Why I Love Dealey Plaza, the City's True Soul

segwaypics.jpeg
Photo by Nick Rallo
Dealey Plaza, subject of my feature story in this week's paper version of Unfair Park, is a monument to horror, a locus of global grief, a vortex of paranoia and all that stuff. But on a spring weekend when the weather's good, it's also just kind of a cool place.

Is that allowed?

You see the craziest stuff -- like a dozen self-conscious tourists with cameras and fanny packs riding single file through the plaza on upright two-wheeled Segways, shepherded by Segway guides. Something about seeing people move like that always reminds me of the abbey scenes in The Sound of Music.

Then you have the families who gather in the pergola on the Grassy Knoll to look at conspiracy theorist Robert Groden's display of really gross Kennedy head-shot autopsy photos. The parents are the ones who look shocked. The 10-year-olds mostly shrug and look bored, like, "I've seen better gore in a cartoon show."

My own favorite spot for sheer shocking juxtaposition is the assassination latte shop across the street from the plaza. Owned and run by the Sixth Floor Museum, the Museum Cafe perfectly expresses Dallas's desire to make this the world's nicest assassination. It peddles only super-nice things about the Kennedys, like Kennedy family paper dolls and books about Jackie's clothes -- no disturbing conspiracy theory books.

It also offers a coffee bar and tables. On the wall above the tables, vintage home movies of the fatal day play in an endless loop.

Since the place opened, I've always taken the movies on the wall for granted. But I made the mistake of taking my brother from San Francisco there recently to grab a quick cappuccino.

I forgot the films were even playing behind me on the wall. Then I noticed he had stopped stirring his coffee and was staring over my head in gape-mouthed horror.

"Yeah," I mumbled into my cup, mouth full of lemon cake, "I think some of that's from the Zapruder film."

"Jim," he said slowly, "when I go home, I cannot tell my friends in San Francisco about this."

"How come?"

"No one will believe me."

"Oh, piffle," I said. "You people out there are so touchy. L.A. doesn't have a nice place like this for Robert."


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12 comments
EdS
EdS

"Piffle," you said? That's pretty strong language for the Observer.

tony
tony

That stretch of Elm really needs wider sidewalks and some trees. It looks so bare, and those buildings look like they sit right on the street.

McDoom
McDoom

People riding on Segways will always look ridiculous to me.

Horsefeather
Horsefeather

Sadly, the City of Dallas' soul sits in a back booth at Campisi's Egyptian Room.

Matthew
Matthew

That has to be a weekend picture. What confuses me is that the place is usually busy on the weekend from what I've seen ...unless this was late in the evening on Saturday or an early Sunday morning.

bobby
bobby

You could never tell Dealy Plaza is the city's soul from that pic. Take out the people on the scooters and the area would look like one of those day after zombie movies.

Jgreenan
Jgreenan

Great. Dealey Plaza is our soul. I suppose we also have a black, rotten, shriveled tumor where our heart should be.

Stacy
Stacy

if that what u think then u OBVIOUSLY never been down there...I for one drive by it every single day 5days a week for the last 4 yrs and I cant tell u how many ppl I had to swerve outa my lane for!!

JimS
JimS

... and your point?

G_David
G_David

Maybe one of these days you can swerve into some sort of remedial grammar school on your way home?

bobby
bobby

Jim, my point was the "city's true soul" behind the people on the sedgeways, looks dead and desolate in that photo. You really should have chosen a photo that includes some of the people you mention in the article. That photo shows no one.

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