Marcy-Holmes: an in-depth view of the neighborhood

by Shira Kantor

Marcy-Holmes, the neighborhood located between the Como area, the University and downtown, is something of a missing link as far as neighborhoods go.
A short tour through the area quickly reveals the paradoxical quality inherent in the diverse and unassuming Marcy-Holmes, which ties together the University and the city.
Carolyn Zniewski, a floral designer, owns a house in the neighborhood and has lived there for 23 years. She said part of the reason she has been there for so long is because of the wide range of people and places.
“Without the University it might not be such a nice neighborhood,” Zniewski said, citing the “intellectual environment” provided by the students as one of the area’s greatest strengths.
Dawn Plested, a University political science student, said she also likes the neighborhood’s multifaceted character, which include both strong inner-city features and quieter sides.
For Plested, the area provides much needed relief from the usual hangouts on campus.
“The thing I hate about campus is that all the coffee shops are such a fashion thing,” Plested said. She prefers the wealth of parks, bars, restaurants and theaters in and around Marcy-Holmes.
And, as Plested pointed out, new places are constantly opening up.
“Everything’s here — doctors’ offices, lawyers’ offices. There’s a cozy, old-fashioned movie theater that I love,” Plested said.
The charm lent to the neighborhood by these facilities has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the country, either. Several films have been made in the area, including Metro Goldwyn Meyer’s “Untamed Heart,” shot mainly near University and Third Avenues.
“Marcy Playground,” a local alternative band, took its name from a neighborhood playground outside of Marcy Open School at 415 4th Ave. S.E. Two band members grew up in Marcy-Holmes and paid homage to the area with the name.
James P. Rosengren, owner of Eighth Street Market, has been in the neighborhood since 1961. He lived on Sixth Avenue until 1988 when he moved one block to Seventh Avenue.
“I think by the time I’m 80 I’ll be up to Ninth,” Rosengren joked.
Over the years, Rosengren has noticed the neighborhood becoming more beautiful and well-kept. But changes in scenery haven’t changed the overall personality of the area.
“The people have stayed the same,” Rosengren said. “Everyone’s friendly.”
Safety in the neighborhood is a mild concern, however, crime rates have steadily declined. Larceny is the most common crime committed in the area, but even that occurs rather infrequently.
There have been 146 reported thefts in the neighborhood this year, compared to 354 in 1999 and 442 in 1998, according to Minneapolis police reports.
“I’ve talked to a lot of my customers and they feel safe walking up and down the streets at night,” Rosengren said.
Rental rates for the area are considered to be reasonable by most, given the high-demand location and low 0.5 percent vacancy rate. A two-bedroom apartment is roughly $875 a month.
Andy Isaacson, a computer science graduate student, moved to Marcy-Holmes two months ago.
“It can be difficult to find a spot,” he said. “Parking is an issue.”
However, Isaacson, who lives with three roommates, finds little fault with the rental facilities and the neighborhood in general.
“The location is great,” Isaacson said. “If I could get a roomy one-bedroom, I’d love that.”