Aspen sells out
I miss Aspen. The town where my great-grandfather co-built the first building. The town where my grandfather skijored down Main Street. The town where my parents met. The town where I was born and went to grade school.
When I was a child, Aspen was a small mountain town where people came to visit but ended up finding a way to stay. It was a place of independence, ingenuity and laissez-faire; Aspen was a town that changed your life plan. Mostly I remember puffy down vests with a sunrise on the back.
I’ve been gone from Aspen for a long time but according to the headlines, Aspen is gone. All my favorite restaurants have closed: Pinocchio’s, the Steak Pit, La Cocina. Local dive bars are disappearing faster than a hometown preacher in a whorehouse raid: Roaring Fork Tavern, Cooper Street, Bentley’s. And now the Hotel Jerome closes for a lavish private party given by an alleged Wall Street thief. During Wintersköl. Beyond tacky.
Jeffrey Verschleiser is accused of triple-dipping to the tune of millions of dollars and the foreclosure of countless families’ homes. Where is Jim Blanning when we need him? Or Hunter S. Thompson? While I miss my hometown, I no longer want to return, because the town of Aspen that I know and love is gone.
Nowadays you’re more likely to see a pride of cougars in fur coats walking down Main Street than three activists.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.