Here is the city’s newest meeting point
Just where do you link up with your partner in Nairobi before heading to that cool place for the evening drink or business meeting?
Well, there is a new spot in town; The Nation Centre on Kimathi Street; the magnificent twin towers that host country’s top media house — the Nation Media Group.
They come from all walks of life, for different reasons and converge outside Nation Centre for a quick meeting or move to a more quiet venue.
For starters, this street is the home of top social joints, including pubs, restaurants and hotels.
On an ordinary day, they come in pairs, threes or fours. They lean on or stand near the beacons outside the expansive building as they wait for the other person.
A study has shown that Kenyans in the middle class have identified the spot as the ideal meeting place.
Kencom, Hotel Ambassadeur — or simply Ambassador — Kenya Cinema, Galitos, Afya Centre and Odeon Cinema were the household meeting points.
That has shifted to the twin towers.
Some cases are first-time hookups, others are business partners delivering birthday cakes or online market deliveries while some are just friends.
For many, it is a convergence point for groups using a common means like a bus out of town.
Sit on the opposite side of the street for hours and you will notice something interesting. People come at intervals and there is no much idling.
Ms Ann Njoki is busy on her phone as she walks in front of the building. She is looking for a beacon to lean on as she waits for whoever she wants to meet.
MIDDLE OF CBD
“It is easier to meet here than anywhere else since it is less crowded. Nation Centre is also in the middle of the CBD and that is why I took the decision to meet my classmate here,” she said.
Ms Njoki added Kencom used to be her favourite meeting point but “the place has been taken over by pickpokets and phone snatchers”.
“The bus stop is crowded with people who are obviously doing nothing,” she said.
According to Ms Njoki, most of those waiting for matatus and buses are residents of Kawangware “who have huge luggage from the village and do not seem to be in sync with the city life”.
Mr Andrew Mutua, a city resident, said Kenya Cinema used to be his meeting joint but he turned to Nation Centre after the closure of the cinema.
“Most of the people who met there ended up watching a movie,” he said.
Mr Mutua said his other meeting area was Kenya National Archives and Ambassadeur, “which have since been reduced to open air markets”.
“The area near the Tom Mboya statue is more of a market than a meeting joint. It has been taken over by hawkers, preachers, acrobats, street families and herbalists,” Mr Mutua said, adding that football hooligans camp at the place and terrorise residents during weekends.
Mr Mutua said the area was also not safe.
He said Galitos was being abandoned by Nairobians following the invasion of hawkers and street children.
For others, it is the security from the many guards outside Nation Centre that attracts them to the place.
However, all is not well as street children have begun invading the place, perhaps because they know the kind of people who frequent Nation Centre.
The building under construction at the Kimathi Street-Kenyatta Avenue junction has been turned into a shelter for the homeless at night.
By 4pm, the stretch is full of hawkers who take over the narrow pedestrian walkway.