Monday, January 26, 2004

And Palaces Made Of Ice Melt In The Earth Eventually

On Sunday the wife and I made a trek down to the Winter Carnival Ice Palace in St. Paul. It was an overcast, windy, and overall chilly day but that didn't stop the multitudes from coming out to see the attraction.

And quite the attraction it turned out to be.

While you don't actually go inside the towers of the Palace themselves (huge insurance issues), you do get to wander around the Palace grounds and check out a number of fascinating displays. Including ice sculptures such as Lady Liberty . You also get a good look at the towers up close and personal.

The Ice Palace is located right across the street from the Xcel Energy Center, where the Minnesota Wild play, and the site of the 2004 NHL All Star Game. You can also see the St. Paul Cathedral, in the not so far distance.

Not surprisingly with all the ice and hockey atmosphere, it would have taken wild horses to keep Hockey Commisar Hugh away. And he did make an appearance. But Ralphie couldn't help but be Ralphie, and in short order his glasses were, once again, broken. But like his larger counterpart (none dare call him 'Mini Me'), he has an indomitable will and broken glasses or no broken glasses, he wanted to be on hand to see the NHL size skating rink.

The perimeter of the Ice Palace is surrounded by a wall of ice which brought to my mind images of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Of course to the Nick Coleman's of the world, the wall represents nothing less than a cruel divide separating the haves (who can afford the $5 admission price) and the havenots (who obviously should probably be worried about more important things that seeing blocks of ice if they can't scrape $5 together).

To be be perfectly fair, I don't really see the appeal of the Ice Palace to the homeless. There is no booze, no food, and certainly no heating grates with warm air. While there is plenty of space available for discharging your bodily functions, I do believe that there may be structural integrity issues if the Ice Palace were to become an open ground for vagrants in need of a place to relieve themselves. Five dollars seems a very small price to pay.

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