Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The Denver City & County Building Lit Up for the Holidays
Gretchen's post today on her blog -- http://3outta5.blogspot.com/ made me think of this...
She posted about provincialism -- how people think that their part of the world is the best, particularly New Yorkers, and that perhaps the perception of living in New York gives one a less global view than those who live outside it.
As a result of her post, I started thinking about what she said, but it also made me think about makes Denver so great, so let's talk turkey on the eve of Thanksgiving about what makes this a great city, just so if you don't live here, you'll swear you'll visit, and if you do, you'll smile a little wider.
Daniel Liebeskind, an architect who developed the new Hamilton Wing (pictured) for modern art, is in the running, if not chosen to develop the new World Trade Center buildings and memorials. Liebeskind was in town recently to open the new wing of the Denver Art Museum (with its catch-phrase of "Hot DAM!", because we have so much class).
Liebeskind said something, that as a resident of Paris and New York (him, not me), struck me with all sorts of civic pride in my adopted city.
"Denver is America at its best," he said.
Because it's beautiful. Not just the Rockies for a backdrop. The city itself is beautiful. It's open, it's friendly. People here are well-educated, love the arts, and support them with a vengeance. They're the friendly Midwesterners who want to live in a city.
I asked someone recently why everyone was so surprised that I would move here from Seattle, a town so smug that it thinks that the 20 days a year it doesn't rain in August is worth the other 345 days that it does.
I found out that Denver has a little hang-up, and that is that they were long considered a "cow town" even though there are no cows for miles around anymore, and not for a long time.
They responded by having every cultural attraction known to man brought in, including a great art museum, a world-class zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (which I still go to at least annually), and you name the major and minor sports -- we have 'em. Ballet? Theatre? We have it in spades.
But the people are what do it for me. I've made more friends in 5 years in Denver than I did in 15 in Seattle, but the strangers are good too. When I bought a map at the map store downtown, I came out of the store looking at it, and a man stopped on his bicycle to ask if he could help me find something. When I said no, I was just new in town, he said "Welcome to Colorado!" And he meant it.
Seattleites, on the other hand, will say "Great, you're from out of town? When are you leaving?".
The annual spring & summer events like the Taste of Colorado and Cinco de Mayo celebration send hundreds of thousands of people into Civic Center Park, a vast expanse of green that spans the space between the City & County Building and the State Capitol. Denverites like to have a good party.
I live in a city that has a few big city problems, but politicians have a no-nonsense approach to life. When someone complained about the "Merry Christmas" sign on the City County building, the Mayor said "Tough." When the Italians who hold the annual Columbus Day parade were protested by the local Native Americans, the mayor said, "Go ahead and protest, but keep your cool. This is a free country, let's keep it that way."
And despite all the fashionista girls in this city who left me behind a long time ago -- Today, when I wore my cowboy boots to work -- I got lots of compliments.
Yeah, Denver is my kind of town.