Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


RN: There are days when I wish I could wave my magic wand and make every skyway in downtown Minneapolis disappear.


CP: Pray tell us why, Glinda.


RN: Their 8 miles of indoor comfort and convenience are a boon during cold-and-flu season. But the second-story city also sucked the life off most sidewalks.


CP: New York, a cold-weather city, somehow has scraped by without them.


RN: It could be worse, I suppose. Downtown Houston is full of office towers, but when it comes to the sidewalk scene, the word desolate applies. Turns out, all the citizenry is escaping the wilting heat and humidity in a 6-mile tunnel system. At least skyways offer some sunlight.


CP: And a bit of navigational assistance. Why just today, on one of our leisurely lunch strolls, we saw several groups of out-of-towners pause in the skyway to get their bearings.


RN: After walking past my fourth Caribou outlet, I get turned around, too.


CP: What I can’t believe is your timing.


RN: Why, because the Star Tribune’s 4th Street skyway came down last week, and no one seemed to notice?


CP: After all this time working outside the skyway’s web, we are set to move to a building that is on the system. And now you start in with the kvetching and the “life of the sidewalk” lecture.


RN: What can I say? My adolescent dreams of a career in city planning — I told you I was a nerd — roar back into my consciousness every time I log into the frequent skyway-related dialogues at the Streets.mn website. I’m sure you have that one bookmarked.


CP: Umm, actually, no. I imagine you have some very lively chats there.


RN: Remember the weekly newspaper Skyway News? They used to select some lucky female as Miss Skyway. She got her photo in the paper, and maybe a free car wash or some other prize. I don’t remember if they ever awarded you the crown.


CP: Not hardly. But I do love the song “Skyway” by the Replacements. Shall I hum a few bars?


RN: Please do. Do you have a favorite skyway? Mine are the four that Philip Johnson designed for the IDS Center. Well, Johnson probably handed the assignment off to an underling, but you get the drift.


CP: That’s like asking me to name my favorite trip to the dentist. Still, I would have to choose the one east of Wells Fargo tower, with the yellow-skylit pyramid at the halfway point. It’s somewhat unusual for not being covered with dreadful carpeting.


RN: That’s the work of Siah Armajani. More skyway designs by world-famous sculptors, please.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib