Archive for August, 2011

And, the Winner Is…

Front of the Peloton at Colfax and Speer, Yellow Jersey Safe

Levi Leipheimer (in yellow above) led a group of five American riders at the top of the final standings of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The race ended in Denver in front of about 100,000 enthusiastic, and knowledgeable bicycle racing fans. Many of those fans had seen every stage of this year’s inaugural event, and many were from far away. This was a talented field of riders with the top international teams vying for the win.

Welcome back to Colorado and Denver…top tier international professional bike racing!

"The podium's down in there...somewhere."

Now, fix the Denver finish area. True bike race fans love to see the race finish and the award presentations. Organizers in Denver, presumably the same people who organized the finish areas at every other stage, did everything they could to make that impossible. Except, of course, for the so-called VIP’s who paid big bucks for the solid line of tents lining the finish. They likely paid more attention to their ribs and beer than to the race in front of them. That’s fine. We expect that. But, putting the podium right in the middle of that narrow street severely limited the people who could actually participate in the awards. A wide-open and exciting racing event was reduced to a small stage with bad sound and limited visibility, and a scene that said nothing about Denver or Colorado.

We’ll even put up with the “Smashburger Finish Line” if the race organizers figure out how to properly set up a Denver-style podium. One for the fans!

Modernism, Greenism, Bikeism and Broncoism. Your Weekend Forecast!

No hurricanes. But plenty to do.

The Denver Modernism Show 2011 is on this weekend at the National Western Complex, where we last visited the Denver County Fair. Thankfully, this is not the County Fair.  See information here.

An event called the Green Route Festival takes place Saturday on 26th Street betwee Blake and Larimer from Noon until 11 p.m. Food, music, booths, and beer. Go to their website at greenroute.com and see if you can figure it out.

Sunday’s big arrival of the US Pro Cycling Challenge is bound to be crowded. The racers will arrive Downtown about 12:30 and begin six laps of a 5-mile circuit that goes up and down Speer and over and around the Civic Center. The whole race finishes about 1:30 right in front of the Capitol on Broadway. We saw one estimate of 50,000 people. We’ll say closer to 100,000. Best watching may be along Speer, close to Colfax or at one of the turns at Larimer or 9th. And, the party will go on at the Civic Center, ending well ahead of the following weekend’s deliveries of turkey legs.

Enjoy the first professional road racing in Colorado since 1988’s last Coors Classic. Good and fast!

And, the Broncos play on Saturday night. Even the Bronco faithful may get to see their boy Tim fling a few wild passes again.

Wherever you go…whatever you do this weekend…be careful crossing the streets! And, come back next week for more news and views of living in Downtown Denver!

Downtown’s Most Unique Shopping Street Isn’t Where You Think It Is!

There’s no official name for the blocks of Platte Street running north of 15th Street. There should be. And, there should be more recognition for this eclectic group of shops and businesses and their owners. It’s not in LoDo and it’s not in Highlands, or LoHi, if you must. It’s Platte Street. And, it’s special.

Now, everyone knows where REI is, but not many people actually know that REI is located on Water Street. Even fewer people know that Water Street becomes Platte Street at 15th. Some people may know there is a grocery store on the corner where the pool hall used to be. But, with bad signage, even that goes unnoticed by the masses. It’s a great couple of blocks, though, and Downtown residents should walk over to enjoy it.

Elephant Ears Outside, Dog Ears Inside. Visit!

For food, besides the grocery kind, you have Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana, Paris on the Platte for coffee, snacks and wine, Colt & Gray, some frozen yogurt, and a wonderful English tea shop called the House of Commons. Sushi Sasa is close. And, the smell of fresh spices is coming, of course, from the Savory Spice store.

On Platte Street, you can buy your mountaineering clothing or gifts for your dog. Buxom is a women’s fashion store. The Nosh Nest features an appetizing collection of kitchen essentials. Common Era is a unique boutique. Emage is where the hipsters get their latest skatewear. And, Salvagetti is the place for serious bikers to buy, fix or just talk about bikes…over a cup of their coffee.

Corks, the wine store, has been there for years, surviving and growing as the neighborhood finally took shape and grew too. And, for over five years, Sanctuary has offered a selection of gifts and home furnishings carefully selected by owner Wade Richards. Check out the fine Italian leather accessories!

Both Richards and Brenda Meyers, owner of Nosh Nest and rejuvaNest across the street, agree that this is a fine little area. Maybe “too secret.” They’d like to see more organized promotions and better signage to take advantage of the rapidly increasing pedestrian and commuter traffic crossing between Highlands and Downtown.

With new businesses like the Denver Beer Co. “stretching” the block, even more people are finally discovering this street, if only for a beer. More people are always welcome, but some shop owners are also very aware of new retail development just up the hill from them in the booming Lower Highlands area. Effective group marketing efforts will help the shops on Platte Street grow and maintain their share.

In all, though, the more retail everywhere in and around Downtown should continue to bring more people to the right places. Platte Street is one of those places. And, you can easily walk there from Downtown, Riverfront, Commons Park, even REI. Do something different this weekend and enjoy seeing your neighbors out shopping…on Platte Street. Make that the “new normal”!

(Photo: Diane Huntress)

Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher Speaks Out!

He has a great booming voice. He is a native of North Denver and a lover of Downtown Denver. He can take you on a memorable narrated tour of the city and the Historic District. He is a true orator.

Don't Ride Off into the Sunrise!

And, Dennis Gallagher is mad! About the Stock Show’s possible move to a place called Aurora. In case you missed it, click on this link to today’s Denver Post article and the Press Release from the Auditor’s office.

We agree. Keep the Stock Show in Denver!

(Photo: Diane Huntress)

Affordable Downtown Housing Project Taking Off!

"Thinking About Flying" now at MCA Denver

Project by artist Jon Rubin. Photo by Diane Huntress. Rooftop housing at 15th and Delgany. Click on the photo to learn all about it!

Here’s the REAL “Taste of Colorado”! What’s Yours?

Looking ahead a couple of weeks, the events calendar shows that, once again, there will be a big food thing at the Civic Center. Corn cobs, turkey legs, hummus and beer. A lot of people who do not live Downtown will go, try to figure out the parking, and pay too much for the same food, but in smaller portions, that they can find any day at their neighborhood strip mall.

Looking for Space?

But, Downtown Residents can enjoy a food festival every day. And, every street is different!

With nothing much on our mind today (other than the anticipation of another meaningless Broncos pre-season game Saturday night) we counted up the number of food groups represented on just four blocks of one Downtown street…ours. We came up with 16 food group offerings (with some duplications for meat)  from 16 different establishments. And, note: our methodology picked the prime suspect from each place, and we have used the now commonly accepted nomenclature for food groups of the “modern era”.  Missing are poultry skin and potato chips.

In order, from 15th Street to 20th Street, here’s what you can get any day Downtown, just on this single street:

  • Meat on a Stick
  • Deli Food
  • Tequila
  • Muffins
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Steak
  • Gator
  • Beer
  • Meat on a Stick
  • Beer
  • Steak
  • Steak
  • Beer
  • Hot Dogs

Whew! Try that on your street. Oh, and for extra fun, put a name with each food group and see who serves what.

Toast of Colorado

For your next assignment, how many of the 13 official Denver Neighborhoods that make up Downtown Denver (according to the Downtown Denver Partnership) can you name? If you need help, check out this slick new 36-page color brochure just published by the Partnership. It profiles each of them, and adds a few other features of Downtown Living. See it on line here.

Whatever you do this weekend to work up a good appetite, have some good Downtown food, and be careful crossing the streets!

Time to Gear Up for the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge!

Next week in Colorado, 128 of the best bike racers in the world will take to Colorado’s roads and mountains. Not since the old Coors Classic (born of the Red Zinger) have we been able to watch this caliber of racing in person…in Denver!

The top three finishers from this year’s Tour de France will be here. In fact, the Schleck brothers have been training and fly fishing in Steamboat Springs for days. Tour winner Cadell Evans will climb new heights as this race will cover the highest professional road race routes ever. 518 miles of Colorado over seven days, beginning with a Prologue Monday in Colorado Springs.

On Sunday, August 28, the riders will conclude the six-stage race with a 70-mile route from Golden to Downtown Denver. You can see the timeline and route description at this link. Plan on the racers leaving the start about 10:45 Sunday morning, looping out of Golden, back through, up Lookout Mountain, back through Golden, turn at the brewery and head to Denver.

They’ll come down Speer by Downtown and start a series of laps mainly along Speer and around the Civic Center. Pick your place to watch. Won’t be like the Champs Elysees in Paris exactly, but a welcome event nonetheless! And, just to one-up the French, our finish line, out of a veritable sea of logos, is called the Smashburger Finish Line. Sounds kind of classy, doesn’t it? Right in front of the Capitol, just after 1:30.

We’ll update both the race and any hints about the Downtown viewing experience next week on the Slice. This is good stuff!

(And, just for fun, take a look at how Kenny Be, Westword‘s finest asset, takes on the race at this link.)