Back when Bill Pierce was a kid, he heard the line in Carly Simon’s song “You’re So Vain”: “Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.”
“And I thought, man, that sounds like something fun to do,” Pierce said. Decades later, the Dallas bioengineer and girlfriend Molly Teague did just that. Except they flew commercial. And their destination was the rooftop of Chicken ’N Pickle in North Kansas City, in the path of totality of Monday’s eclipse.
Last month CNN named the bar and restaurant at 1761 Burlington St. one of the top seven rooftop bars in the nation for viewing the eclipse. Rooftop tickets sold out about three weeks ago, said event manager Amanda Unruh; the spots down below were all reserved by last week.
About 800 revelers filled the place for pickleball, glow sticks, shots of the signature apple-green vodka eclipse cocktail and comfortable seats to see the sun to go dark.
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Aerialist Liv Morrow, in glittery make-up and bodysuit, was hired to entertain the waiting crowd, hanging upside down and contorting herself around a hoop suspended from above.
“I will try to embody the moon today,” she explained. “The moon personified.”
Many of the partiers, like Pierce and Teague, came from out of town.
Ten-year-old Ellison Sirny of Mosinee, Wis., heard about the eclipse a few months ago from a planetarium director. “It sounded really cool,” she said. So much so that most of her family drove down to stay at her aunt’s place in Overland Park and, wearing commemorative eclipse T-shirts from Amazon, go to the Chicken ’N Pickle rooftop for the eclipse.
The weather wasn’t ideal. After a morning downpour, the clouds cleared and blue sky ruled. But when the sun had shrunk down to a sliver, just before the moon would fully cover it, the clouds rolled in. The crowd groaned.
But the clouds weren’t thick enough to obscure the awesome effects: a glittering diamond as the moon covered all but a tip of the sun and then a riot of color from the corona’s ring of fire. The crowd whooped and cheered.
“It was so freaking cool,” said Drene Middleton of North Kansas City, who toasted the eclipse with friends from work. “It couldn’t have been more perfect,” said co-worker Anne Wisdom of Prairie Village.
As for Pierce? “I saw as much as necessary,” he said, cradling a beer. “I am lucky and blessed.”