On tour: Taking the lane by the grassy knoll

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Readers, we made the pilgrimage to Dealey Plaza. The place is an otherwise unremarkable freeway on ramp, marked with potholes that go all the way down to the underlying brick and two white “Xs” in the road marking the place where — or so we heard — a recent group of re-enactors guessed that the first two bullets made contact when President Kennedy was assassinated here nearly 50 years ago.

It’s about as bad a pedestrian area as you’ll find anywhere — every time the stop light at the top of the hill cycles, drivers whip around the curve and the tourists trying to get their picture taken standing on one of the Xs scatter.

The notable thing about the place is how persistent people were in using the roadway and its environs as pedestrians. On a Monday morning in April, there was a good sized crowd, crossing back and forth with cameras in hand, paying attention to the traffic only as an afterthought, laughing at their near misses. It did me good to see a diverse selection of people not in cars, claiming a high speed public street as their own. But it was also alarming on a number of occasions. There’s an overwhelming amount of contradictory and obfuscated data about the events here of November 22, 1963, but I wasn’t able to readily find any current information on traffic crashes at the site.

For Joe, who’s written a small biography of Oswald (it started as a short essay a couple of years ago and grew into an obsession with a higher than expected word count and a spine), the trip was a long held dream fulfilled.

For my part, drop me off anywhere near some kind of transportation infrastructure with a camera in hand and I can entertain myself for hours, perhaps to a fault. In this case, I was equally fascinated by the graffiti behind the fence on the grassy knoll as by the traffic dynamic. Check out the slideshow above, or peruse the sudden dashes and sharpied musings of the masses at more leisure here.

Thanks to Kevin and Steph from Fort Worth for showing us around Dallas with a ton of patience and just enough pointed commentary about FW’s rival sister city to have us all laughing about our sweaty trek through the giant, beige downtown rather than regretting it.

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