Classic Act

I’ve never been very good at the Valentine’s Day thing.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I don’t care, or that I’m more hardhearted than the average guy (though you could probably find some people to argue the latter). It’s just that, like most dudes—most Midwesterners, I suspect
—I have an almost innate aversion to emoting on command, an automatic recoil to being told I’m supposed to feel a certain way just because the calendar has turned to a particular date.

Yeah, I know. That’s not really the point of Valentine’s Day. It’s about celebrating one’s affections, not necessarily mining them. And it probably doesn’t help that I’m terrible at that, too. Who knew that signing up for digital cable does not properly convey the depths of one’s love for another?

And so I have promised myself that this year is going to be different. I’m finally going to get my act together. A new leaf and all that. And I can thank my compatriots at the magazine for the inspiration.

This month’s cover package, you see, has to do with what, at least around here, we’ve been calling the New Classics. Basically, what we did is figure out all the stuff in the Cities that has risen to the rank of being classic in its respective field—things that have stood the test of time, and yet are still relevant today.

We live in an era, after all, that is constantly enthralled with the newest of the new—be it restaurants, cars, video games, exercise regimens, or teenage rock stars. (I don’t exempt myself, or my colleagues in the magazine biz, from the indictment, by the way. Indeed, to paraphrase Mark Twain, we’re not only marching in that parade, we’re carrying a banner.)

And yet, if the current calamities have taught us anything, it is that there is much to be said for the tried and true, the tested, those things which have passed the trials of longevity. Credit default swaps need not apply.

What we realized after compiling our list, though, was that all the classically cool stuff we’d come up with could just as easily make a list of why we love living and working here. This makes perfect sense, of course, and not just because we’re a bunch of softies. Minnesotans are not a people who are easily swayed by fads. We like constancy, stability, steadfastness: Friends. Family. Sid Hartman.

And whether it’s the Foshay, Old Dutch potato chips, or the Lexington, much of what’s worth celebrating today are things that have long been worth celebrating—things that will continue to be feted long into the future.

Which brings me back to why I’m actually looking forward to this Valentine’s Day. As our story points out, even amid an economic climate that is, to use a technical term, jacked up, there is still much to appreciate about living here. Remembering that seems like a pretty good way to celebrate the holiday. Almost as good as getting digital cable, anyway.

Andrew Putz