The City Market Kansas City, Missouri
A first-hand investigative report of the Kansas City Mafia's attempt to take over a major Kansas City entertainment area in the mid-1970s -- an effort that included bombings, extortion, and a large number of murders.
by J.J. Maloney
Every city dreams of greatness. To achieve an identity it constructs symbols (the Eiffel Tower, the St. Louis Arch), or, like New Orleans, has an area, such as the French Quarter, that assumes an identity of its own.
Traditionally Kansas City has been known as a cowtown. It was famous for its stockyards, and the biggest annual event still is the American Royal, during which journalists shake cow patties from their shoes. Kansas Citians are sensitive about that image, feeling it gives them a "hick" reputation.
They point with pride to the Country Club Plaza or Westport, but neither has ever achieved a national reputation. They promote Kansas City as the birthplace of jazz, a claim other cities dispute. They go so far as to call Kansas City the home of great barbecue; local politicians devote great amounts of space to that subject. Such is the desperation for an identity.