Denver- where the pus of the plains erupts to the surface and spreads like lava over a 155 square radius of otherwise pristine land.
Denver- a scab that envelopes the foot of the Rockies and gives them athletes foot. Fortunately it has not advanced up into them.
A few millionaires and billionaires and a lot of wanna-bees have made footholds there, but the prices, the elevation and the danger of actually communing with real nature keep them down in the flats where it is safe and normal and has most of Mother Nature well paved over with concrete and asphalt.
Whereas Colorado is famous for its majestic peaks and wild nature, Denver does its best to fight that image and wins hands down. It is as flat as pancake in most places. And equally as boring. Were it not for the Broncos winning a Super Bowl now and then, the place would make most people snooze. Oh, yes, they do have a baseball team, a hockey team and a basketball team that occasionally show signs of life, but it is definitely the Broncos that keep a pulse going on the city cardiograph. I admit, I am a bit biased in this account as I am from Wisconsin and thereby by Wisconsin law must be a Packers fan otherwise they won’t let me back in again. But I do say with pride that I wore my Packers sweatshirt with pride to the big homecoming parade after they snuffed us at Superbowl XXXll. I survived without a scratch or a lynching, although I did get a couple of snide comments (“Hey! Who paid you to wear that shirt?!).
What isn’t so famous is that after the Superbowl win the club’s owner, Pat Bowlen, used the heady, elated swoon of the Colorado taxpayer to pay for a spiffy new stadium (even thought the one they were using wasn’t that old). It didn’t matter if you were a rancher or farmer way out in the sticks (contrary to popular knowledge most of Colorado is also flat as a pancake) and only came to Denver once every two years when tractors and seed supplies were on sale- you still had to help pay for it. No wonder the guy was rich- he knew how to work the crowd, much like another rich man who is currently in the news lately and also runs a big business (like the entire U.S.).
The best part is how he and the rest of metro Denver got the land. Downtown Denver had its heyday in the early development of the 1850’s when gold and silver and other shiny things were discovered them them there hills……er….mountains and a calliope of characters started showing up at its door wanting supplies and a map to the nearest hot areas where the Indians had already been kicked out of. It didn’t hurt at all that the railroad had just been conveniently built to aid them in their quest. Hey, why go all the way to California when you can make your fortune only half-way there?
Anyway, by the mid 1900’s the northern part of downtown Denver eventually fell into a state of poverty and dissolution. It was Denver’s version of a ghetto, although a relatively spacious and modern one compared to those back East. So, what did the dear city Father’s in their great human benevolence do to alleviate this non-skyscraper part of town? They did what any man heeding Horace Greeley’s call to “Go West, young man!” and in the purest capitalistic fashion kicked all the poor people out, tore down the low rent buildings and put in condo’s, apartments and the upscale sort of stores that the influx of yuppies pouring into Colorado at the time would want. Why let the pretentious but filthy rich all flock to Boulder when they had the wherewithal to temp them to come to the big city just south of Mork and Mindy land?
And that they did. In flocks.
Soon Lodo was the In place to go. And guess where all the sports stadiums are? And all the nightclubs, restaurants and bars that cause the errant sons who moved to the teeming suburbs to come spend their above average Western wages in the heart of the city again?
Lodo! The nickname give to ‘lower downtown’! Isn’t that clever? At least in a not-very-imaginative Denver sort of way?
Denver, not to be outdone by LA in the ‘let’s see how fast we can grow and use up all of our limited resources way’, having oodles of empty land proceeded to grow exponentially horizontally much in the same way that East Coast cities grew vertically. Boulder, the fabled kingdom to the north, got paranoid and built…..er…..allowed to grow a Green Zone around the city to buffer attacks by the largest municipality in the state, much like European states of old would build castles with moats to insulate them from an unfriendly threat to their way of life. It worked for decades until Boulder of late decided to become a behemoth of its own. Now former residents such as myself want to vote to rename it ‘Denver North’ or ‘Denver Re-imagined’ or ‘Denver- The Sequel’ because it would be more honest as it is definitely not the Boulder we all remembered and sort of loved..
At the same time we are coming up with new slogans for the huge monstrosity which has the audacity to not only be by far the largest assemblage of humans in the state, but by sheer size and intimidation is also the capital and business hub of the state. How does ‘Denver- Yeah, Its Flat, But You Can See the Mountains Real Good Here’ sound?. Or ‘Whoever Is The Biggest Wins’, or ‘What Is That You Are Saying? Sorry, You are Too Far Away To Be Of Any Importance To Us’., or ‘Denver Makes White Bread Look Wholesome and Nutritious.’
Or we just build a wall around the place and hope they don’t notice.