Definition: Skyway

The human aquarium of the Twin Cities


[noun: sky-way]

Around this time of year, when it gets ferociously cold, the weatherperson will leave a banana out overnight and then use it to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. Or toss a pot of steaming water into the air to see it transform into a shower of ice crystals. For the next several months, your neighbors will become nothing more than red noses poking out from under furred hoods and heaps of scarves. The skyways—in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul—connect the buildings and, more importantly, the people who work in them. You can walk outside without your words steaming. You can go barelegged in January without frostbite setting in. People can look each other in the eye, say hi, strike up conversations—more than they would on a gale-filled, icy sidewalk. Especially during the long white nothing of January and February, this human aquarium is one of the remaining places that can bring us together.