Denmark’s most iconic street, Istedgade in Vesterbo, was transformed into a pedestrian street of all-out entertainment on Saturday to celebrate the conclusion of regeneration work that has been going on over the past year and, on a larger scale, a gentrification that started back in the 1990s. The party started at 3pm as Vesterbro’s residents, many of whom are now middle class parents with little kids and strollers (instead of blue collar workers with mild drink problems), came out to enjoy the amusements in the sunshine along with coffee and homemade cake sold at improvised stands.
Activities were laid on especially for the children as sailors, clowns, magicians and stilt-walkers generated laughs and smiles from the little ones, who looked on amazed at the spectacle. Two hours later, the crowd had changed as youngsters gathered to enjoy music played by several bands in different corners of the street, while they drank beer or wine bought from the local Netto or the bars nearby – an echo of its past as a destination for hedonists and hellraisers. But by 9pm, with the sun gone and the cold starting to bite, the street started to empty, returning slowly to normal – by 2015 standards at any rate.