Calling for Nominations for Houston’s Most Recognizable Neighborhood

Earlier today we introduced a new category to this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, which means 5 of them have now been opened for your nominations: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, Best Houston Transplant, the Ground-Floor Retail Award, and Houston’s Least Recognizable Neighborhood. And now we’re ready to introduce the sixth category. If you guessed that it’s for Houston’s Most Recognizable Neighborhood, go ahead and give yourself an award.

Imagine you were driven blindfolded to some portion of the greater Houston region, then had the blindfold removed and had to guess where you were based on what you could now see. What neighborhood would have the most obvious characteristics, clues, and tells? And what are they? Or do you have a different idea about this category? What makes a neighborhood recognizable, and which one around these parts has that quality in spades?

Tell us the neighborhood you’d like to nominate for this award in the comments section below or through Swamplot’s tip line; be sure to include convincing explanations for your choice. The most compelling, clever, or entertaining nominations will have the best chance of making the final ballot. Again, nominees need not be located strictly inside Houston’s municipal boundaries.

You have until midnight next Tuesday, December 10, to suggest nominees. You’ll find all the rules for the nominating process here. What’ve you got?

The 2013 Swampies

22 Comment

  • 1. Old 6th Ward

    2. Hieghts

    3. River Oaks

  • I see a lot of museums and townhouses. It must be the museum district..ahem, Museum Park.

  • Old Sixth Ward. It has defined boundaries, no trying to figure out if you are in the woodland, sunset or o.g. section. The style of home is consistent and will remain so with the historical preservation ordinances. The brick sidewalks help tie everything together.

  • Piney Point Village…tall trees, large homes on even larger lots, cul de sacs, aggressive police force. More or less the same since I moved here 25 years ago.

  • Originally I thought the Heights, but the more I think about it Chinatown is the most recognizable neighboorhood. Put me in a huge stripmall with all chinese characters, foot massage spas, acupuncture/herbal places, Chinese restaurants teeming with actual asians eating……and viola, its Chinatown (along Bellaire Blvd)

  • East End: There are GEEM signs and trash cans all over the place

  • Chinatown is good, but this category is a no-brainer. It’s River Oaks. Period. If, for some reason, you don’t know what River Oaks looks like immediately, then just turn up your car stereo a decibel over a whisper, roll down your window, and the kind folks with the River Oaks Patrol will be with you in moments letting you know that you don’t belong there.

    Heights? Which one? Woodland Heights? Independence Heights? ‘Greater’ Heights?

    Chinatown? There is a lot of Chinatown that isn’t actually IN ‘Chinatown’. Same goes for ‘Little Vietnam’.

    Old Sixth Ward? The only way you can tell you aren’t in the Heights is either by the loud freeway noise. No wait, that isn’t it. Perhaps the court injunction you get if you try to tear down a dilapidated house. Nope, that isn’t it either…

  • Midtown – The place where you can bump into drifters at a rail stop as you walk between Vietnamese restaurants, high-end shops and the quirky businesses of mid-Main. The Vietnamese street signs are a big clue, too.

  • Andoni is right about the Old 6th Ward. But I will mix it up a bit. Norhill is the only neighborhood in Houston that has craftsman bungalows with most of the original elevations preserved and restored thanks to deed restrictions and the historic district. Almost no humper houses. No New Charlestorlean boxes. No McVics. No town homes. When you look up and down each block, you just see nice little porches lined up like little toy soldiers.

  • Or perhaps the Galleria area – Home to huge metal arches, fancy bus shelters, luxury high-rise condo buildings, office towers, spaceship-looking circular metal street signs and one of the few places in Houston that coughed up the cash to bury/hide its electricity lines.

  • I really like your nomination, Adam, and it’s nice to see something that isn’t inside the loop that is so recognizable and distinct. I remember the days when my parents would drag me there for Sunday lunch and grocery shopping before dumping us off at Chinese school. That part of town hasn’t changed except for the recent nightmarish construction on Bellaire Blvd.

  • agreed, Bellaire/Chinatown or uptown for me with the caveat of gnoring any obvious shopping districts, protected historical districts or the easy to identify neighborhoods of massive wealth.. hard to think of as a native since i could recognize most all parts of town easy enough, but there’s not enough character in the ‘trose to easily identify it against the heights/east end these days and with the massive influx of townhomes most of all the inner loop has the potential to look like a lot of other inner loop hoods. makes me wonder if the cars on the road are a better proxy for what neighborhood you’re in rather than the surrounding homes. too many variables in the price of a home based on location, but cars are a pretty consistent economic indicator in this city.

  • Downtown. ’nuff said.

  • What? No Glenbrook Valley love? 1/3 Jetsons, 2/3 ranchburger with a side order of burglar bars? Mod friends, I kid. ;-)

  • If River Oaks is there, then so should Riverside Terrace and the Third Ward. A lot of the homes have the same builders.

  • I had some out-of-town visitors once staying in a hotel in the Galleria, and when they got there they called and said “We’re downtown.”

  • It needs to be someplace “ugly,” to align with all the “ugly” designations thrown at us this year. I nominate the swath of poverty, shacks, drugs and crime stretching from downtown north and east all the way to Greenspoint. I call it the 13th Ward.

  • As an innerlooper, I nominate any neighborhood outside of the loop… aka the burbs. From Pearland, to the Woodlands, to Sugarland, to the Energy Corridor, to Clear Lake, to Kingwood… no matter where you go outside the loop it is all the same. If I were blindfolded and then had it removed… I’d see fast food, Walmart, same typical suburban homes, a fake entry fountain, probably some fake lakes, lots of gates, stucco, and an SUV with a faded Rick Perry bumper sticker and other stickers of each family member (including the dog). I would immediately know where I wasn’t.

  • And the snarkiness continues… Aka the comments here on Swamplot….Love all of you jaded,cynical urbanites… Gives me a warm glow ….

  • I have been following the development of the Eastside..or EaDo…It is in the early stages of becoming the next hipster camp…if it hasn’t become that already…although the majority of the areas still looks pretty run down..its just a matter of time before it cleans up…Land owner have caught on and are asking ridiculouse amounts…hopefully it doesn;t scare away potential develper..Love my neighborhood though, Meadowcreek Village…but I wanted to nominate another good candidate..

  • Brian,
    I am also an inner looper and I have discovered the vast diversity that is Houston Fuori i Muri (outside the 610). I think what you stated “fast food, Walmart, same typical suburban homes, a fake entry fountain, probably some fake lakes, lots of gates, stucco, and an SUV with a faded Rick Perry bumper sticker and other stickers of each family member” is true of many outside the loop neighborhoods on the west side, this is a gross mistatement.

    Outside the loop: Chinatown, Koreatown, Far eastside (channelside), even Greenspoint have cultures that are vastly differnt than what you describe. Houston is a big place. There are neighborhoods in the SW that are mostly Nigerian. You can get crawfish pho and begnets along I-10 and Bunker Hill.

  • Downtown. No question. The BOA building is iconic.