A bloggers take on Northeast

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October 8, 2010
By: greg isola
greg isola
Northeast has a rich and vibrant culture and heritage. My family has lived here for nearly 20 years; my wife’s family goes back for generations in NE. Her background includes many of the Eastern and Northern European ethnic groups honored with decorative plaques on the Northeast Gateway Bridge at Broadway and Central.

As native Northeasters, her family grew up on St. Anthony Boulevard and their “playground,” in those years, included everything from the Deming Heights Park area —  known locally as “Norwegian Hill” — to the Mississippi River. We tend to be more mindful of everyone’s whereabouts in our times.

As a Northeast transplant myself, I am not considered permitted to use the oft-heard term, “Nordeast.” My wife can use it and even our kids could use it because they are “from here.”  Whether you view that term as a pejorative or a badge of honor, however, depends entirely, it seems, on your age and your history with the neighborhood.

For us, education has always been important. At least three generations of our family are graduates of Edison High School. In recent years, there has been a new dedication to that education commitment with the change at Edison to an IB program and a new parent/community group to support NE schools, called Public Education Northeast (PEN).

For all of our years of living in Northeast, we have been in the Windom Park neighborhood, bounded by Central Avenue, Lowry Avenue, New Brighton Boulevard and 18th Avenue. Our first home was near Central Avenue so much of our activity centered on that street of businesses. My youngest daughter has always told me that she liked Northeast because of the closeness of everything we needed and the sidewalks.

Recently, we moved to the east, closer to Johnson Street, and really like our new location up higher on the hill and near the businesses of Johnson Street, as well as a closer proximity to the Quarry Shopping Center.

Our Northeast parks are also a wonderful neighborhood amenity for active families like ours. We are now closer to Windom Park with its summertime festival and its relaxing three-season gazebos and tennis courts. As true Minnesotans, we take advantage of the outdoors all year-round.

We love living in a very modern, livable, walkable, bikeable community, where we often walk or bus to get our groceries or pick up the newspaper. New retailers, coffee shops and corner stores are opening in all of our business areas.  

Getting out, especially now, means being able to see and enjoy the vibrant colors of the autumn trees. If you want to see some nice colors, take a stroll along Fillmore and Taylor Streets north of 18th Avenue.

Our family is very involved in music and theater, too. We are so glad that area theater companies like Morris Park Players and Upright Egg are producing their works here. Even a new one, TheatreX, is trying to start up here. In the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District we can be connected to so many arts opportunities, without having to go all the way across the metro to participate.

Many of us are working with social media tools to connect the Northeast community online. New information about Northeast is exchanged daily on community websites, on Facebook accounts and through Twitter. We even use a common Twitter “hashtag” — #nempls — to reach the NE Mpls online audience.

Whether on the neighborhood streets, in the parks or online, we love our community’s creativity and innovative spirit. There is history and heritage, and yet, always something new to experience. Autumn and winter will bring a new series of art events, gallery openings, theater productions and holiday happenings to our events calendar. Find out about more Northeast Minneapolis community information and events by going to the community website, NE Mpls online — nempls.mn.

Greg Isola and his son, Abram Isola, promote Northeast Minneapolis community and business with their family-oriented community website, NE Mpls online — nempls.mn. They can be reached at us@nempls.mn.