It was a quintessentially Denver mashup: On May 30, party-goers who'd left Happiness HQ, a new gathering place for Happy City Denver, moved over to the Poka Lola Social Club patio along the Alley at the Dairy Block to continue getting social. Suddenly, bicyclists started coming through the space. It was the first Denver Cruiser Ride of the season, and while surprised security guards tried telling the riders that the Dairy Block alley was now private and that bikes were not allowed, they kept coming.
Ultimately, the guards let the riders go through (they continued a loop through LoDo and downtown, then ended the night at the RiNo Beer Garden). And the party-goers continued partying, wondering what had just happened.
So did one rider, apparently. Says Dr.soul:
I don't remember riding thru the Dairy Block. But then, I don't remember much from that night.
This is another of the crap gatherings that are safe for white people to do loudly, drunkenly and in that obtrusive way you do! Y’all ruined the Highlands, HiLo LoDo LoHi FU.
OMG, bicyclist drama!! How dare somebody ride a bicycle through a public area! And a landlord filed a dum-dum-dum P E R M I T ?!?!!!
Wow. I wanna buy an alley for a mere 1300 bucks.
Then there's this from Denver Cruiser Ride:
Looks like people on scooters and bicycles are the new ENEMY #1. Did you all read their Code of Conduct? Is Denver the new Boulder? May as well have just included “whites only.”
Nothing the drunken Denver Cruiser Ride says to be taken seriously.
But you can take the first words on the Dairy Block website seriously. They promise "a celebration of artful and unexpected experience," and this mashup certainly qualified.
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Happiness HQ, in a corner of the Dairy Block at 1855 Blake Street, is full of artful experiences. In addition to spots where people can make art, the space sports a series of original Stuart Semple paintings, an inflatable dance floor and a plush-toy dive-in pool. It will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through June 20.
The Alley, which is still adding art and shops, is designed for more permanent fun. Dairy Block developers paid an initial $1,000 in processing fees, as well as a $300 legal description review fee and $300 ordinance fee to vacate the alley, according to Nancy Kuhn, spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Public Works. "When the city vacates an alley, the city is no longer responsible for its maintenance, so I think it could be argued there is more of a savings than a cost," she writes in an email.
The Denver Cruiser Rides will continue through the summer; themes and routes vary. (See our slideshow on the May 30 ride, dubbed "Shades of Gray," here.)
What do you think of the Dairy Block? The Denver Cruiser Ride? Post a comment or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.