3:34 p.m. on a Tuesday in the West End.
Welcome to Snapshot, a feature here on Central Track that aims to slow things down a bit by taking the time to appreciate and examine the overlooked slices of life that occur all around us. Through exploring an intersection, watching a neighborhood, observing a moment or taking a peek behind an oft-forgotten corner, this photo series aims to capture the sights and sounds of Dallas that most people might zip right past without a second glance. Here, we demand a deeper look.
3:34 p.m. on a Tuesday in the West End. There’s a reason why the McDonald’s close to here is a standing-room-only operation — because management would prefer loiterers from around the way not take up the dining space, thank you very much. But, given its role as a popular DART stop, there’s no fighting the loitering in The West End. It’s built into the fabric of the neighborhood, and it’s even spawned its own culture of commerce in the process. Newport loosies, street zines, toys — you can buy all these things right out on the street from various vendors here. Looking for something harder? There’s a liquor store right around the corner that does crazy business.
For all the forced interaction that comes with the aforementioned sales, though, the West End is also fairly cold in the middle of the afternoon — the result, it would seem, of the extreme contrast at play among the people who are hanging around. Here, businessmen and blue collar workers are forced to stand side by side with the homeless. More often than not, they choose not to interact much. Sometimes, though, they can’t help it — like when it sure looks like that dog lying on the sidewalk over there might be dead.
Then a crowd gathers, and concerns about how to handle the situation are shared. Humans are a sympathetic lot, turns out. We’re funny, too: After that dog comes to, after its owner comes screaming around the corner and wondering aloud what the to-do is about, and after the dog’s been placed in a stroller meant for a child and rushed off to parts unknown, the collective head-shaking that ensues among the crowd elicits more than a few chuckles.
People are different in the West End. They’re also the same.