Seems like just a few years ago there was a line that went forever to see a new movie on the Plaza…
It was the EXORCIST. I was so excited to see it I went to the early show. Got the last ticket available, and made my girlfriend see the later show with my brother. Big mistake, I was so shaken by the movie, when I got home alone I put my .38 handgun on the table in front of me. Just waiting for my cat to turn his head all the way around and – bam! – the cat gets it!
Yep, back in those days, a guy could walk to Volcker Park, hear a live band, smoke a joint – maybe even drop some acid. Have a nice fun little adventure, you know. Swing by Winstead‘s, get a cheeseburger, fries and a shake. Check out some hot babes in their mom’s convertible. Maybe get a phone number or two. Later that night – maybe after midnight – scoot down to one of those all night hot tea joints. More babes, more numbers, more music, more fun.
Never worried about DUI checkpoints – they didn’t exist. Or drive-by shootings. Worst thing you’d see was a fight now and then between long haired dudes over some hippie-looking chick.
Mothers on Main was brand new and the rumor was it was "mob" owned. So cool. Frank Sinatra Jr. was gonna open the joint, live. A new restaurant had opened on the Plaza called Houlihan‘s – lines to get in. They had to hire a doorman to check IDs and there were so many hotties. Talk of the town.
Summer dresses were everywhere. The smell of chlorine in the air from swimming pools. The Early ’70’s and Kansas City was on the move. The town was hopping.
Kansas City may have been the best kept secret in America.
The Royals opened a stadium club. Nice. And they were one of baseball’s best young ball clubs. By 1975, Westport was happening with new spots like THE NEW STANLEY and STANFORD AND SONS. Smell that flower pot bread right next to the old Manor Bakery.
Yes sir, there was alot to do and there were smiles on people’s faces.
We all had something to look forward to. If you had a college degree, you had a chance for a good job, ground level. Got an idea for a new business? With a good plan you had a shot to borrow some money and get it started. It was all happening, right here. Right in our home town.
The future was bright.
In 1983, hip-hop music hit the scene. The lyrics encouraged urban youth to hate whites, hit women, be gangstas and sling dope. You don’t need school, just words, music and hoops. I thought it was a passing fad.
Instead it’s already outlived hard rock and roll.
It was the beginning of the end for an America that was, well, kinda happy.
After hip -hop hit us in the face came the violence, like never before. Wild streets, gangs, dance clubs that always had death and stabbings after being taken over by angry, urban youngsters.
Today there is basically no dancing anywhere, can you believe that?
Well, almost none. Yep it’s over. No dancing, nowhere no how. Someone will comment about a place here and there, but are you kidding? IT’S OVER. No real nightclubs in this country, none, that includes Vegas, a few in New York, but it’s a shadow of what it once was…it’s over.
The fun is gone, replaced by danger and ‘staying at home.’
Next came ONLINE and the social network of the 2000’s. College grads, well, good luck on that job hunt. Banks loaning money for an idea, sure. That’s over. Live bands on the Plaza or anywhere else, over – with rare exception and street musicians. Too dangerous. A mailbox full of bills you never dreamed of; pay TV. No lines for any film ever. That includes AVATAR. Over. done.
Those passing smiles from other drivers have turned to road rage and "I’m in a hurry, move!"
I am glad you and I got to see the best of America, EVER.
Those days will not come again. The days of smiles and dreams and warm summer nights outside strolling the parks and streets of our once fair city. Gone.
So God damn sad, makes you want to cry.
The kids of today will never see or feel what you and I had. Lucky for us we got to enjoy all that.
No it will never be as good, ever. However there’s always the hope that in the future things will be somewhat better and Americans will once again smile.
Sure hope so.