Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Your Keys to the City - Denver

First impressions on arriving in Denver, Colorado are that it is a very friendly and very clean city.  After spending seven days in the city for the ISTE conference we can confirm it truly is. We only saw graffiti once as we drove out of town.  It has a fantastic climate, good shopping in the centre of town, good eateries and every place we went to had New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the menu :)  Denver is one of those places in the world that you leave knowing that one day it would be good to come back.
It is a city that is easy to navigate - the regular layout of the streets meant even the most geographically challenged (me) could find their way with ease.  And the public transport was great.  We tried it all; taxi, airport shuttle, bike, horse and gig, free shuttle buses and city buses.  All the drivers were helpful and waited patiently while kiwis fumbled with correct change.  This is a welcome change when you are a tourist.

One of the special delights of the city was the Your Keys to the City programme in the main street - 16th Street mall.  10 pianos were left out 24/7 for passers bye to sit down and entertain the foot traffic.  And these were no ordinary pianos.  They all were hand painted by local artists. 

"Ten uniquely painted upright pianos can be found along the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver for one month starting May 21st. They are part of a seasonal program called "Your Keys to the City" created by the Downtown Denver Partnership. The concept is designed to encourage those in center city to interact with their public spaces in new and spontaneous ways while contributing to the vibrancy within our urban core! "

We presumed one of the reasons the city was so clean was the large number of people employed to clean up after people and horses. It certainly wasn't the police presence because we hardly saw any.  It was surprising then that there seemed to be so many homeless people and people asking for money.  Although it was pretty constant it never felt threatening.  The major drawback was the complete lack of iPads to be bought in the city.  People owned them and were using them everywhere we turned, but they proved impossible to buy. Fortunately we had better luck in Cleveland!