Friday, September 23, 2005

A Wild Evening

A Wild Evening

Last night was pretty bizarre for me. Here's what happened:

- The WashU Shuttle (Gold Line eastbound) was 30 minutes late; in other words, the 8:45 never showed, so everybody waited for the 9:15.

- While we waited, we got to watch Chris Regnier from Fox 2 KTVI-TV News and his cameraman prepare for a stand-up just a few feet away from us, at the foot of Brookings Hall.

A pretty good sized crowd - i.e., the people waiting for the 8:45 Gold bus and later for the 9:15 Gold bus - got to watch the action, and watch the 9:00 news too, on a tiny little monitor next to the camera guy. They were doing a story about a guy who was a student at Tulane but is now a visiting student at WashU and has family in Houston. Wild. (I didn't catch that particular student's name, but I'm sure there are plenty of others in that same boat. I have an uncle who lives in Houston, as does my wife. It's a huge city, after all.)

- Later, when the shuttle did finally come, it passed by the corner of Des Peres and Waterman. Des Peres north of Waterman was blocked off with yellow tape, numerous police cars and a SWAT van in plain sight, because of the hostage situation on the 5900 block of McPherson. A number of WashU students live on that block. I wonder if they ever made it home after getting off the shuttle?

- After boarding MetroLink, I picked up a copy of the new TransitWatch brochure, part of the campaign by transit agencies to increase awareness of safety and security issues among passengers.

Among the tips: watch out for excessive sweating, baggy clothes, and of course the ever-popular packages with unusual attached wires or batteries. While I will not discount the seriousness of what happened in July in London, I question the seriousness of this campaign.

- As I finally made it home, a few minutes after 10 PM, I noticed several police cars at Wyoming and Nebraska, about a block from my house. They were blocking the street, too, although it may have been just not wanting to move their cars, rather than for any particular safety reason. After all, we have cops in our neighborhood all the time, especially on summer nights. Unlike in Skinker-DeBaliviere, it's not unusual in Benton Park West.


Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Interesting about the police presence in Benton Park West.... I guess the city wants to see that area gentrified pretty badly. It makes me think of McRee Town and Lucas "Hobo" Park Downtown--both have suddenly started getting serious police attention in recent months, after a long long time of neglect.

It also makes me think of Hyde Park, but in a different capacity. For a long time earlier this year, Michael and I were very serious about purchasing a house on Mallinckrodt up there, to the extent that we even did a lot of work on the house. Michael's dad went up there to examine the house when we weren't around, driving the company car he had at the time, which happened to look like an unmarked police car (a white Impala!). Michael's dad got out of that car with his shades and buzz cut and a policeman pulled up next to him, assuming that he was also a cop. "What are you doing here?"

"My son is going to buy this house."

"Well DON'T WORRY! We cleaned this place out south of the park! He'll be just fine!"

The officer proceeded to drive half a block, stop in view of Michael's dad, and shout at a homeless woman.


(Strangely, dealing with crime was part of what drove us away from that property ultimately, so I guess the officer wasn't that serious. Still, I did notice a marked difference between the south and north sides of the park....hmmm....)

Urban Review - St. Louis said...

What an interesting ride home. If you had driven a car you would have missed all the excitement. Mass transit - entertaining people for decades!