Archive for February, 2012

“People are Pedestrians by Design”

Some walking-about-town issues have come to mind this week in Downtown Denver. This is a great area for walking…and we don’t do enough of it. A recent article in the New York Times spoke about walking in Denver. “Denver is Urged to Hit the Sidewalks” highlights the work of architect Gosia Kung and the organization she founded, Walk Denver.

That’s where we found the great line above, at Gosia’s site. Here’s the link to the Walk Denver site. And, here’s the link to the New York Times article. Both will show you why you should consider walking as more than exercise. It is, indeed, a form of transportation. One place to another.

Denver by the Slice is a firm believer that walking is the right speed of travel. The speed at which you actually see things…interact with the surroundings and people…and learn something. Walk on your own sometime down a river valley in France, or through a German forest, place to place. You’ll see.

At least there you won’t be dodging cars, bicycles, skateboards, people with clipboards or just with their hands out. You’ll have your own set of signs to follow, not a bunch of traffic orders.

Signs of Improvement at 16th and Wewatta?

To wit, the intersection of 16th and Wewatta, under fire and construction, has hopefully just been made better. The display of signs trying to keep people and cars from becoming one has actually been improved this week with a lighting change. The city, in their infinite wisdom, has added “Pedestrian ONLY” cycles to the lights at the intersection. At least that will improve your odds…as long as the drivers figure it out, too. It may not get better than this for a couple of years, so Good Luck!

And, another sidewalk tale. Watch for the walks around the southeast corner of Delgany and 15th Street to disappear next week. Fences will go up and buildings will come down as Opus starts their 10-story apartment building across from the Museum of Contemporary Art. Enjoy the view from the MCA roof while you can.

As you start out on your walk, with the intention to go somewhere in Denver, leaving your car behind…be careful crossing the streets. We need to hit the sidewalks without the sidewalks always hitting us with dangerous crossings, meaningless signage or total barriers.

Jazz Tonight at the Wazee Supper Club!

The Bob Montgomery/Al Hermann Quartet play tonight and for the next few Wednesday nights at the Wazee, 15th and Wazee in LoDo. No cover, just great jazz from 8 to 11.

Enjoy this chance to see and hear the sweet trumpet of Downtown resident Montgomery blending with the smooth trombone of Hermann. They’ll be off to remote parts of the world again, soon, spreading their unique sounds to jazz lovers worldwide.

And, don’t forget, the Wazee, a Denver institution for over 37 years, serves great pizza until early every morning. 32 tap beers to choose from…and, an atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else Downtown.

Tonight. Jazz. Wazee!

Lucky Pie Construction Crew About to Go Fishing!

Lucky Pie is about to make its debut in the former Dixon’s space at 16th and Wazee. The sign in the window says they will open on March 1, next Thursday. And, it looks like the pace of work inside has picked up the challenge to meet that date. That’s when the construction crew leaves to go fishing.

But, they’re not going far. Next door, in fact, to finish out the rest of the cavern left when Dixon’s shuttered last fall. That same crew will begin to build out another restaurant, Blue Sushi Sake Grill, the 7th eatery operated by Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group. The work is scheduled to be done in time for a “summer” opening.

Landing Soon in LoDo, courtesy Blue Sushi website

Blue Sushi was mentioned some time ago in an article by the Denver Post’s John Henderson. He claimed one of the best sushi meals of the year was had there, in Omaha, while on a country-wide road trip. We may not think often of Omaha as a den for sushi, or for much else. But, Denver does know its fins and wasabi.

If the Downtown Denver version follows the trend of the other Blue Sushi spots, expect to see, also, the Sake Bombers Lounge as another place to hang, drink, eat…and try to hook something.

Denver by the Slice, having profiled recently the 10 pizza offerings about to dominate LoDo, may now have to consider a profile of all the fish, cooked and raw and on the hoof, that’s come about. Pizza and fish. Whatever happened to steak?

(And, congratulations on this Fat Tuesday to 30-years of Marlowe’s at 16th and Glenarm! Celebrations, roll-back prices and music today. They were on the Mall before it was the Mall!)

A Fine Downtown Breakfast Choice…

...and, Yes, We Need More! Do You Know This One?

Rock Stars Spotted on Lawrence Street!

Can You Guess the Name of this Band?

Monday is Presidents Day in America! Not Candidates Day, thankfully. But a shout out to the 44 who have held this incredibly difficult position through many trying periods…like now. Many businesses will stay open, but not the banks, government or the Post Office. We may not notice.

And, by the way, what’s become of the mailboxes so many regularly visited in front of Union Station? We checked with the local USPS and they said only that they had been removed, and may or may not return. Hopefully, the Union Station people have that part of their plan stamped for approval. There are not so many walkable locations with late and Saturday mail pick-ups. At least when they yanked out all the mailboxes for the Democratic Convention in 2008, fearing the worst, they did rather promptly return to their original spots…and just in time for the Broncos season.

Enjoy the “Holiday” and be sure to remind your friendly banker that he won’t have another “day off” until Memorial Day!

A Busy Week of Trade-offs

Time to bring you up to date on some items around Downtown Denver from the last few days. News, notes and comment.

Lights Out! At a Denver Planning Board meeting last night, the marathon session ended with Sports Authority dropping their plan to string giant lighted letters of their name around the stadium on the east, west and north sides. Yes, it is officially Sports Authority Field at Mile High, but it will only be announced, presumably, on the south end for the world to see. And, we can continue to call it “Mile Hi”.  The neighbors banned together to get this accomplished. Lights off for the 9′ letters…power to the people!

Glacial Movement. A large car and truck-eating glacial lake opened up at the 15th Street entrance to the alley behind the Wazee Supper Club. Fear not, though, as it was whisked away in the middle of the night (2:30-4:00 a.m.) by a road grader. Not a plow. Not a bunch of guys with shovels. A road grader like they would have used to build the Panama Canal if they had had one. Noisy, but no cars are missing today. Seems over the years, residents and merchants near the intersection of 15th and Wazee have requested the city add storm drains to help with runoff and snowmelt accumulation. The city seems to think it unnecessary. Don’t stand here after a snow when a bus goes by. Calmly go inside and order your liquids from one of the Wazee’s 32 taps.

Dangerous Walk. Daytime and rush hours are particularly tricky if you are trying to navigate from Downtown over to Highlands via 16th Street and the Millenium Bridge.  Crossing 16th at Wewatta demands caution. No one driving is paying much attention. Be careful! Oh, but if you are lucky, speaking of 16th Street, you may get to ride on one of the new shiny Mall Shuttles. Catch one while it still has that “new Shuttle smell.”

 

What Could Have Been. Our "W"!

Whither the W?  Not only are we not getting a trendy new “W” Hotel, we won’t get the shop where you could buy nifty stuff like a $32 coin purse. Sage Hospitality has dropped its plan to develop the air space above Office Depot into the hotel in favor of several stories of office and residential. Something going in that space has been in the works, and the zoning, for years, much to the chagrin of residents of Larimer Place who have had their view for decades. Building on the site of Downtown Denver’s arguably worst looking building will cause a move for Office Depot. Of course, we all remember when that space was Dave Cook Sports, and no better looking.

LoDo’s new food corner. Work keeps moving along on part of the old Dixon’s space and the former Gumbo’s across the street at 16th and Wazee. The folks from The Kitchen will form a new corner foundation for the Sugar Building. They told Denver by the Slice a couple of weeks ago that they planned to be open in March. Signs in the window, in nice Boulder type lettering, use the more generous “Spring”. And, now, they are updating their FaceBook page about the spot. Meanwhile, the owner of Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap Room told one of our sources last week that they “would be open in three weeks.” If you have wandered by to look in, you’d say they would be lucky to accomplish that. There is a Port-o-Let on the sidewalk, though.

Opus Redux. And, if you wondered where the Chevy Nova standing on its nose across from the Museum of Contemporary Art has gone, you’ll have to keep guessing. It has been moved. The flower building will come down. And, the building fronting 15th at Delgany, the “Energy House” will go darker for demolishment. On that spot, 285 luxury apartments will be built by Opus, they of the 1401 Wewatta structure and the EPA Regional Headquarters. Key to the new structure, though, is a first floor space hopefully to be usable by the MCA. The popular Mixed Taste serics and other events stretch their available space.

The trade-off there? One of the more sublime views of LoDo and Downtown Denver will be greatly compromised as the new apartment building rises above the deck level of the MCA rooftop cafe. How do things look to you out there?

Goes Well With a Bloody Mary!

Today at Gallop, photo by Diane Huntress, Valentine