Friday, December 19, 2008

Transit Plaza. Always Interesting.

In the heart of downtown Kansas City at 10th and Main, there's the Kemper Memorial fountain. It's the one in the background of my profile photo. It's surrounded by what's colloquially known as the the Transit Plaza. It's a major hub for bus transfers.

It's probably the most eclectic (but not diverse) part of town. From the bizarre to the banal, people of all walks of life use the bus. People who are on their way to or from other parts of town spend time here. Homeless people hang out here, and usually get ushered along by the so-called "bees" - yellow and black-suited workers.

Tuesday, I saw a knock-down, drag-out brawl between a girl and what used to be her boyfriend. The bees swooped in and broke it up, but it was right in the middle of the street.

Today, I was talking to a guy from Lawrence (home of KU) who wants to make films. He's moving to NYC to go to school. His friend John was talking to us too, and says there's too many damn white people in Lawrence. John's originally from Harlem, currently residing on the streets and in shelters here in KCMO. I guess they both want to go to New York. I always meet interesting folks at the Transit Plaza.

Then there's this. Some guy just passed out at a bus stop (in the Transit Plaza proper, I was actually across the street). I didn't get the whole story, so I won't guess why he passed out. A bee radioed for help, as you can see in the photo.

A curious bystander looks on. Adults on 20" BMX bikes aren't an uncommon site out here.

Stretcher. Okay, so I'm a little voyeuristic.

I totally dug the firefighter's Santa hat, though.

I made a little fire of my own when I got home. I love winter.


Apertome said...

Looks a little like Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, same kinda thing. People waiting for buses and chain smoking, mostly. Lots of vagrants. Even the BMX bikes are the same -- probably 80% of the people I see on bikes here are on BMX bikes. No idea why.

Pat Ring said...

I worked in that building right across the street, Commerce Towers. One of the bus drivers would arrive early for his route and play the saxophone and I could often hear it from my office, or when I was on the roof-top tennis court of the fitness club in the older Commerce building. I always brought my lunch to work (when I was commuting downtown) and sitting outside the Commerce building, watching the transit area, was always a good change of pace to sitting at my desk eating. I have my theory about the BMX bikes. They are cheap and plentiful at Wal Mart, and I suspect they end up in the garbage at many low-income housing areas either during transit, eviction, or theft, and then they make their way to the streets from the garbage. I ride by one area in Alka Seltzer Springs where 100s of bikes sit outside a facility of some sort (it may be a half-way house.) I'm not sure if they are being repaired for resale or charity, or if they are being scrapped, but it looks like the majority are BMX bikes, too. I recently saw what appeared to be a vagrant pushing all of his worldly belongings strapped to the front and back of a chrome Bianchi Pista. I couldn't really tell how skilled he was as a rider, but a fixie with all of that stuff and no brakes? Maybe he never actually rode the bike. Good pics.

amidnightrider said...

The guy complaining about too many white people should check out Charlotte NC. My son and I were at the bus depot there and were the only white people in the crowd of hundreds.
After an hour of waiting, we looked at the schedule with more scrutiny and realized our bus does not run on Sunday.

Anonymous said...


Makes me redouble my efforts to stay out of large cities.

Not my cup of tea at all.

I wonder how much of our tax money will pay for that dudes trip to the hospital?

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