Sunday, December 09, 2007

Out of Touch

It's been six days since I updated this? Wow. I swear that it wasn't because of my shame over recycling an old post. I've just been busy. Really busy. I'm not even paying attention to hockey -- until Milan Hejduk scored six points tonight, I could not have told you anything that's happened in my favorite sport in, oh, a week and a half.

Meanwhile, a week or so late, I'm just now finding out that Tom's Tavern is closing. Not sure why this hits me so hard -- I probably went to Tom's fewer than 10 times my last Boulder go-round -- but geez, it's another Boulder institution closing down. Tom's Tavern was there forever (my parents were teenagers when it opened). It was there when the Pearl Street Mall opened, it was there when I moved to Boulder, it was there when I went away, there when I moved back, there when I moved away again.

Now it's gone, following a string of Boulder landmarks (Crossroads, Stage House) into oblivion. Such is life. It just makes me a bit sad. I've been insanely homesick for Boulder lately, and somehow, the demise of a place that barely registered on my radar makes it a bit worse.


Tapeleg said...

When they say you can never go back, this is part of what they mean, and Boulder is a perfect example of that. The amount of landmarks that have gone away in the city is staggering and completely changed the feel of the city. Boulder is never going to be the same happy-go-lucky place it used to be.

Crossroads? How about the L.A. Diner? Or Penny Lane Coffee? Or the Harvest restaurant? Or Rocky Mountain Records and Tapes? Or the old Time Warp Comics?

From the time I was bicycling the diagonal between Longmont and Boulder in my teens, 'til I built the new KBCO studios over Mike's Camera on Folsom and Pearl in 1994, the city changed so much. And in the last ten years, the city has gone through another massive change. Most of the nice little kitschy shops that gave the town flavor are gone now, with "Big Box" taking over. The Pearl Street Mall certainly isn't what it used to be.

I personally blame the high priced housing market. Those who could afford the rising real estate don't want to shop in "Joan's Hippy-Dippy Shop." They want their Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Borders. They don't want that small used book store, or Rocky Mountain Records and Tapes, they want to shop like everywhere else. They want to see their movies in a 24-plex, rather than a single theater with character (I used to see Rocky Horror at the Regency theater off pearl. Yes, I'm old)

In a way, it amazes me that places like McGuckins Hardware are able to survive in a town that tore down the Crossroads Mall to make way for a Home Depot. Or that the Brewing Market is still around, considering the voracious appetite Starbucks Coffee has as it consumes local shop after shop. The Hill still has it's local flavor, but nobody goes there anymore. Did Boulderites turn their backs on the places that gave Boulder it's unique flavor?

I would be amused to walk around the city with Jello Biafra, and listen to what he had to rant about. That city will never produce another one of him.

I really miss the Boulder of my youth. I miss the fun and interesting places you could find around the corner that you never knew was there. Looking at the places that are still around, like the Army Surplus store on Pearl sitting across the street from the brand new Borders and bd's Mongolian Barbecue, serves the reminder of how fragile those things are.

sidenote: the word verification for this comment is "sucfz" Yes, it does sucfz. It truly sucfz.

gsdgsd13 said...

Yeah, in retrospect Crossroads wasn't the best example -- it was just in my head because of a discussion with another ex-Boulderite about its decline and fall. All of those you mention are much better examples; I'd add in JJ McCabe's and Wax Trax.

There's a few places that I'm amazed have made it this far, and I'm constantly afraid that I'll return and find them gone -- Albums on the Hill, Boulder Book Store, even the Naropa Institute.

Echoing your last paragraph -- I used to walk around the Pearl area as a kid, and yeah, you could just wander in and out of offbeat places. Now most of them are gone.

tapeleg said...

Crossroads wasn't a bad example. It had it's place, and while it could be seen as the corporate store starting the takeover of Boulder, it never seemed to do so. It just seemed to sit comfortably next to the local shops. It seems odd, but then again, it came around before the Big Box store wave, and Target was already there, so maybe it was just what the town needed.

Wax Trax. Talk about a place that had it's hey-day. That place just went to hell in a handbasket. The one in Denver has been crap for a lot longer than the death of the music store. The internet didn't kill Wax Trax, they did it to themselves.

At least Boulder Book Store is still there, but the upstairs isn't so hot. The first floor is what to go in for these days. Of course, the majority of Boulder strollers agree, so the place is packed.

JJ McCabes? The place underground? I can't remember it. Was it next to the arcade? Speaking of which, remember when there were 2 arcades on the PSM?

gsdgsd13 said...

Agreed on the Boulder Book Store - the fiction section is lacking these days (though the BBS's remainder table is always so much more interesting than any other bookstore's). Love their travel section, and wish daily that I could transplant the Bookends Cafe.

I think JJ McCabe's was over on Walnut, actually. It appeared in Mork & Mindy -- later became Pasta Jay's (maybe?) and Woody's Wood-Fired Pizza (definitely), not sure what it is now.

I only remember one arcade - I want to say it was next to the Haagen-Dazs, but may have been down by Left Hand Books (which appears to still be there)... my memory is fading. I spent a lot of money there, though.

One of my recent trips there, I kinda dug the Republic of Boulder (where the Oasis and Elephant Bar used to be). It seemed like (despite flaws) it was trumpeting Boulder's differences. It also had pretty much no customers and seemed doomed.

Ice Cream Jonsey said...

I love the local businesses in Boulder. Sad to see another one close shop.

Greg, you're not coming back to CO this Christmas, are you? We're staying here instead of flying back to NY, so I totally understand.

gsdgsd13 said...

I'm actually coming back for just a couple days -- the schedule's gonna be pretty tight as it's my one time a year to see my brother and his wife, but I'll shoot you and Vitriola a note shortly.