Barrista: …yeah, what’s the deal with the war between Minneapolis and St. Paul?
Hipster-girl customer: Once you live in Minneapolis, you never go back.
Barrista: I know some people who moved back to St. Paul, those Townies.
“Townies” (not to be confused with “Tommies,” who tend to become Townies) are quite literally rooted in St. Paul. Townies are defined by the excessive charm they ascribe to St. Paul, especially Summit and Grand Avenues. They rarely venture to Minneapolis. Indeed, they’d rather not traverse the traffic—but, alas, hosts of jobs, museums, theatres and restaurants are located west of the Mississippi, so they grudgingly make the 10-20 minute drive to the land of “Hipsters” that is Minneapolis. "In Minneapolis," as novelist and performer Alexs Pate has observed, “hipness is as fast-footed as anywhere in the world.” From Seward to N.E., Uptown to Downtown, the Weisman to the Walker, First Ave to the Triple Rock, hipsters are everywhere: indie rockers, bike messengers, vegetarians, hippies, activists, academics, punk rockers, struggling actors, starving artists, literati, laptop rock artists, DJs, goths, gangsters, etc.
There is some truth in the self-image of both the Townie and the Hipster. There is a grain of truth in the Townies’ rose-colored view of St. Paul. The fact that there are less hipsters there suggests that it is a reasonably sweet place to live. After all, Garrison Keillor lives there. On the other hand, you are much more likely to run into someone with the New Yorker magazine and the latest album by The Hold Steady in Minneapolis, the city that served as Bob Dylan’s point of departure for New York. The contrast between Keillor and Dylan is instructive—the famous and beloved Townie that is Keillor is still in St. Paul, while the famous and enigmatic Hipster that is Dylan currently resides in Malibu, California.