Setting up a “parklet” modeled on the Plaza Grande, a mother-daughter team in Denver celebrated Yucatán. Passersby got free paletas.
It was all part of Friday’s Park(ing) Day, a national movement that started in San Francisco in 2005 to snatch street parking for one day a year.
“We invited community members to get creative and demonstrate what they’d like to see that space used for,” said Jill Locantore of Denver Streets Partnership, which co-sponsored the event.
One parklet became a tiny skateboard ramp, another became a puppy giveaway center. But Alejandra Castañeda and her 11-year-old daughter had a different thought.
“Where I grew up in Mérida, in the Yucatán, in Mexico, they have the Plaza Grande, which is the big plaza, and we thought, ‘Oh, let’s do a Plaza Chica, a small plaza,’ ” Alejandra Castañeda told Denverite.
Among other things, they made sillas de los enamorados, also known as confidentes or tú y yo, those iconic park seats which are connected at the armrest to face each other. They brought books about Mérida, strung up some decorative papeles picados, wore clothes from the Yucatán, and gave out ice pops just like you’d see vendors selling in the real Plaza Grande.
“Sometimes people are familiar with Cancún, and the more touristy areas, but not necessarily the bigger cities like Mérida,” Castañeda said.