Each weekend, thousands of people descend upon the Plaza to shell out big bucks for their favorite Banana Republic pants and Starbucks Frappuccinos and Pottery Barn place settings and Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. For half a century, the Plaza has been a symbol of high-end consumerism, a Kansas City landmark more lucrative than the Royals and certainly more entertaining. But sometimes the crowds can be a bit daunting, the prices a bit too hefty and the lack of stop signs maddening. On these days, it's a slight piece of property just north of the Plaza that's the true landmark. Behind the area's four-story Gap complex, a hill creeps up to a white birdbath lined on both sides by stone walls. For all the Plaza's pizzazz, there's nothing the elite shopping district can offer that's quite so picturesque, nothing it can sell that feels so original.