What does your personal map of Denver look like? Mine includes Paris on the Platte, circa 2000, back when it had an adjoining bookshop instead of an adjoining wine shop, and the café was filled with goths, punks, nerds, and the scent of clove cigarettes.
For those of you newer to Denver, Paris on the Platte once occupied the building that now houses Carbon Café & Bar. Paris went through multiple transformations during its three decades at 1553 Platte St. And even though my Paris was gone long before the business closed in 2015, I still think of my version whenever I walk down that block.
Everyone living in Denver, natives and transplants alike, is living in his or her own highly personalized version of the city. These other Denvers are built from our memories and our routines, and they are the inspiration for this issue, our second “Invisible City” guide.
Five Denver VOICE vendors contributed to our city guides this year. Armand and Devora Casazza helped create our walking tour of Five Points. In addition to being vendors, Armand and Devora are also married, and their map of Denver is layered with their love story. At the heart of it is the place they met: the Lawrence Street Community Center, a day center just around the corner from the Denver Rescue Mission. Some of the spots on their tour are landmarks that will be more familiar to people experiencing homelessness, but their lives aren’t entirely centered around emergency shelters and food pantries. They’re big fans of the street art in Denver, and they listed their favorite mural as one of the spots on their tour. Devora also loves the Mercury Café, and, like many other Denver residents, they both enjoy the parks.
City guides and walking tours are helpful for residents who want to define a place, and they’re a great way for visitors to learn about a place. We like to use our annual tour guide to help both locals and tourists consider the diverse people who make up a place. In presenting these tours to you, we’re asking you to step into someone else’s shoes in order to experience the city as they do. It’s something we believe is a truly worthwhile endeavor. ■