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Old 08-24-2007, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
36 posts, read 116,522 times
Reputation: 29

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Hello all, long time reader, first time poster so I will try and keep this brief.

This is a collection of beliefs and personal opinions during my ten
year transition of becoming a Houstonion coming from the frozen
tundra of Minneapolis (hence the name Minneahouston) and Chicago
as well.

I have travelled extensively to most major cities in the U.S. and
a few cities abroad. Needless to say Houston has a hmmmm let's see,
"unfavorable" reputation among our metropolitan peers.

Houston IMHO is uniquely 2 cities in one. East of I-45 and west of I-45.
The vast majority of Houston's north side (east and west of 45) tends to have large tracts of our infamous "leapfrog" development, majority working
class and an abudance of low income neighborhoods. East Houston is
VERY industrial with the ship channel and some of the largest petro-
chemical plant concentrations in the country. I think a lot of Houston's
image is based soley on this area (Urban Cowboy...). The south side kind of resemebles my earlier description of the north, however, it seems to have some RURAL type communities as well.

These depictions seem to reflect and VALIDATE this national perception
of Houston. Very industrial, very blue collar, putrid smelling air, and a
laid back yahoo cowboy culture lifestyle, with crime to boot (no pun
intended).

I STILL have people back home asking me if we still ride horses or does
everybody wear a cowboy hat and boots with huge buckles, is their
tumbleweed, cactus, etc, etc... I mean c'mon people, it's 2007 and we
still have these perceptions.

The eastern part of town is not my preferred section of town to reside in.
However, it is in important contributor to Houston's powerhouse economy.
Mainly the port and the nasty, repulsive, cash cow petro chemical plants.

Quick story, I recall 11 years ago in an attempt to sell Houston as a relocation destination to my then girlfriend. We landed at hobby airport
(on the southeast side of town) drove around for a couple of hours in the vicinity and after an eternal silence she looks at me and say's "yep, this is exactly what I thought Houston wold look like.

Hence the typical impression and stereotype of people who have never experienced the "other Houston"

Every city has it's desirable and less desirable sides of town, but in
typical Houston fashion-ie no zoning- The other Houston-the Houston you
will never experience riding from Bush Interconitinenal airport to Downtown, the Houston you will never experience flying to Hobby and catching a charter bus to Galvestorn for a carribean cruise, the other Houston is a incomrehensible (sp?) different city.

West Houston for better or for worse, IMHO, is uncannily similar to SoCal
(Obviously minus the natural scenic beauty) This is where you will find dense urban sprawl (Houston's version), unbelivable amounts of cultural
diversity, obscene amounts of over the top weatlth (it is flaunted religiously, and even that may be an understatement). West Houston is ultra chick, ultra modern, and uber trendy. In fact, aside from Phoenix, Vegas, Miami, and possibly North Dallas burbs this is SoCal (with real people, nothing against LA) Very lush tropical landscaping (lots and lots of palms). Over abundance of Mediterranean landscape (more Phoenix than LA), Vibrant colors, wide blvds. and stupid traffic. In some ways Westheimer Blvd seems to be a hybrid of Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds.

Over the years I have had at least 100 personal visitors and in my public line of work have met a lot of transplants that have been blown away by WEST Houston.
Yeah you can throw in NW and even SW (a story unto itself). I believe West Houston is the houston that has caused a relocation glut. Look, I know housing is cheap and jobs are a plenty, butif Houston were only that I-45 corridor people would not care how cheap it is to live here--they ain't comin'.

SW Houston gets a bad rap, It's heyday has come and gone. However, SW Houston has many, many desirable neighborhoods surrounded by many, many
low income MONSTER apartment communities that strectch for miles and miles. But you know that becuase those threads are in abundance on this site. I also believe SW may in the spirit of Rocky come back with a one two punch and eventually become the new "hot spot". time will tell.

The "In The Loop" hype is reality. It is the place to be (same i-45 rule applies) It is becoming dense, is already unltra trendy and believe me, you pay for it in property value.

The most common phrase I hear from visitors is "I don't feel like I am in Houston, or Texas for that matter." Houston seems to be a city in Texas, but not of Texas. Houston is world unto itself. A blend of white, black, hispanic, asian, indian, african, european and (fill in the blank). My biggest fear moving to Houston was picking up a southern draaaaawl and losing my non-descript northern accent (don't know why that matters, but it was a big deal to me). I have found that Houston is such a multinational, transplant(domestic and foreign--take that L.A.) that I do not here the southern or Texan accent, I think I hear every accent except Texan(sometimes, but rare).

For better or for worse it seems that Houston does not have a Texas or a southern attatchment. It's just a melting pot that is Houston and Houston only.

Whew- what's your opinion
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Texas
690 posts, read 2,477,987 times
Reputation: 470
As a lifelong resident of Houston, I found your take very interesting. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 03:13 PM
 
128 posts, read 428,275 times
Reputation: 33
"butif Houston were only that I-45 corridor people would not care how cheap it is to live here--they ain't comin'."

Couldn't that be said about most major cities? Every city has it's nice sections and not so nice sections. It's kind of common sense to think that if the entire city looked like the area around Gallery Furniture nobody would want to live here. Also, in most cities, you don't get a very good impression by staying on the freeways.

If you were trying to sell Houston to your girlfriend, why did you drive her around the vicinity of Hobby? I hope you don't sell real estate for a living.
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Old 08-24-2007, 06:08 PM
 
Location: SanAnFortWAbiHoustoDalCentral, Texas
791 posts, read 2,080,429 times
Reputation: 190
Sometime in the early/mid 70's, a Chronicle headline read...

"Houston, the once and future city"

It's gone from a sleepy beer and blues town to a migration destination. Everything you wrote is Houston. Just like LA, NYC, DC, you are where you want to be.
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:06 AM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker to new jerseyite ;)
4,084 posts, read 11,845,762 times
Reputation: 1959
My opinion? You nailed it!
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
36 posts, read 116,522 times
Reputation: 29
BamaTex,

Thanks for the response. I would agree that most people understand that to get a "true feeling" of a city you will need to venture away from the highways and explore a little. However, I think that other cities tend
to get the benefit of the doubt. "Yeah, this city is pretty ugly on the
highway, but we are in (fill in the city) and we KNOW there are
trendy areas, beautiful neighborhoods, etc."

It goes without saying that Houston's reputation is changing directions due
to our tremendous growth, but it still seems that to the average person,
with no plans to move here still associate the entire city with my earlier
description.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:11 AM
 
2,605 posts, read 8,161,868 times
Reputation: 1986
I think your view of Houston is uninformed at best.

Your perceptions of the eastern half (east of I-45) are no more informed than those of people who don't even live in Houston. You are not the first to spout knowledge of an area you do not live in, do not know anyone who lives in, and have spent little or no time exploring.

I will post more later. But honestly I don't think you know at all what you are talking about.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:31 AM
 
Location: ✶✶✶✶
15,081 posts, read 27,784,483 times
Reputation: 10543
Quote:
Originally Posted by modster View Post
I think your view of Houston is uninformed at best.

Your perceptions of the eastern half (east of I-45) are no more informed than those of people who don't even live in Houston. You are not the first to spout knowledge of an area you do not live in, do not know anyone who lives in, and have spent little or no time exploring.

I will post more later. But honestly I don't think you know at all what you are talking about.
Excluding Eastwood, how off-base is it really?
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Old 08-25-2007, 03:03 PM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker to new jerseyite ;)
4,084 posts, read 11,845,762 times
Reputation: 1959
Of course, there's a sweeping generalization inherent in the east v. west side thing, and of course it's not completely accurate (Clear Lake immediately came to mind as just one glaring example, not to mention the areas immediately east of downtown). It's not as simple as east=bad and west=good, especially considering Houston's lack of zoning, but for the most part wrt national perception of what people probably think of when they think of Houston, the OP is probably on to something. On the other hand, perhaps the OP is creating some drama where there was none; or maybe it's more of a mentality than an actual geographic/class boundary thing. But you have to admit most of the building and relocation, even among locals, seems to occur to the west of I-45. I don't know anybody who's moved to Baytown or Pasadena. The hurricane threat isn't to be minimized either and is probably more responsible for there being a split, if it exists, than anything.
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Old 08-25-2007, 03:45 PM
 
2,605 posts, read 8,161,868 times
Reputation: 1986
The broad generalizations are cartoonish at best. All of west Houston is far from "uber-chick" (sic) ultra modern and ultra trendy. It is certainly "the good side of town" for most practical purposes. But everything east of I-45 is not some urban-cowboy setting where the air is greener.


I keep having to repeat myself:
Lindale Park is fast becoming another Hieghts http://www.lindalepark.org
Eastwood and the whole east-end warehouse district is changing fast:
University Oaks, Glenbrook, Idylwood, Houston Country Club Place & Simms Woods. There is stuff all over.

This is just more overly broad generalizations made and bought into by people who are not familiar with anything east of 45.

Eastwood


Glenbrook


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