I’ve lived in this neighborhood off and on for 29 years, and continuously for almost 23 years, now.
The neighborhood gets a bad rap from people who don’t know Saint Paul – which is about 95% of the population of the Metro Area. When most of them think of the Midway – if they think about the Midway – they think University Avenue; hot and treeless in the summer, cold and wind-swept in the winter, lined with tatty big-box stores at Snelling, check cashing shops and Popeyes at Lexington, and little H’Mong, Lao, Latino, Black and African shops down by Dale and Rice that probably strike visitors from Eagan and Circle Pines and Kenwood and Crocus Hill for that matter as “sketchy and dangerous”.
The part they miss is that people live, work, play and socialize here.
Even at the McDonalds and Perkins in the huge parking lot by the Midway Center strip mall. The two franchises are much-loathed by hipsters and pseudo-sophisticates and the entire Whole-Foods-shopping, NPR-listening, Subaru-driving, free-range-alpaca-wearing Macalester/Carlton/Saint Olaf set that sees itself as soccer fans, most of whom would likely crap a kitten if dropped into the colorful diversity of University Avenue street life that uses the two places as its social center.
It’s up by Snelling that the Saint Paul City Council gave approval yesterday to start working on building a Major League Soccer stadium, paving the way for billionaire Bill McGuire to get hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build a stadium for a sport that resonates with precisely three classes of people:
- Immigrants – many of whom play soccer, and many of whom don’t have the money to go to a big-dollar Major League Soccer game, with the inevitably inflated ticket and concession prices.
- entire Whole-Foods-shopping, NPR-listening, Subaru-driving, free-range-alpaca-wearing Macalester/Carlton/Saint Olaf set, with their quadrennial “pretend to give a crap about the World Cup” ritual figuring prominently on their social “see and be seen” calendars.
- Suburban soccer families – kids and their “soccer parents”.
Do the immigrants have the money to come out and see games? Will the hipster class do soccer for more than a year, until the “been there, done that” sets in? Will soccer families from Blaine and Apple Valley chance coming into the city, especially given that the stadium is going to have fairy minimal parking, deliberately forcing people onto the “A Line” bus from Rosedale and the “Green Line” train from other places suburbanites hate going to?
I doubt it in all three cases.
But that isn’t stopping those who seem themselves as members of the taste-setting class from trying to tell the Midway what it really needs; no more McDonalds or Perkins.
At the thought of “6,000 people” (dream big!) crossing McDonalds’ and Perkins’ property, one sniffed:
This could be a good strategy to get Perkins/McDonalds to give up their leases. Fans too sophisticated to eat there. https://t.co/hman77vG2X
— Matty Lang (@MattyLangMSP) August 16, 2016
Yeah, soccer fans are a pretty tony lot:
Sign me up for the high freaking tea concession!
But no – let not the little people and their “businesses” and “social framework” get in the way of their betters’ plans:
Can you imagine if a Walmart proponent had tweeted any such thing?