You can count — but you don’t have to.
The piano walk outside the newly renovated main entrance of the Riverside Hotel in Garden City has 88 “keys,” just like a real piano.
Fans of the 1988 movie “Big” may have an urge to dance on the piano walk like Tom Hanks. That’s OK but watch for cars — and don’t expect the keys to light up or play music.
Never miss a local story.
These keys are made of granite.
“We tried to make this keyboard as authentic as possible,” said Riverside General Manager Kathy Pidgeon, who has worked at the hotel for 30 years.
Those who wish piano walk was more interactive can check out a keyboard that will be part of a splash pad next to a second pool that’s in the ongoing renovation plans for the hotel, said Kristen Jensen, part of the investors group Riverside Hospitality, which purchased the hotel in 2011.
Music and water are two big themes at the Riverside, which has been upgrading its main entrance since March. Renovations were wrapped up in mid-September, and a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the new additions was held Tuesday.
“The outside of the hotel did not do justice for the inside of the hotel,” Pidgeon said of the Riverside, which has an enormous chandelier in its elegant lobby.
The 300-room hotel was built over a 2.5-year period, starting in 1969, Jensen said.
The Riverside’s owners and management didn’t just make the entrance grander by adding eye-catching new accoutrements like the piano walk and several fountains. The new porte-cochere, or covered entrance, is significantly taller than the previous one.
The previous covered entrance was too low for buses and other vehicles to drive or park under at the front door. That caused some practical problems.
“Some thought they could get underneath, until they pulled underneath and got stuck,” Pidgeon said. “We actually had to flatten the tires on a U-Haul one day. That was all kinds of fun for the driver, I’m sure.”
The hotel’s musical theme is also reflected in some new musical-note-shaped bicycle and paddle board racks installed along the Greenbelt. Pidgeon said customers can easily paddle up, park their boards and dine at the Sandbar.
For bicyclists, they’ve installed a bike repair station. They also put in a water station for both pedestrians and their dogs.
“The Riverside is very pet friendly,” Pidgeon said. “We encourage everyone to bring their pets. Our chef even makes homemade dog biscuits.”