I remember back in the eighties, back when I used to occasionally frequent bars on University Avenue on the weekend, ducking into Big V’s, near Snelling. Back then – long before the Turf Club became a hangout for music hipsters – it was a place to go if you were in the mood to crowd into a long, narrow room with a cement floor and a single row of ripped naugahyde stools and listen to a band that was on the floor three feet away from you, under the watchful eye of bartenders who could rip your arms out at the shoulders, and the men who loved them.
I haven’t been there in a while – which was why it was a bit of a shock to see that they were going to start closing down early because the area is getting just too dodgy.
I got this from a regular reader of this blog:
I was at Big V’s a few weeks ago and my friends and I were talking about this very topic- is the area less safe? I was saying it felt that way to me and others agreed, but we wondered if it was because we were now older, perhaps some of us more sober, so we noticed more around us.
You may be older and more sober – but there’s more to notice.
Up by my house, half a mile north of Big V’s, we’ve had two smash-and-grab burglaries and, a few weeks back, the first daylight armed robbery I can remember in 22 years on the block.
On the Hamline/Midway neighborhood Facebook page, there is of course the usual tension; those who believe that crime is on the rise, and think that the Green Line has turned into a commuter line for criminals, those who say there’s nothing to see here, move along, citizen.
I really want to believe that, but I know the Russian Tea House owners have noticed a decrease in sense of safety and now Big V’s.
Which is a good reminder; if you’re in Saint Paul on Friday, go to Russian Tea House for lunch. You’ll thank me. Then you’ll thank me again. It’s a neighborhood treasure.
And Metro Transit’s response? The increase in the number of service calls [reported by the Saint Paul police] doesn’t mean anything. Some of those numbers include “proactive visits” to the area. Right..because the cops are always running proactively to the safe parts of the city.
Light Rail lines nationwide tend to be commuter lines for criminals. Expect the establishment in the Twin Cities to deny that has hard and often as they can.