Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Running Into Doug

I ran into Doug - my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore coworker - at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on South Colorado Boulevard here in Denver Sunday night.  I needed a large map of India right away (and who hasn't been in that situation before, right?) and the local bookstore where I work was out of them, forcing me to shop at a hated rival.  In any case, I walked in and saw none other than Doug having coffee with a friend at the adjoining Starbucks.  Doug was one of the textbook buyers at the DU Bookstore when I worked there as the Finance Manager, and remained at the store as the sole textbook buyer after Follett Higher Education Group took over operation of the store. Doug retired a few years ago after tiring of the 16 hour (or so) workdays and now works 2 days a week as a magician at The Wizard's Chest, a Denver institution. Unfortunately, Doug does not want his photograph taken any more - at least by me - and therefore I have to dig into the archives to find photographs I took of him a few years ago. I came up with a DU Bookstore collage that I made while taking a photo class at DU.  Doug can be seen in the upper left hand corner, his face superimposed on a cow, and also being strangled by then marketing coordinator Dave and textbook buyer Mary.  I wonder why Doug won't let me take his photograph anymore?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

East Side - West Side

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I spent part of the afternoon this past Saturday at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, which is the suburb just to the east of Denver.  Since it was still early when I left, I decided to hop on Interstate 70 and head to Golden, which sits up against the foothills west of Denver, for a few hours, too. Golden is a former gold rush town founded in 1859, and is protected from the rest of the Denver metropolitan area by the butte seen in the top left photograph above.  Golden is one of my favorite towns, and is filled with historic homes and neighborhoods  like the one in photograph on the top right.  One of the things I like best about the town is that the owner of the 1880s era home in the photograph on the bottom left decided to put a beer garden (seen in the bottom right photo) in his back yard.  It is called the Golden City Brewery, and is the second largest brewery in Golden after Coors.  The place is packed with neighborhood residents, students from the Colorado School of Mines, and visitors like me, all enjoying a late summer afternoon surrounded by the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  How great is that?

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Cherry Arts Festival

The Cherry Arts Festival was held this past weekend at Stanley Market, a shopping complex in the Stapleton neighborhood (located in both Denver and Aurora, Colorado), and so I thought I would drop by and check it out Saturday afternoon.  The Stapleton neighborhood is on the site of the former Stapleton International Airport, which served Denver for many years and was a mere 6 miles away from downtown Denver.  City fathers decided that this was WAY too convenient, and moved the airport close to the Kansas state line, to the joy of cab drivers throughout the city. But I digress.  The Stanley Marketplace is located in the old Stanley Aircraft Corporation building, and is actually a lot of fun to visit, with all kinds of locally owned restaurants and bars, not to mention two brewpubs.  And it is technically in Aurora.  Imagine - something fun in Aurora.  Unheard of!  In any case, the art fair was held both outside and in the center's exhibition space, a former airplane hanger.  The crowd was good-natured and happy, and included a lot of young families, as befits suburbia.  However, it was not nearly as crowded as the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which sponsors this festival, too.  But who cares - it was a very pleasant afternoon, there was a lot of photography on display, and so it was a win-win day for all.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Parallel Universes

As I have frequently mentioned, I walk from work to the light rail station at Union Station in Lower Downtown Denver as often as I can.  It is good exercise, but even better people-watching.  I alternate the route I take, walking down Colfax Avenue (15th street) one day and 17th Street the next.  These streets, running parallel to each other and only two blocks apart, couldn't be any different.  Although the businesses are becoming more upscale, Colfax is still a street of homeless people, the poor, the desperate.  It is still pretty seedy in a lot of spots, despite areas that have been gentrified, like the block where the bookstore where I work is located.  In the photograph on the left is the famous (or infamous) Satire Lounge, a dive bar that has been there for almost 50 years or so. And still seedy after all these years.

Just two blocks away is 17th Street, and the entire 2 mile stretch I walk is filled with trendy restaurants and bars, boutiques, refurbished Victorian homes,  and brand new apartment complexes for the young, hip population that frequents the area.  The street is always filled with people bar hopping, walking their dogs, and just hanging out.  Amazingly enough, very few homeless people are in evidence. They are evidently more comfortable on Colfax, in their element.  There can be no greater symbol of the haves and have-nots than walking these two streets.  And will this dichotomy get better or worse in the future?  I know how I'm betting.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Downtown Scene

I walked downtown from the local Denver bookstore where I work both Thursday and Friday nights, a distance of about 3 miles.  It really isn't much of a workout, but better than nothing.  When I got to the 16th Street Mall, the place was hopping, both nights.  I was not surprised about Friday night being busy, but it seemed to me that people were in weekend mode on Thursday, too.  Since I live across the street from the University of Denver, I am used to students in party mode on Thursday evenings.  Classes are Monday through Thursday at D.U., and so they let loose on Thursday nights and head to the mountains (especially during ski season) Fridays.  However, it seems to becoming a trend everywhere now.  I wonder if this is because so many people work part-time jobs now that the 3 day weekend is becoming more common. Less hours, no health care, and the only benefit being that 3 day weekend.  The good along with the bad, I guess..

Friday, September 15, 2017

The September Mutt Of The Month

The September Mutt of the Month, seen in the photograph above tied up in front of the Denver bookstore where I work, did not like to have his or her photograph taken.  I kept trying to get a close up portrait, but it kept turning it's head, refusing to look me in the eye.  I find that very suspicious - what is it hiding?  In any case, I went for a short walk and took the above photo from a distance when I was heading back inside the store.  Just what makes this dog so nervous?  Certainly not me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Daily Commute

I am still taking the bus to work in the morning whenever I can, and then walking the 3 miles in the evenings to Denver's Union Station to catch the light rail train home.  Often I have to change trains at the Broadway Station, where I took the above photograph the other day.  You may not realize it, but you are looking at one of hottest properties in the City of Denver.  before the great recession, the area south of here was going to be the trendiest neighborhood in the city, and among the new businesses was going to be one of Robert Redford's Sundance Theaters.  When the big crash happened, the plans were dropped, and the space has remained undeveloped.  Now there is talk about starting to develop the property, but since the only thing that seems to be built here these days are apartments, that dream neighborhood with a coveted movie theater is probably off the table for good.  Sigh.