Archive for June, 2010

Street Watch: Lull Before the Storm

More heat than street this weekend Downtown. As we said, last week, we’ll do our best to bring you any potential interruptions to your mobility caused by special events or street closures through the Downtown neighborhood. Here is this weekend’s short list…followed by a special comment on last week.

The only street closures we can officially find: Lawrence between 19th and 20th for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Square, through Sunday 6/27; and, 14th and 15th partials between Court and Curtis for a 5K Run event, but only Saturday morning until about 10:30. And, as we mentioned previously, 15th Street from Little Raven west is a total mess.

The Rockies have left town for a few days after nearly sweeping the red Sox in three very entertaining games. All sold out. It should be relatively easy to get around. The annual “Heat Festival” seems a week early.

Last weekend, even Denver by the Slice was surprised by the closing of Wynkoop Street between 15th and the creek. Saturday, a law firm which offices on the street, invited 400 of its best friends for a party, with a band and lots of balloons. But, they failed to notify the neighborhood of the event…and  they totally blocked  the access to Manny’s Bridge and the bike paths from Wynkoop. Unnecessary. The City requires that affected residents sign off on such events. That’s why the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association is so diligent about getting all the resident buildings and businesses to sign off for their events, like the upcoming “No Garage Garage Sale” on August 28th at the same location.

Last week’s event was “permitted” but not correctly so. It has been noted.

What also bothered Denver by the Slice was the release of several hundred helium balloons from the party. Seems the kids were having a good time watching them float off (often in bunches of several dozen) towards Eastern Colorado and Western Nebraska where they litter the landscape and present a real hazard to wildlife. They may add a lot to a party, but balloons don’t look so good wrapped around a goose’s neck. They should know better. The party people. Not the geese.

Invasion of Red Sox Nation!

The mall is jammed! The shuttles are jammed! The ballpark is jammed! Even the hotels are jammed! With the rare invasion of Red Sox fans, and closet Red Sox Fans already here, it feels like a playoff.

For the businesses downtown, the words of SNL’s Garrett Morris: “Beisbol bin bery, bery good to me!”

One new arrival, with suitcase, was wearing shorts that exposed a large graphic vertically arranged spelling of “B-O-S-T-O-N” tattoo on his leg. If found, we will know where to return him.

Salvation in the Form of Good Coffee Coming Back Downtown!

We wrote about the closing of Peet’s in January here at the slice. Now, we can happily report that Peet’s is coming back. A new space is announced in the Sheraton Hotel, on the Mall, between Court and Tremont.

This is, perhaps, the best news of the day. Peet’s is back. Except we don’t know when it will open. But the Slice will find out and let you know, too. You won’t have to take a bus ride to Cherry Creek for great coffee!

Civic Center Eats! Every Tuesday this Summer!

Like the Steuben’s Truck (pictured), Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Denver Cupcakes and Moe’s Barbeque? See them and more every Tuesday between 11 and 2:30 at the Civic Center. Good food, good shopping, good causes and live music. This is a great mid-day break for people Downtown. Or, if you like, an excuse to ride the Mall Shuttle. Spotted: Boston Red Sox fans!

Coming Soon to a Street Near You!

Denver by the Slice is starting a regular feature to alert residents and fans of Downtown Denver to upcoming events and street closure issues. How many times have you gotten up on Saturday morning to find you were imprisoned on your block by a parade, march, run or massive walk that closed the streets? Worse…how about cheerleaders under your window?

Well, we hope to help you know in advance of something coming up Downtown.

The largest event of the weekend is the Pridefest at the Civic Center through Sunday, June 20. This is a very colorful event that includes lots of music and a couple of parades along East Colfax Saturday and Sunday. Pride abounds!

On the other side of Downtown, Saturday, June 19, the Highland Street Fair will occupy West 32nd Avenue between Lowell and Perry.

Next weekend, June 25-27, is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Square, around 19th and Lawrence. And, don’t forget to dodge the bikers Wednesday, June 23 on Bike to Work Day. They can be as tricky as cars, especially when they ride while texting or talking.

Street construction-wise, many projects are on-going, but it appears they are starting in earnest on the re-alignment of Larimer between 15th and 17th. It’s not easy making a street narrower. Wewatta, behind Union Station remains under siege, and 15th Street from Little Raven west is a mess. Especially near 15th and Little Raven as a demolition project is well under way at the Northwest corner.

And, finally, look for sell-out Rockies crowds Tuesday through Thursday evenings when they host the Boston Red Sox for the first time since the short 2007 World Series. Red Sox Nation is a scary thing…especially driving!

Gelato Returns to Downtown, and Not a Moment Too Soon!

Welcome, Amore Gelato, on the Mall between Welton and Glenarm. Bruce Koeller spent two years bringing this business to life in what was a sunglass store. Thank him! If there is anything we don’t need more of Downtown, besides Starbucks, that would be sunglass stores. We have Gelato now, and we are happy.

Gelato is more dense than ice cream which is full of air, and gelato has about half the fat and less sugar. Gelato originated in Italy, of course, and it is ubiquitous there. We had gelato in Larimer Square for a while with Gelazzi, but that business melted away. There is gelato around Downtown (Little Man, Red Trolley), but it is always best if close by. And, close by is important for gelato because it is typically made fresh in small batches. Bruce makes his in the kitchen upstairs from his shop.

The traditional flavors are all good. The pistachio is solid. The sorbettos light and great for summer. During the Democratic National Convention a couple of years ago, the most asked question on the mall was “Where can I get some ice cream or gelato?” Now we know. Tip: try the original Honey Sunflower Gelato, Bruce’s culinary invention. And, a personal favorite that will conjure up memories of the Good Humor truck driving down your street…Dreamsicle! Take some home.
(Photo: Copyright Diane Huntress)

LoDo Lights Gaining an International Reputation!

“Current 3” by Virginia Folkestad

First one, now three international electronic magazines are running illustrated articles about our very own LoDo Lights, the light art installation on Manny’s Bridge. That, of course, is the pedestrian bridge over Cherry Creek at the end of Wynkoop Street. The lights are interactive and have been pleasing passers-by since March 6, 2009. Originally meant to be a temporary installation, the artist, city and neighborhood association agreed to keep it on.

Now, the buzz is getting around the world! You can see the Enlighter Magazine article following this link. Lots of pictures and information about what goes into public light art. And, lots of other neat light art projects from all over the world. Enlighter is an Australian based publication focusing on lighting, lighting design and lighting architecture. Since their article appeared, similar publications from Greece and the United States have picked up on the story as well.

Diane Huntress managed this initial LoDo Lights project. The title is “Current 3”. The artist is Virginia Folkestad. The funding came from the neighborhood and with the assistance of the City of Denver Office of Cultural Affairs. Lights on and well worth your re-visit. Remember to stand back and watch the bridge “breathe” when it thinks no one is looking!

     Photo Copyright Diane Huntress