Commonly known as the Twin Cities, MINNEAPOLIS (a hybrid Sioux/Greek word meaning "water city") and ST PAUL are competitive yet complementary. Fraternally rather than identically twinned, they may be even better places to live than they are to visit, thanks to their good looks, cleanliness, cultural activity, social awareness and relatively low crime rates. About thirty of Fortune Magazine's 500 top corporations are based here; many extend substantial financial support to local arts, community projects and sports. Life for a majority of Twin Citians seems so vibrantly wholesome that the most significant threat would appear to be their own creeping complacency.
St Paul has been called "the last city of the east," making Minneapolis across the curving Mississippi "the first city of the west." Only a twenty-minute expressway ride separates their respective downtowns, but each has its own character, style and strengths. St Paul, the state capital - originally called Pig's Eye, after a scurrilous French-Canadian fur trader who sold whisky at a Mississippi River landing in the 1840s - is the staid, slightly older sibling, careful to preserve its buildings and traditions. Its residents are mainly German, Irish and Catholic. The compact but stately downtown is built, like Rome, on seven hills: the Capitol and the Cathedral occupy one each, monuments that keep the city mindful of its responsibilities. Minneapolis, founded on money generated by the Mississippi's hundreds of flour and saw mills, is livelier, artier and more modern, with skyscraping, up-to-date architecture and an upbeat and even brash attitude that never quite jeopardizes its essential affability. The mostly Slavonic, Nordic and Lutheran residents are spread over wider ground than in St Paul, with dozens of lakes and parks to underscore the city's appeal. The home-grown superstar Prince and the recording company Flyte Tyme cast a global spotlight on the local music scene.
You are listening to the Twin Cities' classic rock station, KQ92, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
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