In class today, I talked about proofreading for formal style--please remember to do that.
In addition, I saw that several drafts had problems giving a good context for their place--explaining the geographical or social context for it. Be sure to address that--where a place is, especially how that's important for who works/uses that place. Here's an example from a draft that I think does this well:
The historic site of St. Anthony Main, located near the heart of Minneapolis, MN, consists of boutiques, coffee shops and cafes. Among this area are some luxury condos and the grocery store, Lund’s. At night people navigate around with the help of street lamps that look like hanging lanterns. The view of the Mississippi River cannot be missed because of the lights that gleam across the water at night. The source of the light on the water is from a green suspension bridge that connects the Saint Anthony Main area with downtown Minneapolis. The streets are not full of people, but occasionally a couple walk by holding hands. At night Saint Anthony is completely different compared to a busy Saturday at lunch time. On a Saturday a parking spot is rare and there are people walking up and down the crowded sidewalks. Nestled among the chaos is a Panera Bakery-Café, in which has a little chaos of its own.
There's a nicely descriptive snapshot of the neighborhood surrounding Panera here, and its used to highlight something important about the place (its own chaos). Yours doesn't have to be quite so descriptive, but be sure to explain the context of your place early on.
One other thing I noticed is that people sometimes included great detail, but didn't really make any connections about why those details aren't important. Remember that your job here is to say something about what this place is like, not just to describe it. Here's an example of another draft that does this well:
For example, a man is sitting in the far corner of the restaurant and is (wait for it) facing the nearest wall. He is adorned in a blue gingham dress shirt and black slacks. Blue, as we’ll call him, has been ignoring the incessant stare of a homeless man who is sitting across the room. Blue glances up periodically to affirm that he is indeed being watched. However, his thick, black-framed glasses routinely prevent his pupil from establishing a visual relationship with the homeless man. After each episode, he returns to his meal and pretends nothing has happened.
In this case, there's a wealth of physical detail, but it's used to say something about the anonymity of the fast food experience, a point that's developed throughout this paper.
A couple of other brief organizational notes: don't always feel that you have to talk about each observation separately here. Sometimes that felt very forced, when it was obvious the main point was in one particular observation time. You can still use that other observation for comparison ("While this place was really busy on Friday night, a visit the following Sunday did show it had its down times"), but it doesn't have to have its own section.
Also, while I applaud the use of interviewing in many of these drafts, the interview itself doesn't make for a great paragraph purpose. That is, don't just use it for you "interview paragraph." Integrate the thoughts you got from that interview into a paragraph about the place you chose to focus on--using it to provide background or interpretation on some larger point.
Remember MLA format for your final drafts--let me know if you have any questions before Friday.