Monday, July 27, 2009

Mile High Miscellany

Today we dropped several thousand feet and landed in Denver in time for the Rockies game, with great club-level seats courtesy of Rob’s cousin, who lives here.

While the drive was beautiful, I don’t have much to say about it, which may be why I am usually left unconvinced when people enthuse over how much they love living here on that account. Not that there’s anything objectionable or weird about getting off on looking at trees, but I just don’t see how much enjoyment there is in that. I grew up near the White Mountains and spent most of teenage summers there, and I do like mountains, forests, lakes, and all that. But it’s no sort of life.

The residents of Winter Park and the other small, cute towns along U.S. 40 in Colorado doubtless disagree. We poked through the early but growing crowd for the Winter Park Jazz Festival and spotted something we haven’t seen much of in the last few days: black people. We did see nonwhite people in Utah and Oregon, but they were Latino or Asian. The tremendous differentiation of populations across the country does make me wonder sometimes why we even bother with national aggregates.

We didn’t have a lot of extra time before the game, but we saw a little of what they call LoDo—the old warehouse district near Coors Field that has become a hot area. The stadium itself is a delight and doesn’t look its age (16)—perhaps because, we only belatedly realized, it’s been the template for some other places we’ve been. Rob found it particularly reminiscent of CitiField—or, rather, he realized that CitiField is reminiscent of here. Despite the stadium’s considerable size, it didn’t seem overwhelming in scale, and the breadth of amenities was remarkable—never before had we seen a stand selling only gluten-free food. Rob likened the ballpark workers to a hotel staff, in demeanor and efficiency. Which is actually a little weird, but it’s nothing to complain about.

The game itself saw some nice defensive plays by the Rockies. The Giants pitching looks suspect, though of course our exposure has been minimal. (I saw the Cubs host the Giants in May, but that’s about it.) Rockies fans—and there are a lot of them, given Denver’s huge catchment area--see the division title in reach, however delusional that may be. With the weakness of the NL Central this year, though, the wild card could be theirs in a walk. Rockies 4, Giants 2.

Afterward, we were underwhelmed by the famous Tattered Cover bookstore—great aesethetics, surprisingly few books. My friend John, an expatriate New Yorker, took us to his local, The Thin Man, which was delightful, even though we did not spy Myrna Loy lounging at the bar with a rye manhattan in hand. John then took us to City O City for fantastic vegan pizza—you read that right.

The Rockies left town for New York after the game; next for us was Colorado Springs. Well, we all have to be somewhere.

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