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Best Of 2002

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Best Of :: People & Places

Best Building on the Endangered-Species List
Ocean Journey

Ocean Journey was just hours from going extinct when it was pulled back from the brink on April 1. Let's hope that Ocean Journey, the aquarium, survives bankruptcy, because Ocean Journey, the building, is a very fine structure that was conceived to the nth degree when it was built in 1999. Not only does it sport state-of-the-art technical features that support the wide array of aquatic life inside, but it also contains artwork specifically made for the place. Odyssea, a once-only collaboration between Anderson Mason Dale and RNL Design, two of the city's most respected architectural firms, designed the Platte Valley building. The principal designer was Ron Mason. His concept, a brick core partly surrounded by undulating steel and glass walls that form a grand porchlike atrium overlooking the Platte River, created a monumental presence that goes way beyond the structure's actual size. We fell for this building hook, line and sinker.

700 Water St., Denver, 80211
MAP
303-561-4450
Best Place to Sing "America the Beautiful"

Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen at 14,110 feet. Maybe it was the stunning view from the top of Colorado's most famous mountain. Whatever it was, something clicked in Katharine Lee Bates's brain on July 22, 1893. As she stood at the summit of Pikes Peak, and as a carriage carried her back to the bottom, she scribbled down the first lines of what would eventually become "America the Beautiful." Although not as well known as the national anthem, of course, the rousing song has made a major comeback since September 11; it's been sung since then at nearly every professional sporting event (in addition to the "Star-Spangled Banner") and other events of all kinds. But the best place to belt out the lyrics -- "O beautiful for spacious skies/For amber waves of grain/For purple mountain majesties/Above the fruited plain!/America! America!/God shed his grace on thee/And crown thy good with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea!" -- is amid the majesty of Pikes Peak itself, on the very spot that inspired those words.

Best Slogan for Georgetown

Westward ho! Bright lights, big titties! Come see her mountains! We put the strip in strip-mining! Georgetown: Where the scenery is on us, and the mayor is on you. Thanks to a mayor with a penchant for inflating both her stories and her breasts, Georgetown wound up in the media G-spotlight this past year. Stripper-turned-hairdresser-turned-mayor Koleen Brooks kept the old mining town hopping with her attempts to oust city officials, her admission of pot-smoking, her insistence that she'd been assaulted (CBI investigation to the contrary). But in the end, her antics were self-defeating and her career self-deflating, another in the series of endless boom-and-bust and boom-boom-and-bustline tales that abound in the West. The results of an April 2 recall election may keep things quiet in Georgetown for a while, but damn, it was fun while it lasted.


Best Slogan for Georgetown

Westward ho! Bright lights, big titties! Come see her mountains! We put the strip in strip-mining! Georgetown: Where the scenery is on us, and the mayor is on you. Thanks to a mayor with a penchant for inflating both her stories and her breasts, Georgetown wound up in the media G-spotlight this past year. Stripper-turned-hairdresser-turned-mayor Koleen Brooks kept the old mining town hopping with her attempts to oust city officials, her admission of pot-smoking, her insistence that she'd been assaulted (CBI investigation to the contrary). But in the end, her antics were self-defeating and her career self-deflating, another in the series of endless boom-and-bust and boom-boom-and-bustline tales that abound in the West. The results of an April 2 recall election may keep things quiet in Georgetown for a while, but damn, it was fun while it lasted.

Best Use for Ocean Journey

Denver's short on seafood restaurants, and Wynkoop Brewing Co. owner John Hickenlooper is long -- very long -- on lost causes. Could any cause be more lost than Ocean Journey's? If the place does tank -- and it's only barely keeping its head above water in bankruptcy court -- Hickenlooper could be the one to pull it up from the depths, turning the fried fish house into Long John Hickenlooper's, a restaurant where diners get to watch their favorite fish become the catch of the day. Come on, John, take the bait!


Best Use for Ocean Journey

Denver's short on seafood restaurants, and Wynkoop Brewing Co. owner John Hickenlooper is long -- very long -- on lost causes. Could any cause be more lost than Ocean Journey's? If the place does tank -- and it's only barely keeping its head above water in bankruptcy court -- Hickenlooper could be the one to pull it up from the depths, turning the fried fish house into Long John Hickenlooper's, a restaurant where diners get to watch their favorite fish become the catch of the day. Come on, John, take the bait!

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Best Building on the Endangered-Species List: Ocean Journey

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