In light of the City’s recent decision to vacate yet another Downtown alley, Urban Angle is examining some of Kansas City’s most interesting in-between spaces, and why they are worth preserving. Every day this week, we will visit a different alley, each with its own unique contributions to the experience of the City. This is Part Five of Five. For an introduction to the series, check out Part One here. We’re curious to know which alleys are your favorites and why. Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!
For our final day exploring Downtown Kansas City’s best alleys, we have a three-for-one special, with two great reader suggestions and a bonus pedestrian connection.
Bunker Building Alley
Tucked behind the Bunker building on Baltimore and surrounded by some of the best remnants of downtown Kansas City’s historic legacy, there is a great pedestrian alley that leads to a delightful, tree-lined courtyard. By circumstance of history and design, several businesses front this rear space of the block rather than the street, and it would have been all too easy to abandon this interior space to the ravenous parking lot monster. Instead, this alley makes it possible to access the interior of this block directly, and enjoy it as a genuine public space.
In its infancy as a great public space, this north-south alley off of 18th Street between Wyandotte and Baltimore hosted ad hoc programming from live bands to interactive art exhibits to First Fridays dance parties. Surrounded on all sides by creative people and businesses, and the Crossroads’ eclectic charm, this alley has evolved into something more permanent. Arts, crafts, and retail businesses now make the alley their front door. Lighting strung above the alley tells you that this is a space people cares about, and a place where people want to be.
This private pedestrian connection doesn’t really go anywhere, and it is probably a little bit too stark and narrow to be pleasant, but who could pass up an opportunity to walk beneath the rearing hooves of…whatever that thing us. This is a parking garage entrance, but it works alright for people too.
This is the fifth and final part of a five part series, exploring a different alley each day this week. You can start from the beginning here.