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Gathering places for urban subcultures

Dan

Dear Leader
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I was thinking about how, back in Kansas City, there was a coffeehouse in the Country Club Plaza that was the regular hangout of ... well, affluent 40- and 50-something white men who ride Moto Guzzi motorcycles. At any hour of the day, there would be a row of Moto Guzzis lined up in front of this coffee house, while otherwise normal looking businessmen wearing leather jackets and helmets would be sipping espresso and talking motorcycles and mutual funds.

1dsc00693-med.jpg

I often wondered how this gathering spot formed, and why it was that at 9:00 AM on a Monday, or 9:00 PM on a Saturday, this particular spot of the Plaza was firmly entrenched as the turf of middle-aged Moto Guzzi owners.

Several miles away, in Overland Park, a Borders in a strip plaza had a constant crowd of Slashdot-types playing Go in the cafe. About half the time, on nearly every day of the week, there were pear-shaped guys wearing t-shirts showing pi, e, Spock, Tux the Linux penguin, or the "Hello World" script in various computer languages, playing Go and quietly discussing the newest Slackware distro. There might be the occasional woman, often in a dress reminiscent of what one would see at a RenFair.

How do these gathering spots form? What are some some similar gathering spots in other cities? What qualities do these areas have in common?
 

martini

Cyburbian
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678
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Minneapolis has the same thing in several places. Bob's Java Hut on Lyndale has the dame type of motorcycle crowd hanging out daily. Summer months, it's almost hard to find a spot to get in there. The gutter punks have the Hardtimes Cafe near the Uof M campus. It is curious how these places form. Is it 'direction' from the proprietor of the establishment? Or is it a member of the 'group' goes there, likes it, and wrangles other members to come laong next time?
 

Dan

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Meetup, though, is used primarily to arrange short meetings. I'm talking about nearly permanent gatherings; the modern day version of "the corner" in the 1950s.

The upper middle class Italian motorcycle enthusiasts are always at that coffeehouse in the Country Club Plaza, from the time it opens in the morning to past closing late at night, every day of the week, including weekends. It's like a day long motorcycle club meeting every day of the week, not a bunch of guys who gather on the first Tuesday of the month for a couple of hours, or the equivalent of a cruise night at the local Sonic. It's Moto Guzzi 16-7.
 

oulevin

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Urban Subculture Hangouts

The phenomenon is called the third place - a place besides work and home where regulars meet up at certain times. Sometimes they are formal affairs, such as a monthly book club meeting in a bookstore. Other times they are unplanned but expected hookups, such as a group of retired veterans meeting everyday in the coffeeshop to chat over a cup of coffee.

For some reason, I can only come up with the same biker crowd from what I've seen. Bikers lining their bikes on Sheridan in Oklahoma City's Bricktown on Saturday nights. In Tulsa, bikers meet during the day at the Brookside Cafe. Maybe it's just because their presence is so conspicuous.
 

Seabishop

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There is a spot in a very large urban park where my whole life guido-style guys with Japanese motorcycles have hung out. There are no businesses there and there is nothing to differentiate this stretch of road from anywhere else in the park.
 

martini

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el Guapo said:
The real question is how do they find each other? What magic forms these connections?

How they find eachother? The internet of course! Look at us, I'm sure if we lived in the same town(the horror!), we'd all take over a drinking establishment of some sort. I'd suspect that the 'magic' you speak of is group consenus? That and where they can get the best volume deal...
 

Queen B

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How do they find each other?
Well that is a simple question. They same way we found each other. The same way that everyone has advised people on these forums to seek new friendships. By going where you have a common interest.
Once someone with a motorcycle sees a similar motorcycle they stop, and they have something to talk about or compare and then someone else sees and then it is a hangout. You don't see pool player in a park. You have to go where the tables are. I think coffee groups start by a few peole choosing to go and then others see they are having fun and joining in. Same with a regular group that meets at a bar at a regular time for a beer.
The question is more about finding a way to get "in" to the group to make new friends.
 

The Irish One

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I miss the lot, how bout you Jeff?

Once a week there is a swap meet that is more of a social thing for the fresh hispanic immigrants of my area.
 

martini

Cyburbian
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678
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DOH! forgot that Hot rodders(my father) and retired farmers(this general area) are two other big groups that you oftne see gathered in one location.
 

el Guapo

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I do harken back to the first video to this album:

 

jresta

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Never been to KC but have always heard about the plaza. That's a really nice street.

Phily has those hangouts too, although, most of them wind up involving alcohol (even the coffee shops here spike their fare).

I think those places happen more often because a member of the group works there or in the case of upper income hangouts -owns it.
 

Jen

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Phily has those hangouts too, although, most of them wind up involving alcohol (even the coffee shops here spike their fare

A nip in the morning? I know of these coffeeshop hangouts! And he says he's 'going to meetin', and biker church! Well just a wee snort to take off the chill you know. :-b

Those guzzi riders, that is a phenomenon, must be olive oil in their demitasse cups, not coffee. Or, that is where the dealer makes them wait, and wait, and wait to hear about the status of their aftermarket parts from Italia! no?
:c:
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
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496
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Hi dan

I think as planners we can think of only making/creating the spaces.The architects who design adn detail these spaces and plan and enable activities make these spaces into places. So place making is associated so much not just with lcoation, size and use but also about activites adn more importantly the people.
In you example and observation i think it must be some guys initiially, the pioneer who were minorities maybe at one time in grouping together at a some joint.
later that thing may have caught up, maybe the originals have moved on.
So it may take some research adn i have a felling that it may lead you to some person who started it originally.
Parallely the social groups that are formed out of unique and different( off the hook interests) form and break continuosly. So alternatively to maintain uniqueness the other groups find and locate another joint/place for the theme.

I hope i make some sense. purely my reasoning really.
I hope you are doing great.
Bye for now and best wishes

MAheep
 
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