Driving Colfax at Midnight

…and not for the reasons you might be thinking! Minds out of the proverbial gutters y’all. :)

My new job has me working in and around the University of Colorado Hospital over at Colfax and I-225.  I love this new job for many reasons but one of them is that I have found myself drawn to the street that is one of the longest in the country.  For the longest time it was known as a bad place and people would drive miles around it to avoid touching or looking at Colfax.

To those people I say…whatevah!  To me, there are dangerous parts in any city you go.  Slide on over to Detroit and tell me there are places that you’d like to walk down in the dark of night flaunting and taunting.  Here’s the thing.

Denver is beautiful.  And not just because of those Rocky Mountains and the sunshine and the amazing parks and great trails.  No, our city is beautiful because there is still character left within her.  There are still places that exude the culture, the love and the ideas of what has made Denver and the metro area that unique.  Colfax is just a piece of that.  There are so many points in Denver and the metro area that create the character of our city that seem to be moving to lukewarm territory it’s a little saddening.  And maybe even scary.

And so tonight I did the unthinkable.  I drove from Colfax and 225 all the way to Race Street at around 30 miles an hour windows down and playing my music softly from my speakers.

I loved this journey as the neon lights blazed on on the darkness.  The closed storefronts with unique facades.  The streets littered with the random walker and talker.  The old signs  that evoked the neighborhood of old with the stark comparison of newfangled buildings and business.  As I voyaged deeper down Colfax there were parts where my nervous soul skittered a bit but regained composure.  I passed icons (“Pete’s” numerous Restaurants anyone?) and fading memories throughout this drive.  I passed the dying and the thriving as the darkness consumed the path behind me.

There’s a drive underway to bring Colfax out of the red light days and into something bigger and better…and yet somehow manage to retain the identity.  Urban change and renewal is a complicated beast and the longest street in America.  As a new transplant from A-Town (Aurora, woot!) I’m venturing outside my mild comfort zone in an attempt to get to know my city that I love.  There are also others who love Colfax and they’re really into the street.

There’s even business working at it too.  As time goes on and I get used to driving Colfax I’ll try and do some photo reporting and posts about it.  It’s a great part of Denver (and the side street journeys are also fun to do) and you should check it out…although I’d say daytime would be better for first timers.

2 Comments so far

  1. coryp on July 3rd, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

    Don’t forget about the Bluebird district! (York to Colorado)


  2. Murphy (murphyla) on July 20th, 2008 @ 11:43 am

    In the 15 years I’ve lived in Denver, I’ve spent at least 14 of those living within blocks or within mere yards of Colfax and the very things that so many other people shun or shudder at the thought of are often the ones that make Colfax so great. Let’s hear it for Colfax Avenue, a long stretch of road that has real life to it. Just say no to the cookie cutter world.

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