Archive for October, 2010

Too Nice Out to Blog!

Somedays are like that. A Friday afternoon, middle of October, 80 degrees out…give me a break! It’s just too nice to write about things like…

—How weird it is that the Denver Post interviews people from Highlands and Commons Park about living in LoDo. Their article on the “Great Neighborhoods of 2010” Award that LoDo won ended up west of LoDo.  With no pictures of LoDo. The Post, in the past, has also had trouble knowing when crime did, or did not, occur in “LoDo”. They call everything LoDo. We keep trying!

—Two new exhibits opening tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 15th and Delgany.

—The RTD construction schedule for the Wynkoop Street side of the Union Station project. Look for groundbreaking May, 2011 for the North Wing Building. June, 2011 for the Wynkoop Plaza construction start in front of the station. And, October, 2011 for the South Wing building groundbreaking. No more parking lots.

—How compelling was the television coverage of the miners in Chile being successfully rescued? Half a world away and half a mile underground. Good stuff!

—Wines off Wynkoop (behind the Tattered Cover) offering free wine tastings in-store both on Friday’s and Wednesday’s!

—Or, that with this weather, shouldn’t we be having the baseball playoffs?

It’s just too nice to get into all of that.

LoDo a “Great Neighborhood”? You Betcha!

You may have read by now, today, that LoDo was named one of 10 Great Neighborhoods by the American Planning Association. These awards have been given by the APA for a few years, and, this year LoDo finds itself in a group that includes the Back Bay area of Boston, good company indeed.

Of course, all the usual suspects are spewing forth press releases and formula quotes, grabbing at bits of the credit. But, nowhere is it mentioned (except here at Denver by the Slice), that a “Great Neighborhood” probably doesn’t have a chance to be that if it doesn’t have Great Neighbors. And, this one does.

Seen on the Street! Copyright Diane Huntress

People like Manny and JoAnne Salzman who were instrumental in gaining the area’s Historic designation. Groups like the St. Charles Neighborhood Association (now Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association) that worked with residents and the city to moderate the rapid influx of bars, businesses and traffic. And, it’s a bunch of extremely involved neighbors fronting many of the issues involving the Union Station development project. Winners all!

The article announcing the accolade, on the Denver Business Journal site today, failed to mention that the APA also annually names 10 “Great Streets” and 10 “Great Public Spaces”. Hopefully, LoDo can compete in the future for those categories as well. You can find all of the winners (with slide shows and full attribute descriptions) here at the American Planning Association website. You can read why Bryant Park in New York City is one of the Great Places, and why Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kansas is one of the Great Streets.

Bryant Park was “re-invented” years ago to make it an extremely attractive and vibrant oasis in the middle of Manhattan fronting the Library. Concert venue, lunch spot, ice rink all in the city. Massachusetts Street in Lawrence has evolved into a cosmopolitan business center full of historic charm, much improved over the time that Denver by the Slice might have been hanging out at the now-defunct Voodoo Lounge on that street. Progress, indeed!

Are There Street Vendors in Cyberspace?

Probably at every corner. Here’s one of our (Downtown Denver’s) own…Armenian Shish Kabob…launching a new website. Check it out here. And, check in the blog section of that website and you’ll notice the Special for the Rest of October. Buy any two sausages and get the third for FREE!

By the way, Armenian Shish Kabob’s earthbound location is right at the corner of 16th and Market, across from Office Depot and the RTD Market Street Station. There you will find Shish Kabob, of course, Falafel, beef or Polish or Italian sausages, and, get this, elk and buffalo, with occasional wild boar and antelope. Those don’t grow everywhere.

They make every meal to order at their cart, from about 11-3 weekdays.

And, they cater, both on the ground and in cyberspace.

Ummm...Street Food!

 Their website, from which we borrowed this picture, promises “The very best of Armenian, Greek, Italian and Mediterranean Foods!”

Denver by the Slice appreciates little guys doing business like big guys. Web-site, blogs, links and sausages. Now that the rain has stopped…time for lunch!

Oh, Thank Heaven! Coming Soon to a Loft Building Near You?

According to the guy who says he’s going to manage it, it is. 7-Eleven plans on moving into one of Downtown’s loft residence buildings, the Isbell Lofts at 1800 Lawrence. According to this gentleman, the newest member of the chain will be in place by “turkey day.” We interpret that to mean late November. And, when that store opens, the 7-Eleven on the same block, at 1835 Arapahoe will stay open and running. “It makes too much money to close,” according to my source.

Apparently, not all of the loft residents are particularly happy about their new ground floor tenant. The Isbell was renovated in 2002, built originally in the 1920’s, and housed the Isbell Kent Oakes Dry Goods Company into the 60’s. There are 37 living units in the building. The corner ground floor space formerly, and for not too long, housed a Denver outpost of Pulcinella, an Italian restaurant and bar. Suffice it to say, the best thing about the restaurant was that the door opened to the corner of the building at 18th and Lawrence. Going on inside was less rewarding.

If completed, this, of course, is not the first Downtown 7-11 in a condominium building. At Brooks Tower, the Arapahoe Street store on the first floor has served residents there for years with an entrance off the lobby so robes and slippers worked just fine 24/7. Never know when you might wake up with a craving for some smokes and a Slurpee, or just a Big Gulp and a can of beans and weenies!

And, another 7-Eleven is planned on Blake Street, “somewhere near the ballpark.” Oh, thank heaven?

September 14 Public Meeting…Union Station Historic Building Re-use

RTD FasTracks is hosting a public meeting at RTD offices, 1600 Blake, on Thursday, September 14 from 5:30-7:30. This session will “explain the process for the RTD Board to make a decision on the best re-use of the historic Denver Union Station.”

They intend to talk some about the building history, and, hopefully, take input as to how the building may accommodate future uses. That’s a critical component in the entire project’s impact on the Lower Downtown area.

With the transit component construction well under way, start to look at the station itself and its role in the future. Work should start on the north “wing building” in early 2011, and that will precipitate the closing of, at least, the north surface parking area. Then, later in the year, construction should begin on the outdoor plaza areas along Wynkoop Street.

But, clearly, as all that is going on, a plan must be in place for the restoration of the station, inside and out. And, for the uses of the building. The Board will need all the good advice and input they can get. They need to get this right!

You can keep up with the station news at the blog section of the Denver Union Station Advocates. This is the link to that blog. The latest post covers September activity and meetings, particularly concerning the external public areas.

And, keep visiting Denver by the Slice for important meeting notices and news about living in Downtown Denver!

ChoLon Bistro. Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Today is the opening day for ChoLon Bistro, 1555 Blake Street at the corner of Blake and the 16th Street Mall. A very tasty use of this retail space! We’ve all been looking in on the kitchen from the street. Now, we can eat there!

Chef Lon Symensma and his crew have been working long hours to get ready for the actual opening. And, they worked extra time last night at the Grand Opening Party, attended by the press, suppliers, v.i.p.’s and all the other usual suspects. It was a chance to sample the hospitality of this business, along with several of the featured offerings of the restaurant. Chef Lon says that, “many of my dishes are twists on classical Asian cuisine.” Then, add in his classical French training and Downtown has a new and special experience.

Chef Lon Symensma

ChoLon serves lunch and dinner and a “Small Bites” menu throughout the day. Prices are very reasonable, as promised when we posted about the restaurant several months ago. Denver by the Slice sampled Chili Crab Rolls with Charred Corn Salad, Soup Dumplings with Sweet Onion and Gruyere, Curried Duck Spring Rolls and the Grilled Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce. All very good. You can take a restaurant reviewer’s tour of the menu from this article at the Denver Magazine website from last week.

Or, you could take a tour of the menu just by going there!

Kudos, also, to Grady Huff from Studio Lemonade, who did the interior design in a woody eco-friendly and unique way. And, more kudos to the Chef’s family for handcrafting many of the wooden serving dishes used throughout. Show up at ChoLon!

Corner Table? Yes. Thank You!

Making the Art for the Public Art at the Justice Center

Last Thursday, five new public art projects were dedicated at the new Justice Center on Colfax. They vary in size, medium, scale and shape, and one was judged clearly the best by Kyle MacMillan writing in the October 3 Denver Post. You can see that article here.

"Convergence" photo provided to Denver by the Slice, courtesy of Ralph Helmick Studio

Judged “best of show” was the sculpture by Boston artist Ralph Helmick called “Convergence”. Helmick started with over 150 profile photographs of Denverites taken by LoDo resident Diane Huntress. Her photos were narrowed to a “jury” of 12. Then the profiles were fabricated into steel outlines, repeated throughout the 56-foot tall tornado-shaped sculpture hanging inside over the entrance to the judicial building at the complex. MacMillan’s quick take comment in the printed article was, “Wow.”

Diane is also the producer of another public art project, “LoDo Lights,” delighting pedestrians and illuminating Manny’s Bridge over Cherry Creek on Wynkoop Street.