Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things To Do In Denver...

I travel out to the "Denver area" on occasion for work but until this last trip have been too lazy to actually go into downtown Denver proper and see what the city has to offer. Finding myself with about 6 hours to kill before my flight on Tuesday, I decided to drive into LoDo (Lower Downtown) and take a look around. So here is my take on Denver based on an afternoon spent in the touristy part of town.

My main goal for the afternoon was to see Coors Field which I sort of got to do. There was no game that afternoon and the park doesn't offer tours (as far as I knew) so the best I could do was press my face through the gate bars at the Home Plate entrance. I couldn't see the field but was able to see the top of the outfield seats. Somewhat anticlimactic but it is a real nice looking ballpark. I'll be back in Septemeber and hopefully the Rockies will have a homestand the week I am there.

Next stop was the 16th Street Mall, Denver's own edifice to consumerism. There is a lot of corporate Starbucks-type shit along the Mall but to be fair it's no cornier than Georgetown, the Seattle Fish Market, or Chicago's Golden Mile. And it is a nice looking pedestrian area which is perfect for wandering around and killing time. One of the main "attractions" along the Mall is the Urban Market...I love the word urban.

The word urban is only used in its literal sense by city planners and local governments. Any other time you see tht word, the implication is that of a certain lifestyle and fashion sensibility. Ironically, actual Urban People would never use the term or describe themselves in that way so, fashionably speaking, urban only has meaning from a suburban or exurban perspective. Case in point, the Urban Market on the 16th Street Mall. One of the big stores at the Market is a Nike Town. That's right, an entire store (and a very big one at that) solely devoted to moving the Nike brand name. There was a section of the store just for running. Running. I don't know why there is a need for a place like this to exist but they do a very good buiness and it was a cool place to walk around in even if they were trying to sell crotch-lined running shorts for $35. The other anchor store at the Market is a Virgin Megastore.

Some days I'm afraid I'll go berserk, rip the Elvis Costello mobile down from the ceiling, throw the "Country Artists (Male) A-K" rack out into the street, go off to work in a Virgin Megastore, and never come back.

I'd never been to a Virgin Megastore so I figured it would be a wonderful opportunity to see what a ginormous corporate record store was really like. And there was plenty of predictably bland material on display but a quick scan of the "M/N" aisle I happened to be standing in did turn up 3 copies of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (you can probably thank Pitchfork for that), what looked like the entire Modest Mouse catalog, and a handful of Morrissey solo albums including Viva Hate. (I mention Viva Hate in particular only because it is name-dropped in a studio converstion used as the intro to the opening track of Ryan Adams' first -- and best -- solo album, Heartbreaker. I know that seems like six degrees of random obscurity but since it was mentioned, on tape, by someone who for a small time within a small circle was considered an arbiter of cool, I thought it mentionable. Whatever.) Now I'm not a hug fan of any of those artists but it was nice to see them available in a store which also had a lifesize Kelly Clarkson cutout. In the end the Virgin megastore didn't turn out to be that cool or that lame. It was basically as predicatble as any other Urban Retail Outlet.

After my adventures in the Urban Market all I had time left for was lunch and a drive back out to the airport. Thus, my first impression of Denver is that I do not have an accurate one. Next time out I will find out where to see some actual city character and get my drink on. I suppose then I will have something more definitive to say about the city.

1 Comments:

At 8/10/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Dara said...

I had to go to Denver once for work. It was okay. Colorado Springs was way better.

 

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