We’ve been living in our little house in Denver’s Cole neighborhood for 8 years now, which is kind of crazy because I haven’t lived anywhere for that long aside from my parents’ house. The neighborhood has changed a lot since we moved here, and it feels like things are starting to get a little crazy.
I think the normal course of a neighborhood’s transition often goes something like this:
Hood –> Hipsterville –> Yuppieland
I am, as you may know due to my well-documented hatred of the Highlands (Denver) and Lincoln Park (Chicago), not a fan of Yuppieland (ever, but especially not when cute little old houses are torn down and replaced by behemoth hideous duplexes). I’m fine with Hood and okay with Hipsterville, as long as it’s not getting too dangerously close to Yuppieland. I like my neighborhood to be diverse and have a little grit, a little edge.
I think Cole qualified as a little hoody when we moved here. We lived through years of car break-ins, burglaries, gang graffiti, and gunshots and murders. (This all still happens, but not as often.) We used to play “gunshots or fireworks” all summer. Still, the only times I really thought about moving were when a completely innocent man who had nothing to do with anything was killed a block from our house and when we heard a spray of gunfire that was so close to our house we saw people running in terror and I had to call the police.
Since then, a house on our block was featured on an episode of House Hunters and our hood was described as the “up and coming Denver neighborhood of City Park” (it’s totally not City Park). Houses have been fixed and flipped and sold for, well, a lot if you ask me (a fan of paying as little for a house as reasonably possible). That said, it’s been a slow process.
But it seems to be speeding up. A house on our block was just fixed up and put on the market for, well, a lot if you ask me, and two or three days later there are already people checking out the house and asking us about the neighborhood. In the Whittier neighborhood, which is just south of and fancier than Cole, houses are flying off the market.
So here’s the deal. If you want to move to Cole, you should probably do it now. My recommendation would be to buy a house that hasn’t been fixed up but that you can live with for a while — this way, you can still get a good deal and might enjoy some appreciation (not that we can count on it any more).
Why would you want to move to Cole? Well, it’s awesome — but you should only move here if you’re awesome. It’s pretty chill and close enough to cool stuff without being too much in the middle of it. Of course, it’s no Baker, where you can roll out of bed and walk into a bar. (The thing with Baker, though, is that everybody is talking about how it’s the hipster neighborhood in Denver, which, as far as I’m concerned, means it’s no longer the hipster neighborhood in Denver. I mean, it was pretty cool when we lived there back in 2004 . . . sorry, I’m the tedious asshole who always likes to tell you about how I lived in X hipster neighborhood before it was hip. Don’t ever ask me about Wicker Park/Bucktown.) But it is close enough for you to walk to all the cool shit over on the other side of Downing, like Epic, Our Mutual Friend, Black Shirt, Walnut Room, and the vegan market, while still living in a legit, non-industrial neighborhood that doesn’t smell like festering animal carcass where you can have a cute little house with a cute little yard instead of an expensive loft. It’s diverse and friendly and laid back without being boring. You’re like two minutes from downtown and within 10 minutes of pretty much everything you’ll ever need. The schools aren’t the best, but if you’re a young hipster you don’t care and there’s always the possibility of choicing in somewhere else. Starbucks hasn’t found us yet.
The thing with hipster neighborhoods is nobody knows they’re hipster neighborhoods yet. So don’t tell anyone about Cole. It’ll be our secret.