Odd and interesting sightings at ASA
1. I just caught the beginning of the Sunday night sociology jam session and I think it is a great idea. The president of the ASA started it out on the fiddle and it is nice to see some other creative outlets at the conference beyond papers and talks.
2. At a reception on Sunday night, I had a chance to sample some local cuisine: fried buffalo oysters. I believe they often go by another name: Rocky Mountain oyster. Not bad taste but a little squishy.
3. I really liked the meeting spaces and site overall. Both the Hyatt and Convention Center were spacious but not too large (as convention centers can sometimes be). And it was a plus to not have to compete with all of the slot machines and gambling like in Las Vegas last August.
4. Denver has some cool features. While there are some tall buildings, there is a lot of lower density space near these buildings including the Mall, a thriving pedestrian only (plus free public buses from one end of the street to the other) thoroughfare, and LoDo. This gave the area an intimate feel and there were plenty of people on the street both Saturday and Sunday nights. The weather is also great and consistently being able to see the mountains is a bonus.
5. One complaint: no rail service from the newer (and quite nice) airport to downtown. Riding the buses were not bad but a dedicated rail system, which one local publication said was to be completed in 2016, would be an upgrade. I wonder if ASA should only go to big cities that have such mass transit connecting the airport to the meeting location.
6. The airport is modern and spacious. It puts older airports, like Midway, to shame.
7. I noticed a board on the first floor of the Convention Center that added up the attendees by categories (faculty, grad students, etc.). If my quick math was correct, the total attendance was about 4,800. Is this down from previous years and if so, why? Is Denver not the same kind of attraction as New York (the site of next year’s meetings) or San Francisco? Are travel budgets tighter this year?
8. I like public art so I enjoyed seeing the bear looking into the Convention Center:
What’s wrong with including a little whimsy into public settings?