Archive for December, 2010

Time to Go A’Tunneling!

The passenger tunnel at Union Station will disappear before long, a victim of the total transformation into the center of transit. One of the bloggers for Denver Infill writes of missing the heat break in the winter, and the shade break in the summer provided by that tunnel. And, as Denver by the Slice will agree, a bunch of visual history will be lost when the tunnel is gone.

If you have never gone through that walk (and, that’s hard to imagine) then you are missing some great old photographs and mementos of rail’s golden age in Denver. And, you have not had the chance to think about the experiences of so many thousands before you, ascending to a track bearing romantically named trains to distant places. Or, being somewhere similar waiting for your favorite visitor’s arrival.

The Union Station passenger tunnel is one of Denver’s great public spaces. But, not for long. It should be gone in late winter or early spring. Then, all the ghosts will have to move to another niche in the old building.

Read the Denver Infill update at this link. And, the DUSPA release here. Then, go a’tunneling!

News About Town. Yes, About the Town.

Here are some items to get you caught up on what’s going on around the city…Downtown.

Just when we were finally getting used to the Post Office branch at Welton and 16th being closed by a leak, word leaked out that they would RE-OPEN! People liked to go to this office downstairs in the Masonic building. The Postal Service folks there were friendly and very efficient. And, it beat the heck out of walking all the way over to 20th and Curtis to stand in a long line while the clerks came and went and cajoled with each other.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, that Post did re-open. For just a few hours. It leaked again. And, the USPS declared this space undeliverable. Return to sender. They won’t be back.

But, do not despair, Downtownites. For the last few months, under the radar screen, Office Depot has offered many of those same USPS services. And, they are friendly and enthusiastic about it, too. Michael Sirianni is not a “mailman”, because at Office Depot he does so many more jobs. He is a “Creative Solutions Engineer.” Definitely a title for the times. He and his team are ready to help. They sell stamps by the book, sheet or roll. Parcel post services are right there with UPS. And, the daily pick-up is usually about 5. They are, of course, open 7 days a week at 16th and Market, which you won’t find at the good ol’ Post Office.

This station is not able to do those tricky official registered or certified letter deals, or international shipping with USPS. But, you can take your dog in and not worry about it biting the mailman!

Around, the area, Public Works is going to be adjusting the timing on about 200 signal laden intersections. Some of this is to extend crossing time for pedestrians. We’re all for that, but keep in mind, it will also extend the stupidity time for impatient drivers. Some of the timing issues will also address the demise of the diagonal crossing lights at many intersections. That is caused by, in part, the arrival of Light Rail trains of four cars versus three. More ads.

Over at the Light Rail platform, look for the move to the new area near the Millenium Bridge next summer. And, with that, the extension of Mall Shuttle service to that area as well. Public Works will also be looking at making more Downtown Streets two-way instead of one-way. And, more streets will be declared “Pedestrian Priority”, again to the dismay of impatient suburbanites behind the wheel.

The planned shared-use bike lane running the length of 15th Street is on hold. Denver by the Slice pointed out that they needed to address how a left-lane bike route dealt with the street when it becomes two-way at Wazee. We see too many bike accidents and near accidents with cars along the blocks between Wazee and Delgany. The route is being re-engineered by the group called Denver Moves.

We have also recently seen a bicyclist crash at high speed into a stopped RTD bus. Yes, it surprised us, too. Try as he might have, the bus was not hurt much by this rider…and luckily neither was he.

Oh, No! Not Another Tie!

Once in a while, an actual work of art shows up as a holiday window display. Check out the “tree” in the window of Gentleman’s Quarters near 17th and Wazee. We’ll get a picture on this site in a day or so…but we’ve been kind of tied up.

Gentleman’s Quarters, by the way, is right next door to the best little bar/coffee place/cafe that nobody knows is the best little bar/coffee place/cafe in LoDo. That’s Mangiamo Pronto, of course!

This Weekend: Trees and Tubas all Downtown!

Surely, by now, you know about the annual concert of Christmas music…all by tuba. This Sunday, December 12, 1 to 2 at Skyline Park, Arapahoe Street and the 16th Street Mall. Over 300 hardy tubists show up, practice a bit, then deliver your favorite songs for the holidays. They try to accomplish this fete before freezing lips to mouthpiece, or locking up a valve. Reportedly, these tubists come from almost every state and even a few foreign countries for this event, now decades old in Denver holiday tradition.

The low, sweet sounds of this many tubas seemed to sound better when it was held for so many years at Larimer Square. The brick buildings’ bounce of tone enhanced even the softest notes. But, as crowds grew, more room was needed. More horns showed up, too. Fun for the family.  Buy a pizza. Take the shuttle.

And, Downtown, you can also shuttle off to buy your Christmas Tree. Once again, Tiri’s Garden at 15th and California is clearly THE most convenient place for Downtown residents to get a real tree…help a real cause, Concerts for Kids…and never really need to get in the car. Take the shuttle!

(And, by the way, you can read more about Tiri’s Garden, here, at the very first post in Denver by the Slice! And, by the way, wasn’t Octoberfest more fun when it was at Larimer Square?)

Jobs for the 21st Century…

On Broncos' Short List?

Downtown Bank Offers “FREE CASH”. Gets Robbed!

Just after high noon on Saturday, December 4, the TCF Bank at 16th and California was robbed. No guns. No shots. Just a note and no one was hurt…or caught. The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of money and police were prowling around the 16th Street Mall and the alleys as crowds were starting to build up for the evening’s Parade of Lights.

Money for the Taking on the Mall

Well…why wouldn’t the guy go in and ask for money? Assuming he could read, he no doubt was attracted by the two huge window signs, one on the 16th Street side, one on the California Street side. “FREE CASH, Step Inside for Details.” Worked for him.

And, while we are on the subject, we might mention that we don’t know what TCF stands for in the bank’s name. It seems to be just another one of those faceless branch bank offices, more prolific downtown than Starbucks. One or two on every block. And, they don’t even look like banks! More like a car rental desk, or an insurance office. Last week we posted about a new muffin shop opening in LoDo. We said in that post that Downtown development needed to be about more than muffins and sandwiches. We meant to say that Downtown development needs to be about more than muffins, sandwiches and branch bank offices on every corner.

That will solve itself if they keep giving out so much “FREE CASH!”

Time for the Annual Parade of Darks!

Sure, Downtown Denver will be all-a-twitter this weekend with the Parade of Lights, but the adult event of the season will be in full Saturday afternoon daylight. The Parade of Darks at the Wynkoop Brewery will top off from 1:00 to 4:30, December 4.

Over 50 tasty, toasty dark beers will be served, representing breweries from Colorado, across the United States and even Belgium. Hand-crafted seasonals, brown ales, stouts and porters will join some sour beers, barley wines and a firkin ale or two.

Tickets are just $25 in advance here, or $30 at the door. And, where does the money go? Not to the beer people, but to the CareRing Downtown food pantry, feeding the needy in the community. Now, that’s a good parade!

Perusing the list of beers to appear, we found some of these favorites. From Maui Brewing, Coconut Porter would seem to be like finding a macaroon under the tree. Left Hand Brewing’s Fade to Black sounds like the beer to have on the way out the door.

And, from Port Brewing in San Marcos, California, the whole family’s favorite…Santa’s Little Helper. Watch out for this one, code named by it’s fans “Satan’s Little Hangover” according to the brewer’s website. And, at that same site, the more corporate description of this Imperial Stout: “One naughty but incredibly nice beer.”

So, for the subtle and necessary break from thousands of suburban families, kids and carriages and jackets in tow, who will descend on Downtown this Friday and Saturday evening, have your own parade of Holiday Cheer. Your Parade of Darks!