Stubble: It’s nice to meet you, mister mayor. Thanks for sitting down and talking to me.
Jim: Of course, you’re welcome citizen.
Stubble: I’m going to start off by saying that I didn’t even know Lyn-Lake had a mayor at all
Jim: Unofficially it does. Yes, it’s a title in quotation marks. I’m not elected. A few weeks after a friend decided to call me that and then a different person — independently, who he doesn’t even know — said the same exact thing. That was how the joke got going.
Stubble: As mayor of Lyn-Lake, what are some of your most important functions?
Jim: Uhh, to be occasionally drunk. Actually, to be quite often drunk, but occasionally drunk in public. To be generally jovial, a lot of kind of under the surface relationships with people who don’t see the light of day.
Stubble: I’m not sure I know what that means, sir.
Jim: Well that’s fine. You don’t have to and it’s probably better that way. Let’s see, I have worked at an established and loved restaurant, Muddy Waters, for a little over three years now, so there’s that. Also, just generally being a sociable person. If there are neurons and synapses and electricity firing in between… that’s generally my function, to fill that gap in between it.
Stubble: Lyn-Lake as a culture, as an identity, how would you describe it? What makes it special?
Jim: Ok, uptown is kind of like a cup shape. Between Lyndale and Hennepin on the Lake Street side is a seven block difference, and on the Lyndale side it’s only three blocks difference. So it makes a diagonal going down and forms this nice cup shape.
For basically a long time before I moved to this neighborhood — and I’ve been here for nine years — they started calling the entire neighborhood Uptown. Then they slowly decided that instead of having one big thing they’d break it up into smaller neighborhoods. I mean, there were no Lyn-Lake signs on any of the roads when I first started lviing here. Ok, so now it’s the Wedge, now it’s Henn-Lake, now it’s Lyn-Lake. The expecation was that the Hennepin and Lake intersection was going to be where they were going to make all of their money. It had Calhoun Square, all kinds of stores.
Stubble: Right, the Apple stores and Parasole restaurants and all that
Jim: Right, and when I lived here there was very few major anything here. There was maybe just the La Bodega and Galactic Pizza.
Stubble: How else has this intersection changed over the years?
Jim: Well now you have condos that have sprung up everywhere.
Stubble: Does that make you nervous?
Jim: It sort of does because they’re not really building any of these places to last. They’re ultimately just going to be places that become public housing or they’ll be halfway inhabited until they figure out how to do something else with them. A little over 5 years ago they made a lot of residential property deals that are now being turned over to the government. In the same building you’ve got people paying full rent and people getting their rent subsidized. It’s a very strange thing.
Stubble: Seems like you’re paying attention to this stuff pretty closely.
Jim: I’m keeping my eyes out and my ears open. At the same time, you have Heyday and Nightingale kind of preceded it. This place, moto-i, which has improved its food drastically since it first opened. We kind of pioneered it big, like a little bit of trail blazing. There’s obviously a really congested food scene that’s happening all over the city, but it’s really concentrated here. It’s cool because you have these people moving in who will eventually move away. They’ll probably end up supporting these businesses with higher costs and fancier food.
That’s the core of the neighborhood. You’ve got people who would otherwise be defined as hipsters, you’ve got people who are just crazy and guys who are kind of in the middle. That’s who I like to think me and my friends are: those core guys in the middle who can hold a job, who can stay in a place and are happy enough to work where they are and love where they live. Close enough to the lakes, but not right up against the upper crust who lives there with a ton of money. It’s a varied neighborhood.
Stubble: Last question, what is your 10 second reelection pitch?
Jim: “I ain’t goin’ anywhere, deal with it.”
Jim McDaniel works at Muddy Waters and is the Mayor of Lyn-Lake.