||If you timed it right, hit all the lights and kept your eyes on the road, you would blow through the intersection of 14th and 4th and never see a thing. If anyone asked you later what you thought of Dinkytown, youd peer at them as if they were mad: Dinkytown? What was that, some flea circus by the side of the road? A day care center? What are you talking about, exactly?
Its easy to miss the small towns nestled in the undergrowth of big cities. Dinkytown is an inexact place, inelegantly named; it has no boundaries or signs or local marching band, newspaper, logo. The Twin Cities have hundreds of small business districts such as this one - a four-corner arrangement of old brick buildings from the streetcar age, now just another corner where commuters idle for forty seconds a day on their way to the highway exits.
But for six years, this was my Broadway and Main.
I said it had no logo - true. But it did once, in 1978; the local businessmen embarked on an publicity campaign to improve the neighborhood. The sidewalks were replaced with cobblestones, trash bins were placed at strategic locations, and T-shirts and key-chains were ordered to proclaim the message: Dinkytown USA was "Where it's at!"
Did I roll my eyes at this ridiculous slogan, its transparent attempt to connect with "Youth today" by using a "with-it" slogan? No. For me, it happened to be true. All that it was, was here. It had bookstores, restaurants, a chocolate shop, a tobacconist, a guitar store, a supermarket, a movie theater, cafes, bars, a drug store, an ice-cream parlor, a barbershop, a florist, a bakery, a hardware store, a laundromat, and everyone who lived in this strange small town was your age.
Let's visit, shall we?