I dabble in nostalgic feelings from time to time. I’m not somebody who believes that “everything was better when we were kids”, but I do like to visit places that conjure up old memories now and again.
One of the great things about bike-riding is that you can cover a lot of territory in an hour or two and explore places that you might not otherwise see. Recently, I’ve been biking through the neighborhoods east of Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis. It’s a quiet, unnoticed (by many) corner of the city where you can find areas that seem stuck in a time period that I do miss sometimes.
The neighborhood around East 50th St. and 34th Ave. South has become particularly interesting to me. I’ve eaten at al Vento, a great Italian restaurant, several times over the years, but hadn’t really taken the time to look around at some of the other buildings until I pedaled through there a couple of times this week.
The area around this intersection has more than the usual share of homey, family-named, non-chain businesses — McDonald’s Liquor Store, Oxendales Market, a cake and pastry shop called 3 Tiers, and a couple of small dental offices. My favorite building is the office of Dwight C. DeMaine, D.D.S. It’s a tiny, art deco gem, so beautiful that it makes me want to have a tooth drilled. I love this building and wish I could live in it.After your root canal, how about a little bowling? Around the corner and half a block down is Skylane Bowl, an unpretentious, unchanged, small bowling alley that would be a great movie set. I haven’t been inside yet, but you can be sure I’ll be lacing up some shoes one of these days.
In the mood for some Mexican food? You can’t miss this place. Say hi to this guy and his trusty burro on your way in.
Of course, there are some NON-examples of nostalgia-inducing architecture, too.
I didn’t grow up in this neighborhood, but in some ways I feels as if I did — and wish I had. It has the sand dunes of Blaine beat, hands down (sorry Blaine), for character.
A quiet, urban neighborhood where you can buy groceries, a bottle of booze, eat Italian or Mexican food, go bowling, get a cavity filled and revisit the 50’s and 60’s all in one afternoon — what more do you need?