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Photos: Epic Lego model of First Avenue and 7th St Entry under construction in Minneapolis

Photos by Jay Gabler/MPR
Photos by Jay Gabler/MPR

by Jay Gabler

November 22, 2017

At Brickmania in northeast Minneapolis, the company's "commander in chief" Dan Siskind is building a massive, incredibly detailed Lego model of the entire First Avenue and 7th St Entry complex.

It's a passion project for Siskind, who used to be in "a bunch of punk bands that you've probably never heard of." Working to scale from floor plans, based on photos taken throughout the building, Siskind is recreating the club from the railings to the soundboard to the bars. He's hoping to have the model substantially complete for the fan expo that begins this Saturday and will be open to the public on weekends through Jan. 7.

Siskind's one-of-a-kind model is substantially larger than the smaller First Ave that Brickmania designed for sale to the public. That model is shown below for scale, and copies are "selling like hotcakes," according to Siskind, who says the model-makers were approached by First Avenue to create the replica.

An added attraction for local music fans: the fan expo's extensive displays will include the Lego model of Nye's Polonaise Room created by Minneapolis resident Jeff Esler. Although the Brickmania crew are extensively networked in the Lego builders' community, they say Esler came out of nowhere when photos of his remarkable model went viral. Brickmania asked Esler if he'd loan the model for display at the fan expo, and he happily agreed.

Brickmania, which now employs dozens at its Thorp Building location, is growing to meet high demand for the precise models its staff create; at their Mall of America location and elsewhere, the company sells kits of Legos packaged with instructions for building the models.

A wide array of Lego models will be on display at the fan expo, some created by Brickmania staff and others from local hobbyists who specialize in everything from Star Wars to Marvel to model trains. A large-scale replica of Omaha Beach occupies one room; Minnesota landmarks on display include Bob's Java Hut, Landmark Center, and the Grain Belt Brewing complex.

Siskind says he used to have a model of the Triple Rock Social Club, but it seems to have gone missing. "I'm afraid," he says, "its pieces have been re-appropriated."

First Avenue

First Avenue Lego 1


First Avenue Lego 2
First Avenue Lego 3
First Avenue Lego 4
First Avenue Lego 5
First Avenue Lego 6
First Avenue Lego 7

Nye's Polonaise Room

Nyes Lego 1
Nyes Lego 2
Nyes Lego 3
Nyes Lego 4

More local landmarks, and one submarine

Bobs Java Hut Lego
Grain Belt Brewery Lego
Landmark Center Lego
Yellow Submarine Lego
Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.