With summer in full swing and the myriad of events and activities percolating through the city, above is a picture of the feeling and vibe a short time ago…
Remember when living downtown was fun? Think way back to all the reasons you loved living here.
Remember walking down 14th Street on a Saturday night past the DCPA and watching the crowds rush towards the theater to see one of the excellent Broadway Musicals about to be performed? Remember going to happy hour at your favorite bar and thinking it’s so crowded in here? How awesome, the vibe is amazing? Do you remember looking at the Pepsi Center and wondering which huge music star was performing that night? We all need to remember these things because, hopefully soon, we’ll be enjoying them again.
As a downtown Denver resident for the past 8+ years, the pandemic hit especially hard. Living in a 42-story tower was not ideal, especially at the beginning of 2020. We are a very social bunch, and we were used to happy hours, dinners out together, and all sorts of social activities. Our way of life has been fractured over the past few years, and it’s likely this has been the hardest period in our lives.
If you think about it historically, every generation has its defining event. World War I, The Spanish Flu, The Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, 9/11, and for us, it’s Covid 19. What do all these events have in common? We survived them. We survived all of them and came out of the darkness stronger and more resolved than ever.
Hopefully, the restaurants on the 16th Street Mall will soon be packed again on a Saturday night. You’ll see lights in the sky coming from the Pepsi Center. You’ll hear that loud brass band in front of the DCPA that you used to walk by and roll your eyes. Now you’ll smile as hundreds of people flock back to the theaters. You’ll call your favorite restaurant for a reservation on Saturday night, and they’ll say, “sorry, we’re all booked for tonight,” and you’ll think, “I should have reserved a table sooner,” but you’ll also smile to yourself and think “I’m thrilled the restaurants are flourishing again.”
Saturday night at the cinema? Yes. Sunday afternoon with your dog at the crowded Beer Garden? Yes.
Throwing a party with 100 of your closest friends? Yes.
Downtown Denver has so much to offer, and it will be vibrant again. The pandemic will end, the headlines will fade, and life will start to resemble something normal. It may be a new normal, and we will never forget what we all had to live through, but the good times will return. We paid a high price during the pandemic. We lost friends, family members, and neighbors. We lost healthcare professionals who looked after us and saved lives; we lost grocery store workers who kept stocking the shelves, and we lost delivery people who brought things to your home when you were too afraid to go into a store
So when life does return to normal, and you’ve shed your mask, don’t be afraid to smile at strangers as you pass them on the street, say hello to the person sitting next to you in the theater, and give your restaurant server an extra generous tip and let’s all be a little kinder and a little gentler with each other than we were before. Downtown Denver is a diverse community filled with wonderful people and places, let’s bring downtown back better than it ever was.
Most importantly, remember these past few years. It will bring you sadness, but it will also bring you joy. It will bring you joy when you remember the friends, neighbors, and family members who helped you through this. Remember their kindness, remember their generosity, remember their sacrifices. Remember it all.