03/14/19 4:30pm

WHAT ARE THE BEST SWAMPLOT COMMENTS YOU’VE EVER READ (OR MADE)? Here’s another request for longtime readers: Help us identify the greatest reader comments ever posted on Swamplot! Why is your help needed? A whopping 133,000 or so reader comments appeared on this site over the course of 12 years, making it tough to find all the gems. Fortunately, Swamplot’s regular Comment of the Day feature highlighted some of the best (all 1,500 or so of them, over the course of 12 years). But a lot of great comments missed their day in the spotlight for various reasons — often because too many other great choices came in on the same day. For many, absorbing the comments and back-and-forth from our diverse readership was the whole point of reading Swamplot. Can you help us surface the best, to help show why? Add your links to the comments section below, or send us your picks privately, in an email. We hope to create a more definitive list from what you gather. Illustration: Lulu

03/11/19 3:00pm

Hey, recovering longtime Swamplot readers! A special request: We’re putting together a list of this site’s best stories, and we need your help. If you were asked to give a quick snapshot of Swamplot by providing examples of this site at the top of its form, what individual posts would you point to?

We’re asking: Which were your favorites? Which ones were especially funny? or made you angry? or changed the way you looked at Houston? or voiced something previously unspoken about a part or aspect of the city that you were already familiar with? or sparked really interesting discussions? Or maybe have a special resonance now — beyond the immediate goings-on pictured and outlined in our original writeup. We want to know what stood out to you.

How to find stories . . . if your memories are hazy? There’s a search box near the top of this page (near the bottom on mobile) where you can type in keywords that might tickle your memory. Or use the Google. Or click on the tags that show up to the right of each story (at the bottom on mobile) to surf by topic. Or if you’ve got a ridiculous amount of time on your hands, go right ahead and scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the “Next Page” button — and keep repeating until you get back 12 years.

Let us know your picks in the comments section below, or — if you’re a little more shy about it — in an email to our tips line. We’d like to publish a list of what you come up with.

Photo of Hardy Yards: Marc Longoria

Project Swamplot
03/07/19 6:00pm

As of today this site’s daily publishing schedule is coming to a halt. Swamplot has been covering Houston’s real estate landscape for 12 years. That’s longer than the runs of most successful teevee sitcoms, all but one U.S. presidency, and a lot of great Houston restaurants. It’s been long enough to cover 3 hurricanes, several boom-and-bust cycles, a half-dozen or so 100-year floods, and the rise and fall of Tuscanization. More than a few high-school freshmen when Swamplot started in 2007 are now armed with PhDs and ready to launch their careers. It’s time for us to move on as well.

We’re proud of what Swamplot has accomplished: the reporting it’s assembled; the commenters, readers, contributors, and tipsters it’s attracted; the conversations and reconsiderations it’s fostered; the groups of people from different walks of life it’s brought together in some way; the coinages you’ve come up with; and the community that’s been built here around the notion that our local built and natural environments are worth our attention and our jokes.

Houston has always been a funky town. It’s rarely been served well by those who ignore that, or who promote it with a chip on their shoulder, or who build in it without recognizing the profound handicaps and weirdnesses that continue to shape it. In Swamplot’s dozen years of documenting the odd details of its growth and destruction, we’ve noticed a gradual but steady change of attitude — one that we hope we’ve helped to effect: People here, we get a sense, now pay more obvious attention to the things that make Houston unique, bizarre, wacky, frustrating, and lovable. If Swamplot has, in any way, played a role in altering your sense of this place — by reporting on things normally paid little attention to, by presenting things in ways you wouldn’t otherwise expect to see them, by dangling in front of you the comments and perspectives of people who see this city very differently from the way you do, or by striving each day to highlight the absurdities that underly and shape so much of the Houston experience — well, then hanging out with y’all for some or all of this time has been well worth it.

Beginning next week, we’ll have a few announcements and questions to post here about Swamplot’s past, present, and future — so please do come back and visit to see what’s up. For now, though, we want to thank you — our readers, commenters, tipsters, photographers, advertisers, sponsors, and contributors — for making Swamplot what it’s been, and maybe making Houston a little bit better place for us all.

Photos: Russell Hancock (aerial); Bill Barfield (sign) via Swamplot Flickr Pool

So Long
03/07/19 10:30am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE GREAT MONTROSE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ROUTE THINNING “The Fairview bus route replaced the streetcar line and operated for decades. Thirty years ago a significant number of people in Montrose relied on public transportation. As demographics changed, METRO decided that ridership didn’t justify some routes through Montrose. In addition to Fairview, they also eliminated the University (Hawthorne) and Alabama (actually W. Alabama) routes. It’s surprising how much of a difference there is between walking one or two blocks vs. five or more to the closest bus stop. I agree that a revived Fairview line would be convenient, and a trolley would be great. The question is, will residents of $500k townhomes willingly commit to giving up their cars? I wish they would, and think they won’t.” [Big Tex, commenting on Houston’s Vanished and Current Middle-of-the-Road Rail Networks, Close Up and Personal] Illustration: Lulu

03/07/19 8:30am

Photo of 315 Travis St.: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool

03/06/19 4:00pm

Look closely in the photo above from yesterday evening, writes one of the 2 Swamplot readers who sent in dramatic pix showing the demolition-in-progress of the Timbergrove H-E-B at 1511 W. 18th St. (near Ella and T.C. Jester), “and you can see all the store aisle signs hanging (signs that say coffee, paper towels, etc).” The groceries themselves had previously been evacuated: The very-close-to-White-Oak-Bayou store closed at the end of January, just as the new, larger, and more highly elevated double-decker Heights H-E-B opened a mile away on N. Shepherd Dr. between 23rd and 24th streets.


Market Turbulence
03/06/19 2:00pm

A leasing brochure just released by Midway reveals a detailed site plan for the first phase of the company’s planned development on a 150-acre former industrial site lining the north bank of Buffalo Bayou — here upgraded to riverine status. East River‘s drive-up urban conquest of the former KBR (previously, Brown & Root) campus begins on the far western edge of the Fifth Ward site, fronting Jensen Dr. and lining Clinton Dr. Portrayed in the plans and renderings: a 9-plus-screen multiplex movie theater, a new waterside home for the Houston Maritime Museum, a central plaza with a coffee pavilion (pictured), and almost 100,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, spread among the ground floors of 8 separate structures (including one enormous parking garage). Three of the structures are multi-story office buildings.

Here are some overall site plans of the development:


Fifth Ward Incoming
03/06/19 12:00pm

Our sponsor again today is The Classic, located at 5922 Washington Ave — at the edge of Rice Military. Thanks for supporting Swamplot!

An unabashedly American restaurant, The Classic has something for everyone. This fresh American bistro is perched just east of Memorial Park. It’s brought to you by Benjy Levit — the restaurateur behind Local Foods and Benjy’s.

The Classic is a no-rush, no-fuss neighborhood spot. It pivots neatly from brunch to date-night cachet. Enjoy The Classic’s wide-ranging all-day menu — featuring subtle flavors and techniques that have traveled here across oceans and generations. In the light-filled interior you’ll find a touch of retro.

Check out The Classic’s menu and hours, reviews, pics of its interior and dishes, or make reservations on the restaurant website.

Support your locals! Become a Sponsor of the Day.

Sponsor of the Day
03/06/19 8:30am

Photo of Discovery Green: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

03/05/19 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CURRENT HOUSTON AIR SMELL RATINGS, MINUS THE COFFEE PERFUME “It seems like it’s getting worse. 4 out of 7 mornings when it used to be maybe 2 out of 7. I wonder if it’s because the east downtown coffee plant has been shutdown, no longer masking the more harsher notes.” [Jeff, commenting on The Houston Hurricane Pollution-Sniffing NASA Flight That Never Took Off] Illustration: Lulu

03/05/19 3:00pm

Here’s one way to make a graphic comparison of the tight-knit electric streetcar routes that crisscrossed tiny 1895 Houston (pop. 44,643) to today’s more spindly 22.7-mile light-rail network: Zoom way in, so that Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, not the more familiar target-like succession of looping freeways, appear as the major urban landscape feature — and stops in the Museum District and at UH line up at the edge of the frame like far-flung commuter suburbs. That’s the approach New York-based serial transit-system cartographer Jake Berman has taken in his latest in a series of now-and-then rail comparisons, also suitable for framing.

Maps: Jake Berman