There seems to be new construction going up everywhere in this city lately. For a lot of reasons it pisses me off; it takes longer to drive some places, and it feels like nothing is ever complete. But to an extent I appreciate that lack of completeness. This city is never satisfied and we’re always reaching for something more. That shitty bar Cowboy Slim’s down on Lake was dynamited for what will be some more highrise apartments and an even denser population in this most noticed part of Minneapolis, Uptown.
Another big new addition to Uptown is the Mosaic parking structure, Bar Louie, the new Greenway bridge and entrance off Girard Avenue and a bunch of new fun stuff in that same area. One of the most fun additions is a giant brick head facing south just across the bus road from the Greenway. My housemates and I have come to name him Cornelius Uptown. He’s a statue erected to the memory of the hyper-intelligent alien who landed on this spot to found Uptown in ancient times. He had two golden surfer angel servants (best way to describe them) also commemorated atop two incomplete looking pillars which lead into this somewhat-abbreviated park. And a model of his spaceship is a short ways down the path in the form of a spherical interpretation of the type of trolley car this area used to be famous for.
This story has given me endless enjoyment every time I pass to the extent that I have even made it one of my security questions at work to access my password account in the system (“Q: Statue south of the Greenway?:” “A: Cornelius”)[i]. It’s a story that really only we know, so logically I tell anyone visiting the area willing to listen. But I also want to break down exactly why this is funny. Many questions arise in the telling of this story which are better left unanswered: Why does he have the name Cornelius? Wasn’t Uptown just named such because it was Up from Downtown? What do you mean Uptown was founded independently of the city of Minneapolis?
The logical answer to all these questions is Shut Up. But seeing as if I was an outsider I would be asking them at least internally, if not externally, I plan to answer them all once and for all to everyone. His name is Cornelius because that is the name of all those probably-important ancient (like, at least a couple centuries past) historical leaders or explorers that we vaguely remember. So that applies even if he was an alien from another planet. Because, of course.
It’s better that we gave him the last name Uptown, because firstly, it’s based on the assumption that aliens have last names and that they, like us, name things they find after themselves (both correct). In the show Recess (One Saturday Morning! ABC! Today!), the kids went to Third Street School. Later on we find out that one of the most important men in their town is Thaddeus T. Third III, and so presumably Third Street is named after his Grandpa. Uptown is named after an alien from another planet with the last name Uptown.
But answering the last question reveals a little about the place we live, too. Was Uptown founded independently of Minneapolis? For all most of us care, it might have been. We have an identity with the area possibly as strong or stronger than with the city. So we don’t just live in Minneapolis- we live in Uptown. And yea, there’s a certain black-hole aspect to the area. But I’ll quickly admit that my favorite readily- available beer is named after another part of Minneapolis.[ii]