Off Limits

That's a wrap!

A whole lot of rubber and leather but not a lot of lace graced the Denver International Airport Holiday Inn two weeks ago. For the Thunder in the Mountains conference, the national S&M community rented out the whole damned place the weekend of July 17-18, turning executive conference areas such as the "elegant Durango Room" into full-scale dungeons. Holiday Inn's hold message isn't lying when it promises, "Our professional staff is dedicated to making your event a complete success" -- even when spanking is involved.

What's So Funny?

On July 22, after seven years and three design efforts, Denver officials unveiled the new, allegedly improved Skyline Park, along Arapahoe Street between 15th and 18th streets. New York-based landscape architect Thomas Balsley's winning proposal essentially leveled Lawrence Halprin's original 1970s design, transforming a former Denver asset into the architectural equivalent of a drive-thru. What had been a tree-lined, interesting enclosure is now a simple, street-level patch of grass.

"The sunken and hidden spaces of the old Skyline Park made it a dead park," asserted Anne Warhover, head of the Downtown Denver Partnership, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Not so the new Skyline: There's nothing more lively than watching brand-new, bright-green grass wilt under 300-year drought conditions. Others on the 22-member project committee praised the park's impressive sightlines, a series of clever angles that allow you to stare...straight ahead! As if into the future.

Although the remodeled park's advantages may appear unclear at first glance -- "seven million dollars just to put in a little piece of sod?" wondered one onlooker -- careful study reveals that the money was well spent. A few of the more overlooked features:

State-of-the-art roving security robots automatically capture and clean the homeless before releasing them onto prairie out by DIA.

A secret underground parking complex housing a Batmobile and Batplane helps Mayor Hickenlooper fight downtown crime more effectively.

Non-sunken, street-level design allows tourists coming off the 16th Street Mall quicker access to heroin.

Added green space provides precious grazing ground for endangered LoDo bison.

Park's empty expanses include room for ten to fifteen life-sized statues of Wellington Webb.

Dynamic sightlines across flat, grassy knoll afford breathtaking views of beige, meaningless clusterfuck of middle-downtown buildings.

Electromagnetic alarm system emits ear-piercing, high-frequency whistle audible only to skateboarders.

Groups of teenage transients have been replaced by more aesthetically pleasing decorative planters. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

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