Comment of the Day: Top Houston Punch Lines

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TOP HOUSTON PUNCH LINES Laughing Monkey“If an out-of-towner wanted to make fun of Houston, there are a multitude of easier targets than the Rothko Chapel. Just the drive in from the airport on I-45 will give any out-of-towner loads of risible material.” [Robert Boyd, commenting on Sniffing Out the Subtle Secrets of the Rothko Chapel] Illustration: Lulu

16 Comment

  • Out of towers make fun of Houston because they’re jealous.
    People from New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Fansisco hate that we can actually afford to buy houses in our town. “We’re reduced to renting tiny apartments, long subway rides from work — how dare those HOUSTONIANS live like kings in nice houses!” They say. People from Detroit, Cleveland, and other shrinking cities hate they we have jobs. “I haven’t had a full time job in four years — and those HOUSTONIANS have more work than they can do!” They say.
    Houston isn’t a City to visit. Houston is a City to live in. Come here and you’ll find a good job with a fair salary, and a good house to live in, they you can afford. Sure we have art museums and sports venues and all of that – but they’re meant for us to enjoy on the the weekends. They’re very respectable when you think of them that way.

  • Tell me what major city’s (sub)urbanized periphery looks so much better than Houston’s.*

    *I have driven through almost every major city east of the Rockies, so I will be able to call you on that shit.

  • Yes, I’m sure people in NYC, Boston, and San Francisco are just SO jealous of our quality of life. Come on… there’s a reason those cities are so much more expensive than Houston. They’re much more appealing as places to live. And I’m sure lots of Houstonians would kill to be able to ride the subway to work instead of sitting in traffic. It’s true Houston is cheaper and has a robust economy, though.

  • No, I understand ZAW’s point, it gets old that Swamplot picks so many of these hate letters to Houston as C of D. This was a lazy, not very nuanced observation, as if 45 is the ugliest artery in America and that no other city has a freeway like this coursing thru it. People from other cities are jealous of our economy and our low housing costs no doubt, but yeah, all things being equal I’m sure most would select SF over Houston. On many levels Houston is a great place to live and people are too quick to denounce the city as if it’s Lagos. Anyway, I get the feeling this comment was picked so LuLu could add a money to his/her/its repetoir.

  • Monkey***—stupid auto correct

  • I’m sure that for a small class of elites, the coastal hubs are much nicer places to live. But for the vast majority of people who do most of the working and paying and living and dying in those towns, Houston would provide them a much better lifestyle at a much lower cost. To paraphrase a famous lender: is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, Houston doesn’t think so.

  • If you believe in the free marketplace, it’s fairly clear that one of the reasons ( out of many) that real estate in San Francisco, Boston, Manhattan, and Seattle is so expensive is that more people want to live in those cities, thus increasing demand, and then prices. Houston is cheaper because there’s more available land to build upon, but also because less people are inclined to live here ( at least those who have a choice in the matter).

  • @ShadyHeightster Actually it is pretty widely agreed that restrictive land use controls make housing more expensive (, for just a few examples. While those areas are desirable to some, overwhelming low cost, low regulation cities are experiencing growth and significant net domestic inmigration, while high cost, high regulation cities tend to experience population loss, or net outmigration (

  • ZAW, not too many people I know from CA, WA, MA, etc. are jealous of Houston. They all love where they live. Many of them dislike the politics and high taxes of their respective areas, though. Nevertheless, they love the climate, outdoors, etc. Many of my friends in their 30s don’t live in palatial homes, but their modest homes are worth of fair amount (usually $600K+). To be fair, I do know others who still don’t own homes and feel like it’s very difficult because to purchase a decent home for under $1M (e.g., Silicon Valley).
    Houston has improved, that’s for sure. It still is rough around the edges in many parts and has far too many strip malls courtesy of its frontage roads. As a West coast transplant myself, I love living in the city. If you were to force me to live in the Houston suburbs, though…I’d leave town most likely because I find them to be ugly and boring. Sugar Land and The Woodlands are my preferred Houston suburbs, if I had to pick some, but I still have little desire to move outside the loop.

  • @Christian Uhhhh. Why would I care if someone preferred my quality of life over theirs? Why do people assume that everyone wants to live in NYC, Boston, Seattle, Portland, etc.? Yeah, they’re appealing in the sense that I would love to visit/travel, but I’m perfectly happy and content with my life here in Houston.
    I just got back from NYC, and I had one of the most annoying, pain in the ass commutes. Aside from walking a mile in brutal Houston-like summer weather with sweat pouring out of every orifice, my subway ride from the Bronx was at least 1 hour each way while waiting ~10 minutes in an underground steambox. Would I rather be on a subway than drive? Yeah, but I’d prefer not commuting at least 2 hours in ANY city and would be perfectly happy commuting on a Metro bus.
    After a week, I was ready to come home and resume my life back home. My life here is pretty damned good. And it was nice not walking through the sea of garbage, being to able to eat at a nice restaurant without eradicating my restaurant budget for the rest of the month, and sitting on my front porch with coffee while enjoying the peace and quiet.
    I used to hate living here, but after being able to get a job after college (vs. catering gig/random writing gigs/additional moonlighting working retail – which many of my friends still do), scraping hard to buy my first house, and being able to put away some funds for retirement while occasionally traveling, it’s super hard to hate.

  • I used to groan and grouch about Houston’s ugly sprawl and wished that the city would be more like its culturally and aesthetically superior East and West Coast brethren. But with all the recent growth, I have come to realize that Houston is really a blank canvass, despite being home to over 6 million people and sprawling out for 30-40 miles in every direction. NY, Boston and San Fran are what they are. They will have to spend more energy just on maintaining quality of life and do not have much of an opportunity to become something new and better. But in Houston, the next ten years will be transformational. While there are never any guarantees in a city that is subject to the boom and bust cycles of the oil industry, I would take living in Houston over any other great US metropolis just for the chance to see the transformation take place.

  • @coconutbutter
    You may prefer riding the subway but in nearly every city in America outside of NYC (specifically manhattan) it’s going to take you longer than if you were driving. Mass transit may be a lot of things but one thing it is not is faster.

    Otherwise I agree with your assessment of Houston.

  • I know we hate being stuck in car traffic and like the idea of riding public transportation to work, but it isnt always as rosy as we think. Rush-hour is rush-hour no-mater if you are in your car on 45 on on the subway. What kinda of traffic do you prefer? Bumper to bumper in your car with AC and your music, or butt to butt with a homeless lady shouting obscenities?

  • @Txcon – I wasn’t slagging on people who preferred driving or suggested that it was faster. I was explaining how it was a pain in the ass to take the subway in NY, and how it still took forever: 2 mile roundtrip walk to the station, plus 2 hour roundtrip commute on the train. Driving definitely would’ve been faster. (Another instance where it would be faster: getting from SoHo to Williamsburg. By train, it was *ridiculous.*)
    Someone mentioned awhile ago that public transport should never be solely perceived to reduce cars on the road or to improve traffic flow, but rather, it gave people choices/options. I agree with this sentiment.

  • @coconutbutter sorry I misunderstood. Sounds like we are saying the same thing.

  • ZAW highjacked the point of the original comment.

    As a native Houstonian, I love our city and it’s vitality and quirks. But, we must admit that the drive down from IAH yields a first impression of a city that seems to be crumbling and overthrown with weeds. I think Houston is a city filled with lush greenery and tree-lined streets, but that depressing North Frwy drive is all concrete and dirty and the aging freeway seems to press on you from all sides.

    While it’s not a priority for our city, we must admit something must be done to show our best face to those that must experience Houston for the first time from the freeway (Hardy is worse, Eastex is the most pleasant). Like Old School said, though, I know our city is changing and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.