The rivalry between Minneapolis and Saint Paul has long been documented, occasionally boiling over into spats between the two “twin” cities’ residents.
One long-simmering resentment centers around Saint Paul’s contention that its younger neighbor has encroached on its historic territory. Indeed, the “East Bank” portion of Minneapolis is physically disconnected from the rest of the city by the Mississippi River and contains many important landmarks, including the University of Minnesota and the increasingly popular Northeast neighborhoods.
Many Saint Paulites have fervently advocated for the river to act as a strict dividing line between the two cities, insisting that the East Bank should be returned to Ramsey County as this was Father Louis Hennepin’s original plan for the area. Their Minneapolitan counterparts, however, have acknowledged that while the area maintains historic ties to Saint Paul, that Minneapolis is the hotter city currently and has earned the right to encroach upon its older brother in the interest of pursuing luxury condo development that will attract affluent young people away from other American urban hotspots.
“I feel strongly for my family and friends in Prospect Park and Dinkytown and the struggles they endure every day to fit in”, says Bart Larson, a Como Park native. “Every time I visit them, the blue street signs without directional coordinates make my blood boil”.
“The sore losers on the wrong side of the river need to suck it up and deal with it”, Joan Anderson of Uptown notes. “Minneapolis is still riding strong on the wave of recognition it gained from being the silent character in the film Purple Rain; who wants to live in a city called ‘Pig’s Eye’ anyway?”
Some in the middle have advocated for a “two-state” solution which would merge Minneapolis and Saint Paul into one city, incorporating first-ring suburbs like Bloomington and Maplewood. Some have even suggested that the cities could function like New York City’s boroughs, maintaining county-based distinctions while being unified as one whole city. The proposed metropolis, Flyoveria, has several prominent supporters, including Bev Tyler, a former back-up dancer for the Revolution.
It could take many years until this solution gains strong traction, however, as fervent adherents of the twin-city schism insist that the split reinforces important cultural touchstones. “The Minneapolis-Saint Paul divide is one of the defining characteristics of this region”, says local historian and Plopkins Waste Disposal sanitation engineer George Gunderson. “Without it, what’s to distinguish us from Duluth, Rochester, or, I dare say it—Madison?”