Union Depot Reopening and Lowertown Art Crawl

After spending the morning at No Coast, I spent the afternoon in Downtown St Paul. It was a busy day.

Lowertown Art Crawl - some girl at No Coast mentioned there was an art crawl in Lowertown in St Paul today as well.  Huh.  Really?  It was very different that No Coast, less of what I would call crafts and more paintings, sculptures, etc.  Apparently this was the holiday edition of Lowertown First Fridays and worked out extremely well because it coincided with the opening on Union Depot.  I don't spend a ton of time in Lowertown but it's home to one of my favorite restaurants ever, Tanpopo, so I was interested to see what else was there.  I also feel like I should patronize the neighborhood when I can.  Lowertown is the endpoint of the second Light Rail line in the Twin Cities.  The Light Rail line was started a couple years ago and should be finished some time next year.  That means Lowertown has been under construction, and basically closed to vehicles and sometimes pedestrians, for the past two or three years.  Streets were closed, dug up to replace sewers and electric, tracks laid which screwed up traffic in its own right, and it's still going on.  Even getting to Tanpopo which isn't directly in the path of the light rail is a fiasco.

Union Depot Reopening - A friend of mine was with an acting troupe that was part of the Union Depot Re-opening festivities and invited me down to see everything.  I was kind of excited to see it because it I knew it would remind me of where I used to work in Cincinnati.  (The museum where I worked was in the old train station, Union Terminal.)  I also kind of knew what to expect with the period actors, because we did that kind of thing at the museums in Cincinnati.  (Just imagine the Titanic Exhibit with period actors whose characters don't believe they're going to die.)  I tried to get My Pooky Bear to come along but she bailed in favor of a nap.  Instead of a friend I brought my camera along, knowing it'd be a good opportunity.

Union Depot has several 'outside' areas and a fantastic view of the Mississippi River to boot.  The outside areas are sites for the Light Rail (yet to be complete and causing headaches all over), transfer stations for Metro Transit, bus stations for a bus company I'd never heard of, and Amtrak which supposedly also won't be there for a year or two.  (I'd heard it wasn't coming at all, but I don't think they would've put up all those signs if that was true.)


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