Wandering around the Golden Triangle, Denver: The Perimeter, Part 2

Sign found near the Capitol Denver 2009Local celebrity alert: I saw John Ferrugia, an award-winning reporter at News 7, walking down Lincoln. He was about the most impressive thing there. It is not the most beautiful of streets between 12th Avenue and Speer.

I crossed 8th Avenue and gave $2 in dollar coins to the couple begging there on my quest to get to Le Central, one of my favorite restaurants in Denver. Before you fall all over me calling me generous, please recall that I just spent $3 on a hot chocolate so that I could pee.

I saw a side of Le Central that’s new to me—the south side. I think I’ve always gone there at night, and I never knew the outside was so brightly painted, especially on the side away from 8th Avenue. The office building behind it is faced with golden glassLe Central in front of golden-faced building Denver 2009.

Le Central south side Denver 2009When I got down to Speer, I saw where Ferrugia might have been coming from: the 7 News building. Three local TV stations sit within a mile of each other in Denver, two on Lincoln in the Golden Triangle and one farther down Speer.

Speer, named after early twentieth-century mayor and crook Robert Speer, is an impressive boulevard. Occasionally it reminds me of Ward Parkway’s graceful sweep through Kansas City, where I grew up, though the latter street is more residential.

Unfortunately, Cherry Creek paid the price for Speer’s grandeur: Speer was built up high above the creek to avoid flooding and in the process hemmed it in. A bike path runs on either side of the creek, and I moseyed down the ramp to stand by the brown water. I always feel sorry for it. I wish it could be a little more like Boulder Creek, with a wider riparian area, but I don’t see any chance of that happening unless the car culture dies out and people start ripping out lanes on Speer.Cherry Creek peeling paint at Lincoln, Denver 2009

As I come up the ramp and look at all the peeling mauve paint, I think again how unlovely, thrown together, the Golden Triangle is here. It’s having growing pains, at least on its perimeter. But as I head northwest by Rickenbaugh Cadillac, with its gleaming SUVs and the statue The Bannock, I peer down streets that look enticing. This area, around 8th Avenue and Acoma, makes me want to explore.

I pause at the Rocky Mountain Bank Note building, which houses PS 1 Charter School. Some kids are washing cars one street over, by the school, and across from them rises the Piranesi, whose website rhapsodizes about the “Golden Triangle Lifestyle.” If the building is as functional as the website, then I worry about the Piranesi. It’s graced by a sign advertising 3.875 percent interest rates—a sign of tenuous economy times.

The Belvedere Denver 2009At 12th and Speer, where I make my second turn on my tour of the Golden Triangle, sits THE BELVEDERE. At least, I feel the name of this Craig Nassi building should be capped. He does seem to be fond of building monumental beige structures in which condos rest on chic retail.

I would not call the Golden Triangle a walkable area. Although cyclists and the occasional family and jogger pass me, I can’t see walking it for pleasure. There’s not enough that catches my eye until I get to the Denver Art Museum and its massive cows.Cow at Denver Art Museum 2009

Of all the perimeter streets in the Golden Triangle, 12th Avenue definitely has the best feel, the best buildings—it reminds me of Uptown Denver, on Logan or Grant and 17th Avenue. All in all, though, the Golden Triangle is resoundingly beige.

Beginning next week, instead of walking around like this, always on the outside, pretending that I’m learning something, I’ll be zeroing in on specific shops and restaurants.

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Todd just came into my office and said his hearing is back! He was listening to the Police and noticed a mistake the guitarist made on one song. He could tell that another song was poorly mastered.

I guess Louisiana was worth it, even if I didn’t see an ivory-bill. 🙂