September 30, 2008

Small Tunnel In Downtown

As you travel west on Kellogg Avenue, just as you approach River Center, you can veer left to a small tunnel that will take you to the bottom of the parking garage or the lower Mississippi River.

September 28, 2008

Old Seventh Street

prior to some point in the 1980's, this was 7th Street in downtown St Paul If I recall correctly, prior to some point in the 1980's, this was 7th Street in downtown St Paul. I believe it is now called Old Seventh Street. Today, 7th Street has moved about one block to the north and has taken all of the vehicle traffic with it. At one time in this streets history, it was the place to go if you wanted to go to the theater for a night of entertainment.

September 27, 2008

Into Downtown St Paul

The view as you make your way into downtown St Paul via the Wabasha Street Bridge. The view as you make your way into downtown St Paul via the Wabasha Street Bridge.

September 25, 2008

This Ain't The Cash Cab

cleverly painted cab car with a passenger sitting to take advantage of the painting. I took several photos of this cab, I tried to compensate for the glare off the window, but I couldn't get a clean shot. Is this a situation where a polarizing filter would have worked better to get rid of the glare or did I need to have the lighting different?

September 24, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

I'm not sure which sign was stranger to see:

A. "No Loitering" Because if I'm going to loiter, this certainly looks like the best place on earth to hang around.

B. "No Pets" Considering where I took this photo, downtown St Paul, I didn't recall seeing a park nearby.

September 23, 2008

Strolling Down The Street

Ummmm, yeah, I can't really think of anything clever to say....what's the first thing that came to your mind when you saw today's photo?

September 22, 2008

Minnesota Vikings Victory

After a quarterback change after week two, the Vikings finally earn their first win of the season. This photo I took during the Republican National Convention of a jolly Vikings fan kept coming to mind. I'm not sure why he was dressed this way, or if he was there to protest. He even blew his conch shell that he carried with him and made the trademark Vikings call.

September 20, 2008

Beechwood Aged, Saint Louis, Missouri

Anheuser-Busch has a 50% market share in the United States of all beers sold. Their headquarters is located in St Louis, Missouri. Our last stop before we left Saint Louis was the beer king headquarters. We toured the plant and learned a great deal about the process they use for making their product. Plus we got to sample a couple of their brews at the end of the tour.

September 19, 2008

Saint Louis, Missouri - Old Court House

From my St Louis, Missouri trip, a few captures of the Historic Old Court House. It sits directly to the west of the Gateway Arch. What I found fascinating about the build was, it was build completely over the original court house, which has become one of the wings of the front entrance. They had a scaled down, plexiglas model of the original court house with the old court house and how it was built into one building. The insides of the building are amazing. The entire dome ceiling has murals, all the way up to the top! The woodworking, the columns, the colors, it was a sight to see for this out of towner.


September 18, 2008

Saint Louis, Missouri - Busch Stadium

Another shot from inside the Gateway Arch during my recent visit to St Louis, Missouri. One can easily see Busch Stadium from the sky. It's a fairly new stadium that hosted the 2007 World Series which the St Louis Cardinal's were the victors. The round building in the lower left corner was the hotel we stayed at. We were easily with in walking distance of the Arch and we could see Busch Stadium from our window. Unfortunately the Cardinals were playing 'away' games during our stay so we were unable to see the stadium lit up at night.


September 17, 2008

St Louis Downtown Sky View

From my St Louis, Missouri vacation trip, this photo of downtown St Louis, I am standing 630 feet in the air, facing west. To get to the top of the arch, they have a small eight car tram that seats five people per pod. There is a tram on the north and south legs, plus a set of stairs that spiral all the way to the top. There is however, no restrooms once you reach the top. So drinking a 64 ounce beverage before you make your way up the arch is not recommended.

The green domed building is the historic Old Court House. The Dred Scott decision took place in that very building. The whole city has such a rich history, we needed to spend more time here to learn more than we did. Their historic past was the reason the arch was built here in the first place.

September 16, 2008

Saint Louis, Missouri Road Trip

This past spring, my daughter had a school project that was due. Every child in her class was assigned a United States monument or historic place to give a report on, plus they had to make a model of what they were assigned. My daughter was given the task of reporting on the Saint Louis Gateway Arch. Parents were encouraged to help their child with their report and model creation. I was excited to help. My daughter presented a model of the Gateway Arch and gave her verbal report to her classmates. Then all of the classes models and reports were on display one evening for all of the parents to see.

At the end of the summer, wifey and I decided that we should take the family down to see the arch in person. Give a bit of realism to my daughters project that she and I worked so hard on. So at the end of August, we made our way south of the Twin Cities, all the way down to St Louis, Missouri.

Now I've visited the Saint Louis Photo Blog many times since they started posting photos and I've seen many photos of the Gateway arch, including the Thursday Arch Series. I've at times wondered why so many photos of the arch. After visiting Saint Louis and seeing the arch in person, I found myself taking many photos of the arch. I now understand the joy of taking photos of the arch. It's such a dominating piece of the downtown area plus all of the weather and sunlight reflections. A very fascinating piece to photograph. The arch is 630 feet tall, 630 feet wide and is the tallest structure in the area. Until I saw it up close, the size of this man made structure was hard for me to visualize.


September 15, 2008

Almost Mirror Like

The reflection you see are of the Saint Paul Hotel in downtown St Paul.

September 13, 2008

Guarding Mickey's Diner

I believe it was the second evening of the 2008 Republican National Convention where a mob of anarchist decided to go after an icon of St Paul, Mickey's Diner. They tried to attack the restaurant from what I read. Not sure if they wanted to overtake it or what exactly. It prompted full time security around the historic business.

September 12, 2008

Out The Window

A nighttime view of the historic Seven Corners Hardware Store in St Paul, Minnesota. I took the family to Cosetta's Pizza on 7th Street in St Paul. We were lucky enough to grab a table by a window. There are only three or four large windows with tables in front of them. You can imagine they are the most popular tables in the place. The days are getting shorter this time of the year and I found myself with this fantastic dusk view of the famous Seven Corners Hardware store.

September 10, 2008

Till I Reach The Highest Ground

I found this fantastic view of the rooftops in downtown St Paul last week while walking around during the RNC 2008. I found this fantastic view of the rooftops in downtown St Paul last week while walking around during the RNC 2008. One could return here at different times of the day, capturing different sun light variations and get a new shot each time. I will revisit this spot in the near future. For the locals, how many buildings can you recognize?

September 9, 2008

Don't Tase Me, Bro!

A protest sign from the RNC 2008 in St Paul that reads: don't tase me bro! One of my favorite protest signs I found in Rice Park during the RNC 2008 was this one a well dress gentleman was holding up. There was a different message on the front of the sign that he had on display for the MSNBC crowd, but the back of the sign had this classic phrase, "Don't Taze Me, Bro!"

For those of you unfamiliar with this phrase, it is taken from a video that was shot during a John Kerry question and answer session on September 17, 2007 at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 21 year old, Andrew Meyer spoke these words as he was removed by campus police after, well, you'll have to watch the video for yourself to see why he was removed....

September 8, 2008

Live From Rice Park, It's MSNBC

A familiar fountain to those that recognize the area in Rice Park in St Paul. It was the scene to the MSNBC live broadcast of the 2008 Republican National Convention. I've captured this photo to show something very familiar with the strange scene in the background. To the left, you can see a hand full of people. That is only a small portion of crowd that was on hand.


September 7, 2008

RNC 2008 - Delegate

A delegate from the State of Texas during the republican national convention in St Paul. I'll give you one guess to tell me what state this delegate is from....

September 6, 2008

RNC 2008 - Cut The Pork

Rice Park, a location I have posted many photos from in my two and a half years of Twin Cities Daily Photos, became the scene of the MSNBC live studio broadcast during the RNC 2008. One could have spent all week taking photos of all of the "Protests Of One" that were on display. The costumes and signs were outstanding to say the least. In the next few days, I'll post photos of some of my favorites. While I personally don't agree with many of the messages, I found their means of attention worthy of a photo to my blog.

These two, dressed in, attention gathering, fabulous pink pig suits, while holding signs to 'Tax Meat'. Quoted from their website:
PETA is calling on members of Congress to support a "sin" tax on meat. Why? Among other reasons, meat is the number one cause of global warming, a looming environmental disaster that threatens the United States with billions of dollars in damages from rising sea levels, worsening storms, and increased droughts.
When I read this on their web site that [eating] "meat is the number one cause of global warming', it made me wonder, is this true? So it's not the automobiles we drive that are causing global warming? Thank goodness. So many causes are now claiming to be the number one cause, it's beyond laughable at this point to me.

I do appreciate the effort they took for this, even if I do not agree with the message. Sorry.

September 5, 2008

RNC 2008 - Day 4 - Final Day Of Protests

Wow. Simply wow. What I witnessed tonight in the Capital city of St Paul was amazing. Bravo to the police force and their presence that kept the protesting crowd from entering the downtown area. I was able to make it down to the RNC area on the final evening. Myself and two local bloggers, Mitch of Minneapolis Photography and Snapshutter of met around the time the protesters permit on the capital grounds was active. From my understanding, the permit to protest expired at 5:00. Their plan was to march to the Xcel Energy Center without a permit. The police force prohibited their march into the downtown area. Judging by the last three days, broken windows, vandalism, riots and more, who knows what would have happened on the final day of the Republican National Convention, it was a smart plan.

We watched a good portion of the evenings events good distance away from all of the action. We spent nearly three hours watching everything play out. When we first saw the group of protesters, we had heard they were sitting, blocking traffic on John Ireland Boulevard bridge that crosses Interstate 94. We found a parking ramp that was nearby and made our way up about six floors. We must have watched about 15 minutes before we realized that the protesters were not sitting on the bridge blocking traffic. Look closely at the photo below, I cropped it into a large panoramic photo so you can see it better. Take note of the right side of the bridge, lots of color in the clothing, now follow that along to the left side of the bridge. See the group of dark blue clothing? That my friends was the police not allowing the permitless protesters from marching beyond the bridge. This went on for 35-45 minutes when a car pulled up and the ramp security guards asked us to leave the ramp. After they checked our id's and made sure we were not taking photos for any protesting related group, they let us go.

For the first time I can recall, I saw snow plows in St Paul in the month of September. No, they were not clearing snow, but we had joking said that they were going to use the snow plows to clear the bridge of protesters. No, what they used them for was planting them at the ends of the bridges that lead into the downtown area and ultimately the Xcel Energy Center.

Once we had moved from the ramp, we made our way to one of the bridges that lead into the downtown area. Across Interstate 94, the police kept the protesters at bay. The number of officers had to be over 300 on the other side of the bridge. As the protesters moved from bridge to bridge, so too would the police. In the area we were at, the spectators watching and waiting for something to happen started to grow. Some of the protesters who had gotten there late or found away around started chanting from our side of the bridge. There was a bit of concern as some of the shouters started yelling for the crowd to approach the police from their backside. Within minutes of the yelling and scream, up pulls a city truck with barricades. Another vehicle pulls up and I realize it Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher giving orders and taking control of this side of the bridge. I was rather surprised to see the Sheriff right in the thick of things.

After a long, long, long wait for the starring contest to end between the police and the protesters, we decided to grab a bite to eat and rest our feet. One of the final photos I took in this area does show a few of the protesters taken into custody and sitting on the median on the bridge.

I'll finish up today's posting with a brief ending to the protesting night. Once we finished eating, we noticed all of the bridges had cleared. The police and protesters were nowhere to be found. Vanished, gone, poof. I was confused. What I have learned is, around 7:30-8:00, the police had enough and started using concussion grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd. That pushed the crowd back to the Sears parking lot [which was open for business at the time]. I'm not sure how they did it, but the only exit to the area was to cross over the Marion Street Bridge. Many of the protesters wanted to get out of there and crossed the bridge. They were met by a police blockade on the other side of the bridge. In the end, both sides of the bridge had a police blockade, thus trapping the protesters on the Marion Street Bridge. All of the protesters on the bridge were arrested. Wow....

September 4, 2008

RNC 2008 - Day 3

The aftermath of day one of protesting at the Republican National Convention 2008 in St Paul, Minnesota. Of the photos I took on Monday during the aftermath of the first day of protests, this was my personal favorite. The protest sign was fitting for my eyes. We've voiced our views, we've marched the streets, we've said our lets move on and get back to normal. I was glad to see the sign properly disposed of instead of thrown into the streets for someone else to pick up. After seeing what some of the out of towner protesters have done to the downtown St Paul area, hummmm, is calling those who are here to cause destruction and disruption 'protesters' am I disrespecting those who are actually here to protest? Protest all you want, it's your right as a US Citizen [you'd be killed in other countries for doing so], but do in civil and leave the needless destruction out of it.

September 3, 2008

RNC 2008 - Day 2

I was not able to make it down to the downtown area for photo taking on Day 2, nor will I make it down for Day 3, the evening of Day 4 is on my calender. The convention was in full swing today with protesters marching, delegates assembled and a full night of videos and speeches taking place inside the Xcel Energy Center.

One of the oddest protests signs from Day 1 as this one pictured that reads "Impeach Nixon". Ummmm, hello....that's several decades ago eh? The other sign reads "Warning: The change you decide" I never made out the folded over side of the sign, perhaps it made more sense? Do note the double rows of fencing that surrounds the Xcel Energy Center.

About 5:00 on day 1, the capital grounds was rather empty. There was a few small pockets of protesters still sitting on the lawn, but generally there was nothing happening here. I was expecting to see litter, signs and who knows what else, but I was surprised to see very little destruction here.

These two gentlemen were headed into downtown St Paul carrying signs. There was a lot of information on them and you had to stop for a minute or two to read everything that was on the sign. I never was able to catch up with them unfortunately.

One question that had been on my mind the past week was where would all of the protesters eat, drink, and where would they go when they needed to use the restroom? My questions were answered here. There was rows and rows of port-a-potties, several food and water stands, plus many extra garbage cans for their garbage. I was impressed by the city in their planning so far to make things as convenient for the protesters as possible. Still many 'splinter cells' as the local media is calling them, are hell bent on causing destruction to various public buildings, police cars and stopping the delegates buses from entering and leaving the Xcel grounds.

There was this one group that I found interesting to watch. One has a guitar, one has a bongo drum, one has a flag, and all of them were dancing and singing something I couldn't quite make out. Mitch from Daily Minneapolis Photography was there capturing the Day One evetnts of one the 'splinter cells' causing a ruckus on Kellogg and Wabasha. One thing I remarked from his post, please do stop by his site and see his excellent photos, was the off-key singing. Mitch, you would have loved to listen to this bunch and see you Thursday.

More tomorrow....stay tuned

September 2, 2008

RNC 2008 Day 1 Has Begun

A distance photo of the bus loading area of the republican national convention 2008. Well, the RNC Convention 2008 has begun, but only the basic duties were carried out today. Due to hurricane Gustav coming ashore in Louisiana, all of the speakers were canceled. I made it to the convention area late in the afternoon as bus after bus after bus made it's way into the parking areas around the Xcel Energy Center. By this time, the main anti-war protest had just completed. There was a 'peace' march from the Capital, to the Xcel, around downtown and back to the Capital building. As this was the largest of the protests, they had anticipated 50,000 people to attend. I've read reports of 2,000 to 5,000 protesters showed up for the rally. Not much of a rally I guess.

What I found interested was the dress of the typical protester. Dressed in black was the typical color of choice and wearing a backpack. Some had bandanna's covering their face....why did they not want to be identified if they have strong belief's in their cause? Some of the protesters did have their cause printed in their t-shirts, which was rather smart. I know there are rules to carrying a sign with a stick attached. The stick could only be so large or it could be considered a weapon. But if you're hands were free from carrying a sign and your bandanna started to fall, your free hands could easily pull it back in place.

The strangest part of my walk around the area was when I was on my way home for the evening. I was walking towards the Minnesota Historical Society building when I well groomed man approached me wearing a blue polo shirt. He asked me this question "Sir, I'm from out of town, do you know where a good place to get some coffee is around here?" Whoa! Time out! What? It's 90 degrees outside, I'm sweating my ass off walking around and a well groomed man asks me where I can get a cup of coffee! The first thing that came to mind was: Is that code for something? Is this a Larry Craig episode unfolding? Is this guy an undercover officer looking to nab someone? Is this an undercover news reporter trying to relive the Larry Craig episode? They guy wasn't trying to tap my foot or anything, but I told him to try downtown and got the hell out of there. The first police officer I found, I pointed the guy out to him and told him what had just happened and said the guy seams out of place for what is going on around here.

One thing I noticed while looking at this batch of photos. If you look closely at the photos, you can see officers standing on the roof of the Xcel Energy Center. I hadn't noticed them while taking the photos.

distant photos of the republican national convention 2008, from the outside looking in. distant photos of the republican national convention 2008, from the outside looking in. distant photos of the republican national convention 2008, from the outside looking in.

September 1, 2008

Republican National Convention 2008 - Day 1

A grass painted United States flag along Interstate Highway 94 in St Paul, Minnesota. Today is day one of the 2008 Republican National Convention in downtown St Paul. There have been a few protests, a few arrests, a few police raids, and many more to come in the next four days. The city of St Paul braces for who know what. I just hope these goof balls from out of town that are hell bent on destruction of the RNC don't embarrass the state of Minnesota. I did find this unexpected site while traveling along Interstate Highway 94 on the East Side Neighborhood between Highway 61 and the 3rd street exit. I drove by it three times to capture one decent enough photo to post today. I'm sure many of the delegates will see this as a welcome side as the make their approach into downtown St Paul.