar’s Hall Stage since Amsterdam opened two years back. It was a sparse crowd, evenly spaced out through the room to give the illusion it was bigger than it was.

The cold, clean feeling of these renovated old St. Paul warehouse spaces just is. They have large, sometimes arched windows, high ceilings with exposed new HVAC work, and cold, hard epoxied floors.My condo gives off the same feeling with its exposed brick, hard floor and giant windows. You can feel what I mean at most of the new Lowertown “hot spots:” The “B” Trinity (Barrio, Bulldog, Bin) and now Amsterdam.

Took Amsterdam almost two years to host a buzzy national touring band with Cloud Nothings last night.

Anyway this ambiance feels new, and very St. Paul (there might be places in North Loop that feel similar). But is it the best place for a shredding rock show? Well, no. For that, give me 331 Club, First Avenue or Turf Club down the way. But to not dwell on negative, the band absolutely shredded last night, and I’m seeing a lot of reviews today calling it one of the best “underground” shows of the year. Why underground? Because it was at Amsterdam (a still fledgling local concert venue), on a Sunday night.

LoTo Weeknd 3/17

Hola amigos, it’s been a while since I last hollered at you. I’m spelling “weekend” like that for now on because it’s cool. Search it if you want. On the verge of the year’s first thunderstorm here in Lowertown. The sky is lighting up as I strike these keys. Soon, the refuse of the Rossmor parking lot will be blowing through the streets (it’s windy too).

15 minutes before first T-storm of the season

Some Lowertown updates: The pawn shop on Ninth and Robert Streets, American Pawn Shop, has shuttered its doors. Just walked by it an hour ago and noticed *everything* cleared out of there. It was empty. Must have moved out Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day. Never went in there. Don’t think they advertised or even had a website. Could only find an unclaimed Yelp page.

Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but curiosity got the best of me and I walked down to Eagle Street Grill to try and get a beer. Well I couldn’t get a beer, and what did I actually expect? Too late did I figure this out, but duh, the neighborhood crowds are in the neighborhoods. Every hockey hooligan from the five-state area was going to be downtown because why venture to Snelling Avenue or even just up the hill? The mob at Eagle Street was soul-less, scowling, intimidating and brimming with drunken violence – and the staff was equally surly and unfriendly because it had to be.

More fun was Black Sheep Pizza beforehand. My college roommate and his fiancee came down on the 3 bus from their Como apartment and we got some pizza. We snatched some bar seats shortly after the parade let out, and as we went through our pizza and beers  (try the Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout, to me a less intense Surly Bender), we became slowly surrounded by parade-goers looking for a pint. Soon, the manager was in the weeds (restaurant industry slang for being so busy you aren’t able to distinguish what is the most pressing task at hand). About 15 minutes later, the husband-wife owner team shows up. Colleen began tending bar and her husband (didn’t catch his name, is it Jordan?) was making pizzas on the cook line. That’s some locally owned dedication I can get behind. We weren’t charged for our four beers because “they came out too slow.” I tipped to make up for it.

My happy place

OK, around 8:15 on Monday night here. I need some rain to cool things off. Early spring allergies combined with a Rossmor HVAC that hasn’t yet switched to AC made me slightly miserable over this past weekend. Sitting here in my boxers, sweating it out. And it’s March. In Minnesota.