Block E (archive)

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Didier
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Re: Block E

Postby Didier » December 6th, 2013, 12:07 pm

The Twin Cities already have arguably the best curling facilities in the country. I believe we now have three rinks, including what might be the only one that has year-round ice up in Blaine.

It's a fun idea, but I think you are drastically underestimating the logistics of running a curling club and drastically overestimating the demand for curling among hipsters.

MNdible
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Re: Block E

Postby MNdible » December 6th, 2013, 5:50 pm

Clearly, it's time to start a dedicated curling club thread. Please make it so.

And I don't think I am underestimating the demand for this -- I wasn't joking when I said that I think hipsters will go crazy for this, if it's in the right location and done well.

The St. Paul Curling Club is flat out great, but it's frankly not in a great location -- it can't piggyback off of any real adjacent nightlife or afterwork activities. Curling is a social activity, and a sport that's gaining appreciation among the younger crowds.

Think of Brit's -- how many people were lawn bowling before that place opened up? And that's going on in the summer, when people have approximately a billion options to be active outside. In the winter time, people are starved for activities. A curling club in an otherwise underused basement of one of the old warehouse buildings in the North Loop, with a cool bar overlooking the ice sheet, would kill.

(Which is not to say that it's easy to run a curling club or that it would actually make money, but it would be popular).

Didier
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Re: Block E

Postby Didier » December 6th, 2013, 9:21 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a curling club open in Minneapolis. And the picture you paint of a curling club in Block E would be really cool and unique to Minneapolis if it worked, but I just think you're overestimating the hipster element and oversimplifying how easy it would be to get a rink into that location.

With the right location in Minneapolis, I could see a curling club being successful in a hipster sort of way, though. The whole appeal to curling, at least historically, is that it's a really social game where you hang out and smoke cigarettes and drink beer and throw stones. However, curling is somewhat complicated and more physical than activities like lawn bowling, so naturally curling clubs don't draw a ton of casual users like bowling alleys or skating rinks.

Overall, I'd love to see Minneapolis better embrace winter and winter activities.

Tyler
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » December 7th, 2013, 11:57 am

Didier wrote: Overall, I'd love to see Minneapolis better embrace winter and winter activities.
This is such a good take. Most people are ashamed of our weather. If we were smart we'd use it as a selling point. Like the Harbin Ice festival. (hey, maybe that's our winter use for The Yard®)
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talindsay
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Re: Block E

Postby talindsay » December 7th, 2013, 12:57 pm

There are massive activities going on all winter long in the Cities, I think we do a pretty good job of embracing winter and winter activities. I don't think curling is going to pay the rent for a prime downtown location, though. It's expensive to run anything downtown, let alone something that requires expensive chillers and lots of maintenance space.

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Re: Block E

Postby alleycat » December 7th, 2013, 7:48 pm

I was thinking the same thing. Hollidazzle, Winter Carnival, Art Shanty Projects and Pond Hockey Championship are just a few that come to mind.
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Re: Block E

Postby pvg » December 7th, 2013, 7:56 pm

Agreed. But Harbin is a very interesting contrast here. The difference is that Harbin has become major tourist destination, at least within China, in the winter time because of its celebration of winter. I don't see anything like that happening in the Twin Cities. Pond Hockey may be an exception, but it's still very small in comparison to Harbin's tourism. And Harbin is much colder than the Twin Cities. The perception of winter in the two cities within their particular national contexts is completely different, and I'd say Harbin easily outdistances MSP in it relative success.

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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » December 7th, 2013, 8:13 pm

Exactly. Harbin is drawing tourists from all over the country and even world in the dead of winter. Minneapolis is drawing tourists from Buffalo, MN.
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Minneboy
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Re: Block E

Postby Minneboy » December 7th, 2013, 8:36 pm

pvg wrote:Agreed. But Harbin is a very interesting contrast here. The difference is that Harbin has become major tourist destination, at least within China, in the winter time because of its celebration of winter. I don't see anything like that happening in the Twin Cities. Pond Hockey may be an exception, but it's still very small in comparison to Harbin's tourism. And Harbin is much colder than the Twin Cities. The perception of winter in the two cities within their particular national contexts is completely different, and I'd say Harbin easily outdistances MSP in it relative success.
Nothing like that in the "Twin Cities"? That would surprise the city of St. Paul with the Winter Carnival. http://www.winter-carnival.com/

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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » December 7th, 2013, 8:43 pm

Yes. Nothing like it. That's the point. Do any of you actually think these things are tourist destinations?
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pvg
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Re: Block E

Postby pvg » December 7th, 2013, 9:23 pm

The St Paul Winter Carnival is a fine event for the people of St Paul (and my family lives in St Paul), but it is not anything even remotely like the Harbin festival except that St Paul once invited ice sculptors from Harbin to carve some lovely pieces in Rice Park. I agree with Tyler. I lived in Harbin 20 years ago and the festival was fantastic then, and I know the it is much larger and successful now. People all over China today talk about it and think about going, even people in Hong Kong and Shanghai. I can't say the same for the St Paul Winter Carnival and people in NY or LA. The only outdoor winter event I've ever attended in the Twin Cities with anything like that energy is the Holidazzle parade, but I don't know that people are actually coming from other parts of the country to see it. Another element of Harbin's success is that the city's culture is seen as rather exotic within China. The Twin Cities may also be seen as a place with a distinct culture, if people know about it, but I have never known anyone who saw the culture itself as a draw in the winter time. We're talking about events of very different scales, but I don't see why the Twin Cities couldn't learn from other places that are successful in this way. I'm not sure curling is the answer here, but I like the quirkiness of the idea.

talindsay
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Re: Block E

Postby talindsay » December 7th, 2013, 10:16 pm

I guess you are referring to this Harbin: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... hina-coal/

mplsjaromir
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Re: Block E

Postby mplsjaromir » December 7th, 2013, 11:49 pm

Thank you for the firsthand perspective pvg.

Tyler
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » December 8th, 2013, 10:06 am

talindsay wrote:I guess you are referring to this Harbin: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... hina-coal/
Yeah, if I hate Minnesota so much I should just move to China, right?
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Didier
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Re: Block E

Postby Didier » December 8th, 2013, 12:19 pm

If you did, you wouldn't have to worry about unnecessary details such as sharing your opinions online or sunlight.

Didier
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Re: Block E

Postby Didier » December 8th, 2013, 12:27 pm

In seriousness though, what I meant in my suggestion about better embracing winter was not that we don't have any winter events. Little things like extra lights can make areas feel like a winter wonderland (Dinkytown), but our areas tend to feel more like Siberian wasteland encouraging people to leave and go inside. It sounds like the plan to spread hollidazzle money throughout the city next year is going to address this.

talindsay
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Re: Block E

Postby talindsay » December 8th, 2013, 12:52 pm

Tyler wrote:
talindsay wrote:I guess you are referring to this Harbin: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... hina-coal/
Yeah, if I hate Minnesota so much I should just move to China, right?
Wow, I was making a snarky insinuation but I'm no right wing jerk. I chose that article to point out that whatever we may be able to learn from Harbin (which, for the record, i had never heard of), they have much, much bigger problems than we do. Perhaps they should be trying to reduce their energy use rather than trying to light up a cold city. I would choose a clean city that's a little dark over one that spends energy on winter lights while choking on coal smog.

I think you might do better looking to Scandinavia for sustainable models of winter activity.

MNdible
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Re: Block E

Postby MNdible » December 8th, 2013, 2:17 pm

talindsay wrote:There are massive activities going on all winter long in the Cities, I think we do a pretty good job of embracing winter and winter activities. I don't think curling is going to pay the rent for a prime downtown location, though. It's expensive to run anything downtown, let alone something that requires expensive chillers and lots of maintenance space.
To be clear, from the very beginning of this diversion, I've said that I don't think it should go into Block E, but that it could go into the basement level space of one of the buildings in the North Loop, since that space isn't particularly useful for anything else except for parking.

Tyler
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » December 8th, 2013, 2:57 pm

talindsay wrote: Wow, I was making a snarky insinuation but I'm no right wing jerk. I chose that article to point out that whatever we may be able to learn from Harbin (which, for the record, i had never heard of), they have much, much bigger problems than we do. Perhaps they should be trying to reduce their energy use rather than trying to light up a cold city. I would choose a clean city that's a little dark over one that spends energy on winter lights while choking on coal smog.

I think you might do better looking to Scandinavia for sustainable models of winter activity.
I know you're not a right wing jerk and I wasn't offended at all. It just seemed like the kind of argument one would make. That said, I really don't get your point. If anything, it drives home what I'm saying even more. They are thriving as a winter destination despite these other obvious problems.
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Nathan
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Re: Block E

Postby Nathan » December 9th, 2013, 3:55 am

talindsay wrote:
Tyler wrote:
talindsay wrote:I guess you are referring to this Harbin: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... hina-coal/
Yeah, if I hate Minnesota so much I should just move to China, right?
Wow, I was making a snarky insinuation but I'm no right wing jerk. I chose that article to point out that whatever we may be able to learn from Harbin (which, for the record, i had never heard of), they have much, much bigger problems than we do. Perhaps they should be trying to reduce their energy use rather than trying to light up a cold city. I would choose a clean city that's a little dark over one that spends energy on winter lights while choking on coal smog.

I think you might do better looking to Scandinavia for sustainable models of winter activity.
that's surprising actually, Harbin is one of Minneapolis' sister cities, and are working hand in hand with the folks who are proposing the Chinese gardens at Washburn park in whittier


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