Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cities Part 4b: Return to Kansas City

I traveled to Kansas City last winter and wrote a post about it despite spending less than 48 hours in the city. So when I returned there last week, I figured it was worth a brief follow up travel post.

The first thing of note is that in the 6 days I have spent in Kansas City in my life, I have been there for near record highs and near record lows. It was 109 on Wednesday and was well into the negative double digits when I visited in February. That is a 120 degree swing. I left an apple in my car on Wednesday and when I came back it was literally baked. Which was delicious – I love baked apples. I’m just sayin…

But Kansas City really is a surprisingly fun place…with enough stuff for a second (mostly picture) post.

I was teaching a joint sediment workshop with another sediment specialist. His material included a field day at the Blue River.

This was an urban river which was the site of the biggest civil war battle west of the Mississippi (adding archeological issues to the standard economic, statistical, hydrological, hydraulic and ecological complexities). There are severe flooding and channel degradation issues[1] and we did some cool hydro-geotech testing.

I went running at night when it cooled to a mere 96 degrees. Usually I ran along Brush Creek, which has a really nice running trail along it and is surrounded by classic hotels and one of the higher end shopping and cultural districts. There is even a gondola.

But my last day in town, I went running early in the morning

around the World War I museum.[2]

I also made it to a Royals Game. I love going to ballparks. Especially nice ones. And Kaufman field is a really nice one.

One of the reason I enjoy going to sporting events when visiting a city, is that it is one of the few things you can do with 20,000 to 40,000 of the cities inhabitants. It is a social experience of the place. Unfortunately, the Royals are terrible…only they are better than the hapless Orioles who they were playing…so 20,000 Kansas Cityans is a little on the generous side.

But there was a hilarious moment. Before the game teams often play a montage of the team highlights. So before the game they flashed up this graphic on the big screen.[3]

I thought it was hilarious that they would call their highlight reel ‘Major League Moments’ as if that is the best they can hope for. Even better, they left the screen up there for about 3 minutes…and then just took it down. No highlights. Apparently, the Royals were not even able to clear the bar of moments that seem characteristic of the Major Leagues.

Then there was this building.

I heard a rumor that it was the building used for the climactic scene of Ghostbusters. I didn’t bother to verify this, because it seems like the sort of thing that makes a better story in rumor form. But that is pretty cool and highlights the eclectic nature of Kansas City architecture.

This post was written while listening to the Mumford and Sons channel on Pandora

[1] It also runs through the zoo, near the ‘Lagoons of Africa’ which led to a number of jokes about it being a unique ‘habitat enhancement’ project…for hippos.
[2] At the base of the tower is a mural that I found pretty moving, with soldiers and civilians, some antagonistic, others battered by war, all converging on a strong angelic figure in the center and four verses from the Bible:

“Behold a pale horse and his name that sat on him was death and hell followed with him.”
“Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders.”
“What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”
“Then shall the earth yield her increase and God even our own God shall bless us.”

[3] Apparently it was the biggest screen in the country until the cowboys put their monstrosity in.


Joel said...

I know where the final scene of "Ghostbusters" was filmed, because that's the kind of useless trivia I absorb, but I will refrain from confirming or denying since the story is more entertaining as a rumor.

stanford said...

Thanks for playing along, Joel. :)