Archive for the ‘Touring’ Category

Time Capsule Tower

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

To escape the intense weekend heat, I retreated to the 18th floor of the Foshay Tower – the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi.

foshaytower

Modeled after the Washington Monument and completed just before the stock market crash of 1929, the historical building is now the first W hotel in the Twin Cities.

foshayelevator

The W furnishings and lighting are all nouveau nightclub glam – Carrie and Samantha chic, I guess. But the buildings original detailings remain as they were eighty years ago and were the true signals of style at the hotel.

foshayceiling

The elevator doors, the ceiling, the original mail slot…why is nothing today fashioned with such detail and dignity?

foshaymail

Another retro rush of the Foshay tower is its observation deck above the thirty-second floor. To this day the tower remains one of the tallest concrete skyscrapers, second only to the Empire State Building.

foshaypeeking

Wandering around the Foshay’s narrow decks from way up above in the warm August winds was supremely cinematic.

foshayview

A gigantic gorilla, second in size only to King Kong, might as well have crawled on up to paw down propellor planes.

foshaytelescope

It’s good to look at your world from a new vantage point, and to look at your world the way it once was. My hometown W was pretty perfect for doing both.

Pioneer Park

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

It’s a rare Saturday that I don’t fill my hours shopping one store after another. But this weekend I was feeling materialistically satisfied (for once) and decided instead to discover what else my great state has to offer other than boutiques and big box shops.

The Minnesota Pioneer Park rests just an hour outside of the Twin Cities, so, looking at the description on-line, it seemed like a smart Saturday sightseer’s spot. Upon arrival however, we began to chuckle that our car was one of only two in the visitor’s parking lot, and the costumed tour guides paired their period Laura Ingalls Wilder prairie dresses with Reebok trainers and neon Mossimo wrist-watches.

bulb

The site was a little sorry and very silly, but we still managed to enjoy and educate ourselves even so. The site was set up as a little village with over twenty themed buildings. The two favorites were:

The Barbershop

chair

bottles

The Town Hall

presidents

booth

Once upon a time, every damn thing, from aspirin bottles to bread boxes to barbershop chairs, were robust and wonderful and designed with real reverence.

I asked out loud, “You think in 150 years tourists are gonna wanna come to an outside museum and see all the lame plastic crap we go buy at Target today?”