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Memories of Larimer Square–and other places

The other day I was thinking about how important the businesses in Larimer Square were to me in the mid- to late seventies. I mostly frequented the Flick, an “art” movie house; Josephina’s Pizza/Italian Food; and the Magic Pan (crepes). Other than LS, the streets were really quiet and pretty scary at night.

Saw at least two great films at the Flick by Jacques Tati and Vittorio da Sica at the Flick (“Playtime” and “A Brief Vacation”). It was a place a young woman could go alone, even take a bus there from Capital Hill.

There was little to hang your hat on elsewhere in downtown Denver. For a short time period I swam and took yoga at the YWCA (torn down in the 1980’s). Sometimes the Oxford had some good music (Norman and Nancy Blake, for example)–was it in the “Booze-Wazee” Room? I rarely went to Ebbets Field for music; the Folklore Center on E. 17th Ave. was of much greater interest. Couldn’t afford Top of the Rockies restaurant. Occasionally shopped in May D&F bargain basement and the Denver. There was a food co-op on California Street in an old Safeway building that essentially got put out of business by the Rainbow Grocery, a production of Guru Maharaj Ji’s people on East Colfax. Some of the same people who brought us Pearl St. Market in Boulder and also drove out a food co-op, and later the Alfalfa’s/Wild Oats empire.

One other business stands out: Cafe Nepenthes, on Market Street. A coffeehouse/restaurant with a wholesome, welcoming atmosphere. I often went there alone. Occasionally I even stopped at the White Spot for coffee! But only after photographing in the railroad yards.

Having lived around Harvard Square earlier in the seventies, it was hard to get a handle on Denver. Cambridge had everything: coffee, food, books, photography stores, movies, evening classes, music–all within a few square blocks. Walkable. Lots of people on the street, particularly women. Don’t forget the muffins…

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