NPR's Day to Day profiles life in Kansas City: Kansas City: The View from the Middle. Though the piece carries a subtle tone of condescension, it offers a nice profile of a great city that we are growing to love with increasing intensity.
The term "middle" conjures up a host of pejoratives: middling, middle-brow and middle-of-the road.
But settle down in what folks on both coasts deride as "flyover country," and you discover something different: a political environment that celebrates consensus as much as conflict, a space where culture and business are comfortably intertwined, and a place where history and modernity don't just live, but thrive.
Kansas City is the embodiment of the middle. It's near the geographic center of the continental United States. It's the dividing line between a traditionally "blue" state (Missouri) and a traditionally "red" one (Kansas). And it's a sprawling — but human-scale — metropolis, with a reviving downtown and so many construction cranes that locals joke "the crane is the new state bird."
The first thing you notice as an outsider is the architecture. The way glassy modernist sculptures like the still-under-construction Sprint Center arena nestles amidst stately, century-old apartment buildings. Or how the city's colonnaded grande dame, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has sprouted a funky new wing that glows softly at night.