Walking Dallas, Part 2: Divisions
The human element exists here on the streets of Dallas, but in a more divided way than I was expecting to see. This particular stretch of downtown is separated into very distinct stages if you will, each with their own characters and dramas at play. There are no blurred lines - the way of life seems to change from well-off to desperate simply by crossing the street.
On Main Street, well-dressed shoppers stroll past Neiman Marcus and Traffic, perhaps en route to the Iron Cactus Margarita Bar or the highly rated Dallas Chophouse.
Three blocks away on Elm Street, a large contingent of homeless and panhandlers that have gathered at the Rosa Parks Plaza and West End DART Station are watched over by Dallas Police.
At Market Street, only one block down from the police presence at West End Station, diners bask in the sun while enjoying a delicious BBQ lunch on a gated outside terrace. I need only turn my head from left to right to see two drastically different lifestyles in downtown. There is a hard line in the sand seemingly drawn between the “homeless area” at West End Station and “gentrified outdoor eating hotspot” on Market Street. If not for the police presence, I wonder if the panhandling would be worse at this corner.
Heading northeast I arrive at the Arts district. There are other photographers here, some working on portraits amid the grand architecture of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and some finishing up their wedding photographs at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Families enjoy picnics and waiters inside the Meyerson Symphony Center prepare tables for the evening’s events.
The sun is getting lower in the sky, so I head back into the CBD before twilight to see what else I can get before heading home. For some reason, I find myself heading back to West End Station.