You’d swear something this mind-numbing was satire… it is not.
Thursday, 1 p.m.: 186 whites, 1 black, 4 Latinos, 4 Asians.
Friday, 6 p.m.:647 whites, 6 blacks, 6 Latinos, 7 Asians
Saturday, 11 p.m.:693 whites, 4 blacks, 2 Latinos, 7 Asians.
It’s dangerous to assign race to people simply by glancing at their faces. Some people don’t look at all like their race. Many people are a mix.
But if my recent counts of people in the restaurants, bars and shops in and around Denver’s rehabbed, reopened Union Station are even close, it’s an overwhelmingly white place. How can the new cultural jewel of our city — where 47 percent of the population is minority — draw a crowd that is 98.2 percent Caucasian on a bustling, buzzed Saturday night?
The station’s owner, the Regional Transportation District, worked long and hard to develop a city center that would reflect and showcase Denver’s particular personality. None of the eateries are chains; the beers are Colorado-brewed. The architects, builders and programmers who turned the original 1914 building into a contemporary social hub are nearly all local.
But walking through the station, it doesn’t look at all like Denver in 2014. More like Denver in 1950. More like Boise, Idaho, or Billings, Mont. This is a public place, owned by all of us, open to all, but the invitation to visit was declined by many, and it’s obvious who isn’t showing up. […]
Three months in, the place hums early and late. The Crawford Hotel on the top floors is a hit, and the best 8 p.m. restaurant tables are gone weeks in advance. A few years ago, the station was a ghost town. Now it is wildly popular, and in many ways, a smashing success.
If, that is, you are white and not paying attention. Or if you think diversity doesn’t matter. If you do, you can’t help but feel like something is off amidst all the clinking of martini glasses in the swank Cooper Lounge on the mezzanine, or the low hum of pucks sliding across shuffleboard tables in the Great Hall.