The idea of writing a love letter to your city isn’t new. I hadn’t thought of it in a while, but then I was in Wausau, Wisconsin, last weekend, where downtown storefront windows were filled with red hearts proclaiming reasons why people love Wausau.
At the state’s oldest bookstore, I donated a buck to the city’s River District to write my own reasons on a heart for the bookstore’s windows. The shop next door had its own collection.
There are always things we need to improve everywhere. Once in a while it’s refreshing to focus on what we love about where we are. What do you love about your city, wherever that is?
If I wrote a valentine to my neighbor Minneapolis this week, I would say that I love how it gives me beautiful reasons to walk on frozen lakes in the middle of winter, like the Luminary Loppet and Art Shanties.
And because I left the city where I live out of this post, here are a few things I love right now about St. Paul:
– How the city has started to widely implement leading pedestrian intervals (a head start with a walk signal at an intersection). I love the surprise of discovering a new-to-me one when I cross the street.
– My new mayor and his vision for the people in the city.
– My friend Hillary’s awesome winter cycling lamppost cozy on 4th Street: https://streets.mn/img_2188-2/
– Having multiple great indie bookstores so that when I quietly boycott one because of the arrogance and harassing behavior of its famous owner, I have others to enjoy that much more.
– The city’s library that is working to publish more kids’ books in languages common in our neighborhoods (like Karen, Amharic, Omoro).
– City Hall has a 36-foot tall onyx statue that rotates and never loses a sense of bizarreness at which I marvel every time I set foot in the magnificent building.
– Knowing so many great people who care so much and work to make the city a better place for all of us.
When it comes to Saint Paul, I love the hills, river, rough edges, and sometimes funny traditions.
Neat idea. My Valentine to St. Paul 20 years ago would’ve been loving the well-meaning attempt at traffic calming on Lexington Parkway. In the summer, I remember all the trees and bushes—now long gone—in the median. The wide boulevards were nice, except taking away parking meant it really turned into a 4-lane highway. It was nice to sit on the porch swing on a Sunday morning in spring, as my house faced east.
My Valentine to Mpls 10 years ago would’ve been loving the vibrancy of Uptown & the Wedge, and walking—just like in St. Paul—to the local Kowalski’s, from my semi-underground apartment.
My Valentine to Edina is loving the streetcar suburb feel of Morningside, with Hello Pizza, Bruegger’s Bagels, and the original Caribou Coffee nearby, and the Linden Hills Co-op and France 44 across the street. Trader Joe’s and Excelsior & Grand are just a few blocks north, and 50th & France just a few blocks south.