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Denver can certainly lay claim to some unique and yes, sometimes, wacky transportation features. I’ll share some of them in this categorized article. You should know that most of these will be in current or future Wacky Denver listings.
Many folks may not know that Henry Barnes started some traffic innovations right here in Denver. The first is known as the “Barnes Dance”. It’s when at an intersection all traffic lights turn red and pedestrians are given the opportunity to cross at any angle, or even do a little dance if they like.
Barnes also synchronized traffic lights so that if you’re driving at an optimal speed, and traffic allows, you can go through a long string of green signals. If traffic conditions are right, you can still experience this on Speer Boulevard, Broadway, and some other numbered streets downtown.
A less welcome traffic-stopping device was born here in Denver…
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The Equitable building in downtown Denver has a beautiful lobby and it's a great example of Renaissance architecture. That alone warrants a visit. But if you look up, way up, to the top of the building you'll see what looks like vomiting (or spitting?) lions. So, look up Denver, you never know what you'll see up there in the sky or on a building.
There are quite a few rooftop pools in Denver but none, that I know of, that have a tall glass window into them. This new apartment building should provide opportunities for people to crane their necks as they look up at swimmers looking down. Not sure who will be the exhibitionists here.
I love the varied sounds of a city. These wacky samples are from RTD buses. The first two are announcements from onboard. The automated announcer turns Wynkoop street into a hiccup and Stout sounds like a question being asked with a slight inflection.
Not to be outdone, you can now hear a science-fictiony sound loop emanating from the front of the electric buses on the 16th Street mall. Here's what it sounds like:
At Forest Room 5 you're surrounded by wood and trees. Inside the tables and bar surround you with the warm vibe of wood. You'll feel like you landed in Portland OR. Old films from the Criterion collection play behind the bar, and there's even a book vending machine. Yes, a book vending machine. Outside there are trees, a creek, a teepee , a watchful deer, and campfires to warm yourself by on a chilly evening. Hiking boots are optional.
Got writer’s block? This place might help. Poet’s Row is a group of historic art deco style apartment buildings along the 1000 through 1200 blocks of Sherman Street. The buildings are named for poets and other American writers. Most of the buildings were designed by Charles Strong who was a really interesting guy too. Walking on these blocks offers great photo ops and might even inspire you. Nothing beats being a poet.
Who doesn't love a cowboy in pajamas? The 3 ton, 20 foot tall sculpture at 1725 Champa Street has admirers and detractors. That's abstract art for you, and art that sparks conversations. This, western-inspired, painted bronze sculpture was created by Sean O'Meallie. Its placement near the Renaissance Hotel harks back to when there was an annual pajama fundraiser held there. Perhaps now someone will start a photo collection of pajama-clad people posing with the sculpture. We could feature that on Wacky Denver!
There are three kinetic sculptures in the lobby of Denver Public Schools' Emily Griffith Campus in Downtown Denver, which is open to the public. The art is by John King of Lyons, CO. While you are in the lobby, you can also check out the wood sculptures by Ted Esselstyn.
Since Denver is the Mile High City, it is only right that you can stand on a Mile High step on the state capital steps. Just climb the main staircase on the west side of the capital until you see the plaque. You might also notice that the plaque has been moved over the years.
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