Pounding miles of pavement

Just as the season is about to end, it finally, finally, finally feels like spring up here — no more last bursts of snow as in April, no more dips near freezing as in May.

I celebrated yesterday at St. Paul’s Grand Old Day and Minneapolis’ Open Streets Lyndale, a pair of festivals that shut down miles of major streets and line them with bands, food tents and other booths, like the fellow above with The Bubble Connection from Wisconsin. I was also trying to push myself a little closer to the street photography style of many old and contemporary masters: wide-angle shots, subtle moments, a little mystery, a little goofiness, less reliance on the big action-reaction-emotion rules of photojournalism. I started in St. Paul.

Cleaners with small brooms and buckets wove through the crowd sweeping up wrappers and other scraps. Most were women, old, about a foot shorter than other attendees, decked in neon safety vests and gregarious sun hats and scarves yet hardly noticed. They periodically scattered and regrouped as they strode down Grand Avenue, pausing to admire a booth’s goods here and there or to watch people throw beanbags into toilets on the street to win free plungers. One told me they were Hmong (with a silent H), immigrants from a southeast Asian ethnic group. Several are old enough for retirement, but he said many just like something to do.

After walking about 5 miles up and down one Twin City, I took two buses and a train to Lyndale Avenue near Uptown in the other. I was about worn out; the street dancers, less so.

I like this place a lot more when it’s warm. Thanks for looking.

Dan

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