Whenever I’m in Boulder these days I play a game called ‘What Usta Be There?’ The game goes you drive or walk around town passing things and try to remember what usta be in their place, such as…
The Terrapin Station where my girlfriend had to pick up her medication today used to be a donut shop, and I’d get a glazed or sprinkle donut there every time I went to do my laundry next door.
There didn’t usta be any pot shops. But there did usta be some gourmet ‘hot’ donut place at Folsom&Arapahoe. That didn’t last long, and now it’s a Tibetan restaurant.
Across the street is Rincon del Sol, which usta be an ill-fated combination Mexican/Italian restaurant called Mexitalian. Before that it was Turley’s, which is now on 28th&Pearl where an old TGI Friday’s was.
Those chain places are always changing here. Like the old Applebee’s is now Trader Joe’s, and the Chili’s became Baker Street Pub, which is now a mattress place. I don’t know what happened to Olive Garden.
See the game can be hard, even tho I’ve only been here 12 and a half years.
Back then people usta go to video stores all the time. I usta go to the Video Station. It’s now on Arapahoe towards 55th, but it usta be on 28th Street, where a furniture place took its place.
There were once three Blockbuster videos in town. The one on Arapahoe is now a breakfast place, the one on 28th is a lingerie store, and they haven’t put in anything to replace the Baseline one. They do that sometimes, and it makes you think, wouldn’t they rather have a bad business there instead of nothing at all?
There’s currently nothing at all where the Savers was on Table Mesa&Broadway; it’s all boarded up now.
Next door to that was Theatrical Costumes, which is now at 30th&Baseline. Don’t remember what was there before. The owner of Theatrical told me he hadta move cuz they jacked up the rent suddenly on him. In his old place is a new ice cream place called Sweet Cow. They must make tremendously good ice cream to afford the jacked up rent.
Tom Peters told me the same thing happened to him. His Beat Book Shop hadta move from Pearl&17th to Pearl&Broadway in the spot where the old Left-Hand Bookstore usta be. Some kind of high end piercing place took over Tom’s old space, which is next door to the Laughing Goat where he hosts the poetry open mic every Monday. They usta do the mic at Penny Lane until it was forced to become a bicycle store. Tom’s been here since the 80s. He’s way better at the Boulder Game than me.
Tom’s Tavern is still painted on the side of the building on 11th&Pearl, but it’s now Salt. My girlfriend and I laugh about all these new one word restaurants, like Oak, which usta be the 14th Street Bar and Grill.
Nearby was the Boulder Cafe, my favorite place cuz of their wings and 1/2 price all drinks (even top shelf) happy hour. Now I hear they have plans to make that a bank.
They made the old Gondolier space on 18th&Pearl a bank now. It’s now on Baseline, but first they hadta move to 16th&Pearl in the old Mongolian BBQ space. Now that’s called Lyfe kitchen, and life is spelled with a ‘y.’
Shine’s kitchen is all gluten free, which is good for me, but it usta be The Draft House, where my band Love Shovel once performed. Before that it was Red Fish which had a reggae night on Wednesdays. Next door is Bohemian Biergarten which usta to be a Cajun place called Shug’s and before that a dance club called Trilogy. I dated a superstitious woman once who told me businesses keep coming and going there because the block is cursed.
There must be lots of blocks in Boulder which are cursed, especially The Hill. 1301 Broadway is a new place called Lulu’s. There have been countless things before like The Goose, before that La Iguanas, and what was it before that? It’s right next to the place with the rooftop patio, now called Sancho’s, but it usta be K’s China, and they would serve triple shots, and there were always rumors of kids falling off the roof. Now StarWater Wednesdays does there open mic there, instead of 303 Vodka, which suddenly vanished. But look…
I’ve only been here for 12.5 years. I shouldn’t be playing this game yet, right?
The Buff usta be Original Pancake, usta be Black Eyed Peas, usta be Bennigans I think. The Best Western Golden Buff Hotel is now a giant hole.
Boulder Outlook Hotel is a giant hole too with a giant building being constructed on it. Super Eight became America’s Best Value Inn, then a hole, then luxury apartments.
Everything seems to call itself ‘luxury’ here now. All of North Boulder usta just be warehouses and a strip club. Now it’s full of luxury apartments. That one place on 28th next to Chey Tui Vietnamese restaurant was just a nice little blank space that made you go ‘ahh, blank space;’ now it’s luxury apartments. The Solana is at 30th&Pearl where there usta be a place to buy gravel called Cay Stone, and someone had spray painted the sign to say “Gay Stoner.” The Peloton, the mother of all boulder luxury complexes, I can’t fucking remember what was there before, but it’s a big complex so something big must’ve been there, right?
No one I know personally can afford to live in luxury apartments, and now they hafta live in the non luxury apartments in other towns, no matter how long they’d been in Boulder. But the people I know personally are mainly poets.
And me and Shana we’re in Westminster now. I got washed out of 5505 Valmont in The Flood, and then there was suddenly no other address I could afford in Boulder…
I come from Akron, Ohio, and nothing has changed there in the last 12.5 years. The Olive Garden is and will always be on West Market Street.
But here the Game is so hard; you just can’t keep up.
The Domino’s I worked at became a hookah joint and then nothing. The college bookstore became Walgreen’s. Jones Drugstore became Starbucks and luxury student housing. Espresso Roma became The Point Cafe. Which Which became a sushi place after their manager murdered someone. Albums on the Hill is somehow still hanging on. But how long til they get rid of it or the Smelly Deli? I hear they want to build a luxury St. Julian style hotel on The Hill to ‘spur’ the neighborhood economy. Am I missing anything? Oh yeah, the Burnt Toast became Cafe Aion, and…
Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe couldn’t afford a rent hike at 1203 13th St, so they hadta move across the street to Buchanan’s…
There’s more I know, but I don’t feel like playing anymore. The Boulder Game doesn’t really make me feel good. It makes me a little afraid. I’m afraid of things that won’t stop whether I want it to or not. It makes me wanna think of something that will never become something else. The Pearl Street Mall? The University of Colorado? The Flatirons? But who knows really…