Aerosol artist Enrique Figueroa Jr. — also known as Gonzo247 — is about 3 months into his work on a new version of the Rebirth of Our Nationality mural that once faced Canal St. between Norwood and Linwood streets in the East End. Leo Tanguma’s original 1973 work faded over time and was whitewashed last summer. He’s now providing Figueroa with some remote assistance on the redo.
Leo Tanguma‘s 240-ft.-long, 70-character 1973 mural slowly peeling from the southern facade of the former Continental Can Company warehouse in the East End (pictured above in 2013) was whitewashed over the summer. Mario Enrique Figueroa Jr. — better known to Houstonians as Gonzo247 — is now hard at work on the Chicano-art landmark’s replacement: creating with a small crew a mural of the same name, size, location, characters, and intention. These recent photos show the progress so far:
HOUSING AUTHORITY READY TO DEMOLISH MORE THAN A THIRD OF CLAYTON HOMES AFTER HARVEY FLOODING 112 of the 296 apartments at Clayton Homes have been deemed “uninhabitable” by its owner, the Houston Housing Authority, which is now seeking to demolish them. The affordable-housing complex tucked between Hwy. 59 and Buffalo Bayou north of Runnels St. in the northwest corner of the East End was flooded after Hurricane Harvey; subsequent investigations conducted by local researchers led by the New York Times and by the authority found numerous health and safety problems in the residences, including festering mold and high levels of E. coli. Submitting a demolition request for those units allowed the authority to receive and distribute “tenant protection vouchers” that will allow their residents to relocate to any voucher-accepting unit in the city, a spokesperson for the agency says: “Since Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage to many of HHA’s public housing properties, housing options within HHA’s public housing program are now exhausted, which is why residents are receiving vouchers.” The agency says it is also helping Clayton Homes residents not eligible for the vouchers as well to find new homes — with relocation assistance services and one-time payments — and that it is refunding rents collected for periods when homes in the complex were uninhabitable. Photo: Apartments.com
The new bar planned for the 20,878-sq.-ft. warehouse at 3229 Navigation Blvd. in Houston’s East End that earlier this decade was home to Fred’s Trailer Truck Supply will be called Straylight Run and serve — according to its promoters — as Houston’s first-ever “Virtual Reality Bar.” That’s the conclusion of some internet sleuthing by HAIF (and Swamplot) commenter CrockpotandGravel, who after seeing Swamplot’s report on the alcohol license procured for the spot at the corner of Navigation and Engelke tracked down the establishment’s website, a (possibly spurned) logo proposal, and Instagram feed.
What’s happening at the corner of Navigation Blvd. and Engelke in the East End? A mix of alcohol and demolition: Mixed beverage, late-night, and beverage cartage permits were issued by the TABC last month to a yet-to-be-opened establishment named Straylight in the 20,878-sq.-ft. metal warehouse building with the brick front at 3229 Navigation Blvd. This spot is 4 blocks down the street from Ninfa’s, just past where Navigation starts to curve east toward Buffalo Bayou. Adjacent to that property, excavators are finishing up their work demolishing the former General Supply & Equipment Co. building at 3203 Engelke St.
The newly vacant lot now spreads just to the north of the building where Straylight is planned, as shown in these photos taken by Swamplot reader Johnny Mann Jr.:
The HAR listing for the home at 5116 Avenue H in the Second Ward, for sale for $99,990, identified the property’s subdivision as MEX Y CAN. Which seemed notable enough in the rapidly changing neighborhood for the curious name to appear as discussion fodder yesterday on Reddit. The subdivision name is accurate, appearing on county tax records: The property’s developer was required to give a name to the subdivision when the single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot on which it stood (at the time part of a subdivision named Engel) was divided into thirds last year, in order to allow him to sell off individually the 3 existing homes on the property. “Actually no one had any comments [on the name] at the time of replatting,” the developer notes.
MEX Y CAN, the name he assigned to the subdivision, “is for the name Mexican and (Y in Spanish) Canadian,” he explains to Swamplot. “The love of my life is Mexican and I am Canadian. . . . There is no other meaning or significance behind it.” The motivation for choosing this particular name? “Having myself, the love of my life, and our desire to be memorialized in the area for eternity like our love.”
The Greater East End Management District is taking its latest graffiti-blasting weapon to the streets. In the video demo above, workers from the GEEMD’s graffiti abatement team are shown taking out the tagging on the limestone front of the Longhorn Building at 3176 Navigation Blvd. last month. The new equipment is a mobile blaster from Houston’s own Dustless Blasting, which uses a high-pressure stream of recycled glass and water to remove paint and other finishes.
The system is used primarily for refinishing cars and boats, but it appears to work rather quickly on graffiti too: Back in March, the manufacturer showed off this promotional vid for its own attack on another east-side site: the former Waddell Housefurnishing Company buildings on Sampson St. between Rusk and McKinney on the eastern border of East Downtown, slated to become the Sampson Lofts:
For the second time in 6 months, the original Ninfa’s at 2704 Navigation has a brand new parking lot surface. The owners hope this one will last a whole lot longer than the sog-prone crushed-limestone install that crews replaced prematurely last week (see photo above). “There were potholes everywhere,” declares a press release put out by the manufacturer of its replacement. Here’s a pic of how it looked before (found-in-place jalapeño included for scale and local flavor):
There’s a busted pipe hanging under the Gulf Fwy. overpass as it crosses Brays Bayou, just east of Telephone Rd. and south of Idylwood in the East End. The pics shown here were taken late yesterday afternoon, though some sort of liquid had been seen dripping from the break at various points over the weekend.
Grassy remnants of last week’s high water on Brays Bayou can still be seen hanging from various points along the pipe’s length:
The colorful team behind the beer-and-hot-dog hangout Moon Tower Inn has plans to open a much larger and meatier restaurant a couple blocks northeast of its spot on Canal St. in the East End. A new “Proper Texas BBQ and Watering Hole” will go into a warehouse-turned-auto-repair-shop at 3125 Navigation Blvd., a few blocks down the street from Ninfa’s and El Tiempo, sometime in 2016, according to a post on the Moon Tower Inn’s Facebook page. Its name: B.R. Young’s Lost Indian.
REIGN OF NEW EAST END FARMERS MARKET ON THE NAVIGATION ESPLANADE BEGINS THIS SUNDAY Local veggie standouts Finca Tres Robles and the Last Organic Outpost will be among the 35 vendors on hand on April 12th for the inaugural East End farmers’ market on the Navigation Blvd. esplanade (pictured here), across from the original Ninfa’s. The East End Foundation, the event’s nonprofit sponsor, says it’ll be the first farmers market in Houston to accept electronic food stamps. The market will run every Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm at 2800 Navigation; strolling mariachis will kick of this weekend’s grand opening, to be answered by a few sets from Sister Sister y Los Misters. Also available: meats from Texas T Kobe Beef and Al Marcus’s Grateful Bread. Photo: East End Foundation