I’m fortunate to be able to travel some for work, and last summer I had a conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. So, I spent the weekend prior to that event in Minneapolis, two months after Prince died.
Big fan of Prince, but I figured out early on that Paisley Park was a bit out of the way for this tourist. Besides, with limited time on my hands, I wanted to explore all I could in downtown Minneapolis and see Mary.
That’s right. I’m talking about the famed Mary Tyler Moore statue somewhere in downtown Minneapolis. It’s the one where she’s tossing her hat into the air, just as she did in the opening credits to her iconic 1970s television series, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
However, the city apparently had decided to move the statue indoors, and while it was possible to see it, it was damned near impossible to find it. Trust me. I walked across every street in downtown Minneapolis the third weekend of June last year. It was muggy and hot, and I even went to a baseball game.
Enjoyed getting to see Target Field although all the concrete and metal combined with the lack of ballpark shade at 1 p.m. made the experience super uncomfortable because it was a billion degrees. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed a night game there or to see the Twins in April or September.
And I enjoyed the hotel where I stayed, the W Minneapolis – The Foshay. Very posh and pink, at least in the lobby.
The staff was extraordinarily helpful and courteous, and whoever programs their lobby music introduced me to a bunch of new artists I had never heard before. Plus, there is a bar called The Prohibition Bar at the top of the hotel where they serve 1920s-era cocktails. I had one drink, and it put me to sleep.
I’m 46. My party days are long past.
But I love good food and first experiences at great restaurants. For example, one of our business dinners was at the Butcher & The Boar, and dare I say it had better Southern cuisine than I can find in Oklahoma. Not that we’re true South, but c’mon. This is Minnesota!
Alas, my favorite foodie find was the best French Toast I have ever had and probably ever will have. It was the Cinnamon French Toast at the Keys Cafe, which happened to be right next to my hotel. Of course, I snapped a photo of it. The waiter even told me in advance that I’d want that keepsake. It was that good.
But it was after this feast that I went on my quest to find the Mary Tyler Moore statue. All I wanted was a photo of it and to say I had seen it. As a fan of 1970s culture and as somebody who worked for eight years in a television newsroom, I loved the Mary Tyler Moore Show. My sleuthing led me to Nicollet Mall, a shopping district that looked like merely a street and definitely not like a mall. Add unto all of this that Minneapolis was disassembling and reconstructing every sidewalk and street throughout the downtown area, and I was never able to figure out where the statue resided.
Most of Minneapolis downtown was pretty much abandoned the entire weekend, surprising because the weather was nice but not so surprising given all the construction. Of course, that’s not to say downtown Minneapolis wasn’t delightful. Just under construction with no sign of Mary.
This website indicates that the city decided to put the statue in storage.
Hoping the recent death of Mary Tyler Moore and the outpouring of love for her helps the city understand the significance of her and her TV character on Minneapolis. I guarantee I’m not the only person who’s visited Minneapolis in the past year, who hoped to see the statue but who left without getting to do so.
As a footnote, because I’m a musician, I took a few minutes this Saturday morning and did a quick cover of the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Written by Sonny Curtis, this is “Love Is All Around.”