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Paradise Island
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The shiny towers in downtown Minneapolis are nice but there is another side to the city. Lake Street is a cross section of the city's south side. In the mid 90s Wing Young Huie did a series of photographs documenting life on and around it. They were then exhibited as giant posters along the street and also in the Walker Art Museum. Huie released them in book form as well, the book is called Lake Street USA. These photos are from the Walker website, they aren't the greatest quality but still pretty cool.

























































The final picture came with an amusing quote from one of the subjects:

We both live in Blaine. Blaine sucks. I hate it more than anything. I don’t think I belong there. All the people there are all, like, I don’t know, they’re all suburban kids. I mean, I hate to stereotype people, but they’re all ducks. They’re all, like, preppy kids, and cheerleaders and stuff. It’s really hard to be a kid that doesn’t have a label, and doesn’t want one. We get ridiculed all the time. Nobody really dresses like us in Blaine. Everybody is like always trying to be somebody else. They’re always trying to be somebody that they’re not. That’s what we’re not about. Being other people. We hate other people. We really do. I hate people. Most of our friends are in Uptown. All the guys I’ve dated from Minneapolis are so much different from the guys I’ve dated from suburbia. Everybody that I’ve dated from Blaine always had money, always had both of their parents live with them. One boyfriend that I had in Minnepolis, his family lived on welfare. He had, like, a whole bunch of sisters and brothers, and all of them had different dads. That was a cool experience for me. He was black and my parents are really racist. They would get pissed and stuff and try to tell me that they’re not racist, but they are. I mean I really like them, but whatever.
 

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lagom
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I love the quote from the last picture. Suburban kids tryin' to be all urban.
She sounds pretty LAME to me just like everyone else in HER suburb I bet she works at Mall of America... still ;)
 

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These pics were taken in probably the worst time period in Minneapolis's history, the mid 90s. It had one of the worst murder rates in the country back then, and E. Lake Street and surrounding areas really wasn't a good place to be. Not all of these pics are from E. Lake street though, it looks like some are from uptown.
 

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ScraperDude, that quote is lame, but it sounds like a less literate version of the same brainwashed ideology most of the people spout on this forum. In a way I actually like it because it unveils the unbelievable stupidy behind that warped way of thinking.
 

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I claim to be staff.
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ScraperDude, that quote is lame, but it sounds like a less literate version of the same brainwashed ideology most of the people spout on this forum. In a way I actually like it because it unveils the unbelievable stupidy behind that warped way of thinking.
Haha, for sure. I laughed quite a bit when I read it.

The anti-cheesehead said:
These pics were taken in probably the worst time period in Minneapolis's history, the mid 90s. It had one of the worst murder rates in the country back then, and E. Lake Street and surrounding areas really wasn't a good place to be.
What's it like now? I'm sure it's quite different but I'm just curious as to if it's a still not a good place to be.


With regard to the photographs though... the story they tell is amazing. Some of them are absolutely fantastic. I'm not surprised they're in a museum.




Incredible.
 

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Mostly Sane
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Quote from MilwaukeeMark: What's it like now? I'm sure it's quite different but I'm just curious as to if it's a still not a good place to be.

^ Lake Street??

I've never thought of it as a negative at all. I never, ever, give it a second thought about "safety." Lake Street is a microcosm of the city, and I've never imagined it as a place that you wouldn't want to hang around in.:)

(And actually I believe that's the whole point of the photo thread. These are families who are living their lives outside of the proscribed data set of "Safe" American Life.)

Quite the contrary! To me, Lake Street is an amazing cultural amenity in Minneapolis. If anyone wants to visit the city in the future, I'd suggest that Lake Street is a must-see.
 

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What's it like now? I'm sure it's quite different but I'm just curious as to if it's a still not a good place to be.
It's still not the greatest area, but it's a lot better than what it used to be. Now, it's heavily hispanic, and there are stores and restaurants up and down the street when it used to be just a bunch of garbage and boarded up buildings. It used to be just as bad as north Minneapolis, but it isn't anymore. It still has the nasty hookers and drugs, but it looks cleaner, the crime is improved, and you can get great tacos.
 

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Quote from MilwaukeeMark: What's it like now? I'm sure it's quite different but I'm just curious as to if it's a still not a good place to be.


^ Lake Street??
I've never thought of it as a negative at all.
In the early to mid 90s, E. Lake Street between 35W and Hiawatha was horseshit.
 

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Lake Street is a strange combination of different types of neighborhoods. The area around Lake Calhoun is very much a livlier upscale area kinda like Shorewood (only with an urban mall in the middle of it) then as you head further west, it turns into a area kinda like the East Side/Riverwest with a nice record store before becoming strip malls and then a poorer Hispanic area. It has a nice new market and light rail station, though. It never felt particularily unsafe when I was there although, compared to Milwaukee, no part of Minneapolis is that dangerous.
 

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It never felt particularily unsafe when I was there although, compared to Milwaukee, no part of Minneapolis is that dangerous.
In the early to mid 90s, Minneapolis had one of the highest murder rates in the country, but most people on this site were probably 7 years old, if that, back then. E. Lake street didn't have that new market or rail station or all of the hispanic stores back then.
 

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Paradise Island
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
What's it like now? I'm sure it's quite different but I'm just curious as to if it's a still not a good place to be.
In the early 90s I lived 2 blocks from Lake St at 32nd and Lyndale and rode the Lake Street bus home from work in St Paul every night, usually the 1 am or 2 am bus. It was sketchy at times, you would see the police walking around with guns drawn, fights on the street, lots of gangsters, there was open drug dealing on half the street corners. This was all late at night, during the day it was never too bad. Back then there were still a lot of street-front brothels like "Utopia Health Club", "the Royal Knight", "Sakura Health Club" etc.; there were also a lot of empty storefronts. It was safe to drive through but steet level at 2 am wasn't always the same story. There was a lot of bad there but also a lot of good - good people who were dealt a bad hand in life and were making the best of it.

Now the steet-front brothels have been closed and there is a lot less street dealing and gang warfare. There are a lot fewer empty storefronts and some once derelict parts are full of life again. There has been a fair amount of new constrution. Much of this has been driven by the influx of Latino owned small businesses.

Socially the street isn't that much different than it was back except with Latinos and Somalis added to the mix that was already there. East Lake hasn't gentrified, it is a safer, more controlled and more Latin version of what it was before. I would still think twice about walking around Lake and Park at 2 in the morning.

Anyway there are a ton more photos on the exhibition website:

Lake Street USA
 

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Brett don't text me
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Thats diversity right there! i love it. Lake street sure isnt has bad as it was in the mid 90's but it still has its moments, i'll just say its no north minneapolis. But back to the point, those are great pictures, nice and gritty.
 
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