A Longtime Houstonian’s Guide To Surviving the Recent Onslaught of New Developments and Residents

A LONGTIME HOUSTONIAN’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING THE RECENT ONSLAUGHT OF NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND RESIDENTS Southland Hardware, 1822 Westheimer Rd., Montrose, HoustonShe throws in a few traffic tips for good measure (“never take Kirby to south side of 59 unless you have to, especially on a Friday, opt for Alabama vs. Richmond when driving towards town, and my new favorite: never go to the Galleria unless someone pays you”) but native-born Houstonian Sarah Lipscomb’s advice for herself and others who feel “like the city is closing in on me” includes a restatement of purpose: “to ensure that Houston, its people old and new, be reminded that there is still a culture here that hasn’t changed.” Which leads her to a quick but still traffic-filled driving tour of 5 longstanding Houston institutions that have somehow escaped demolition (so far), for reassurance. Her picks: Nielsen’s Delicatessen on Richmond (“same sandwiches, same service, same spread” for 60 years); Southland Hardware (pictured above) at 1822 Westheimer; Bellaire Broiler Burger on Bellaire Blvd.; the River Oaks Theater on West Gray (“same seats, same smell, same popcorn; don’t eat it though”); and M and M Vacuum on Kirby. [Slips Photo Blog; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Sarah Lipscomb

32 Comment

  • This is one of the reasons I moved after calling H-town home for 25 years. Alas the more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Crap. Now they’re going to tear all of those places down.

  • “Never go to the Galleria unless someone pays you”— how fucking stupid is that? I love the Galleria, I never have a problem parking or getting out of there. I like the crowds and the energy of the place, it’s a fun place to shop and people watch. It had thousands of parking spaces and a plethora of entrances and exits; if you understand the basic layout of the mall it’s very easy to get in and out and around. I love people who say –oh I never go to the MFAH, the Zoo, the Galleria, the Menil et.al, because there just too crowded. Why not just live in Amish Country or in a cabin in Idaho?

  • I saw the photo of Southland, and my first thought was “no, it’s going away!” Don’t give me a heart attack like that! I guess that’s a sign of the times, appropriate to the article.

    I seem to recall that the Landmark only survived demolition through the skin of its teeth a few years back, didn’t it?

  • The Galleria is the equivalent of Walmart to inner loopers. I treat them the same. I only go once a year and only when circumstances absolutely call for it.

  • I miss Bobby, the old gal who worked in the electrical department (or, aisle) at Southland. She had style.

  • grew up in West U, just moved out of Montrose

    so quiet on the East End and so close to everything, traffic nonexistent as well–love it over here

  • I agree with Shannon -> many people see going out into the city as a dreaded task. I see it as an adventure. That is the real reason I choose to live here. I love big cities.

  • Reading this makes me want to go to Kay’s Lounge and toss back a couple.

  • Raze the city, build a new one

  • Given where we’re at in the city’s evolution I have little sympathy for folks living in the urban core and expressing displeasure that it no longer acts like a slightly less sleepy suburb. Yes, it was that way for decades, but economic pressure dictates that we’re going to become more like Los Angeles. Except thankfully without zoning.

  • No one in the history of ever has said “Let’s not go to the Menil because it is too crowded.” The clusterfuck that is the Galleria experience – the driving, the parking, and the mindlessly weaving through crowds once inside – is like the experience of the Menil in the same way that linear algebra is like a glass of cranberry juice.

  • I live a mile from the Galleria and on many weekends, the traffic on Post Oak, Westheimer and San Felipe is absolutely gridlocked and there is no parking to be had anywhere. A friend who knows the Galleria very well tried to pick up a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for a party and it took her 45 minutes to find a garage that wasn’t full. Shannon is either going there during the week, early in the day or has secret parking knowledge. At least I can walk there.

    I’m proud to say that I regularly patronize all of the businesses mentioned in this post except for M&M Vacuum. May they all continue to live long and prosper.

  • @HHH

    That’s funny because it looks like quite a few of you inner-loopers are patronizing that brand spanking new Heights Wally World. I bet a few of y’all hit the galleria more than once a year too.

  • My brother came to town recently and needed me to pick him up (he was staying the night) after a friend dropped him off. He calls me at 5 on Friday and says “Ok so I’m over by…..what’s it called…oh yeah, the Galleria? Could you come get me?” I really had to think about the story of Cain and Able that day.

  • @Shannon….it’s really not that “fucking stupid”……….there actually is a whole lot of traffic in the galleria area. Not that “fucking stupid’ at all that someone might not like to subject themselves to tons of traffic, but I certainly wouldn’t expect anything out of you other than hate mongering. You suck the life out of every “fucking” post on here.

  • I too only go to the Galleria when absolutely necessary. The parking garages are extremely dirty,
    the parking garage stairwells extremely dirty and scary and often times lead only to a locked door.
    Very poor exit signage. No security ever apparent in the parking garages. Very scary.
    Why don’t they sell city hall? oh thats right they do that every day.

  • I love Southland. When I moved here, the movers lost the hardware to put my West Elm bed together. When I went to West Elm, they told me that they do not have the hardware at the store, but that Southland has it. They really do have almost everything.

  • @Bama
    Would I bet my life that I only go once a year. No. But does it leave a bad taste in my mouth every time I go. Yes. You clearly missed the point of my comment in being that most people I know don’t find either a pleasurable experience. Which is exactly what the author is suggesting.

  • With respect to going to the Galleria, everyone here is correct except Shannon.

  • My feelings on the Galleria are mixed. I really think we shortchange the urbanity of shopping malls. If you forget the crap around malls (the parking, four lane roads, lack of transit, etc…) they have a lot going for them as walkable urban environments. The Galleria in particular, with its office towers and hotels, and it’s coming condo towers, is a mixed use walkable urban environment. I wish more malls would go that route.
    But as a visitor, you can’t forget the crap around a mall. You have to fight through it to get to and from the mall. When I worked in the Galleria Tower II, of course I was there every day. I don’t think I’ve been to The Galleria since. It’s just not worth the heartburn. I’ve been to a mall since then once, I think – Memorial City. More heartburn. It’s soo much less of a pain in the ass to shop online. Heck, it’s less of a pain in the ass to go to an outdoor lifestyle center like Meyerland Plaza. I go there a lot. Even though lifestyle centers and their pad-site islands have none of the walkable urbanity of an enclosed shopping mall.

  • It’s true; the secret to making a visit to the Galleria tolerable (even *gasp* enjoyable) is to have a secret parking spot that’s always available. Like many commenters here, I hated going there. But when I finally found my spot, I no longer dread going there even on weekends! (Forget about about the holidays though….ain’t nobody got time for that).

    And no, I’m not telling any of you where it is.

  • Shannon’s right on this one. The Galleria is awesome if you know how to use it right (hint: Waterwall it every time). I would tell my secret parking spot location that’s well lit 24/7, has great mall circulation, convenient ingress/egress, and is never full but then it wouldn’t be a secret..

  • Okay judging from this lady’s favorite haunts we can assume she would be on of these ladies who would never drive to an East End Botanical Garden. That not withstanding, the easy living days of Inner Loop Houston are gone so just cherish the memory. I’ve never understood the mentality of ” oh I don’t go outside the Loop” or ” I never drive into Houston”. What’s the point of living in a big city or Metro area and not take advantage of all of its interesting locales? As far as The Galleria is concerned, it really isn’t that hard to navigate if you know what you are doing just avoid weekends, rush hour and the holidays if traffic freaks you out.

  • The “waterwall” parking garage is off Hidalgo and McCue the Nordstrom’s/Macy’s garage. Turn right on Hidalgo off post oak, or better yet take the Richmond/Hidalgo exit coming 610 south, go straight through the light, pass the waterwall on your right and then the garage on the corner. Anyone who comes in off Westheimer is crazy. You can come up Richmond Ave to Sage the back entrances. Yes, there is traffic, but not nearly as bad as from the front side. There’s traffic everywhere. Welcome to the city.

  • For anyone lamenting the loss of these type of old school independent businesses, how about a field trip to the east end? Martini hardware on Lawndale or better yet, Golfcrest Hardware on Telephone. You will get a better burger (and MUCH better fries) at the old City Café on College. Or try the old Dinner Bell at Wayside and Lawndale. That old school culture exists in spades over here, and with less traffic.

  • In spend every weekday a couple of blocks from the Galleria. It’s a blighted hellscape where you are trapped in your car watching traffic lights cycle. It takes me about the same length of time to get out of the Galleria area as it does to then get downtown.

    And the attraction is… A fucking shopping mall with the same stores you can go to in the middle of Ohio.

    It’s the worst place in Houston.

  • agreed, if you so value small old school independent businesses then please note these can still be found in large quantities throughout many sections of town such as the east end, south park, pasadena and other ilk. I can think of towns of businesses i grew up with in stinkadena that are still alive and kicking. if you choose to reside in the most affluent parts of town and deal with the entrappings that come with it, then I’m not sure why we have to be subjected to one rant after another about it all. the galleria area is still perfectly fine to go to (oh blessed San Felipe), just not during lunch/rush hours or on the weekends, which has always been the case.
    and this horrid traffic I keep hearing about, i’m still not seeing it. yes traffic is bad during rush hour, which has always been the case, but I’m not sure angels are going to be falling out of the sky just because it takes another minute or two to drive down kirby/yale/studemont/shepherd/whatever during peak times. i’ll admit i’m just as spoiled as everyone else that’s lived in the montrose for a while and now tend to avoid going out during the afternoon hours on the weekend, but that’s just a reflection of my own entitlements, not a sign that Houston is falling off a cliff. it’s just time for houston to start growing up and you have to expect these things to get much much worse before anything will get any better.

  • Galleria area a few Saturdays ago, and was actually amazed on how little traffic. Key, think like an old person. We got there first thing, had a no-wait early lunch at Katz – – and escaped back to the burbs before things “heated-up”…..

  • Don’t forget Doyles Pizza on 34th street. I believe they are almost 60 years old as well.
    It is time for the development boundaries to spread with the East End looking pretty ripe.
    I also see pressure for redevelopment in the northern part of the 3rd Ward between UH and mid town.

    I work in the Galleria and it’s not so bad as long as it doesn’t rain and there are no wrecks on the west loop, 1-10, 290, or 59 near the interchanges. Yes, there are days with none of the above.

  • The River Oaks theater changed their popcorn oil about 4 years ago and has changed their popcorn seed and upgraded their popcorn machines in the last couple of years. So Ms. Lipscomb might want to give it another try.

  • Go to the Galleria on any week night and the place is empty. Why anyone would want to subject themselves to any shopping mall on a weekend is beyond me.