Oh Yeah? 19th St. Parklet Promoters Troll Outraged Swamplot Commenters with Dramatic Readings, Mountain Dew-Fueled Sit-In

Did the tiny bench-and-planters installation now parked in front of a Heights mattress store strike a nerve for some Swamplot readers? Judging from the comments section for some of Swamplot’s coverage of the project, that certainly does appear to be the case. But it looks like the PR firm charged with promoting the city of Houston’s first officially permitted parklet is set on tapping that nerve as if it were a gold mine. The video above, just posted to YouTube by the Black Sheep Agency, shows purported actual Heights residents performing dramatic readings of Swamplot readers’ more entertaining comments about the parklet, which now blocks access to what was formerly a single angled, head-in parking space in front of the firm’s client, the New Living Bedroom store at 321 W. 19th St. (New Living paid for construction of the parklet and is responsible for maintaining it, according to an agreement with the city, which considers the effort a pilot program.)

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Parklet, 321 W. 19th St., Houston Heights

Some of those comments, it should be noted, were clearly made with a sense of outrage at the project, which was inaugurated in a ceremony last week attended by Mayor Parker and a couple of city councilmembers. But a few other submissions appear to have been tongue-in-cheek. That distinction may be lost in the video, but in return viewers are treated to a few choice enactments of reader suggestions for what to do in the space.

Video: The Black Sheep Agency. Photo: Adam Brackman

Tempest in a Heights Parking Space

41 Comment

  • Pretty funny. But still there’s been no answer to my first query: “Can hobos sleep in it?”

    Is this public space? If I sleep there, will I be rousted by cops or mattress salespeople?

  • 1) Love the video
    2) Indifferent on Parklet
    3) I don’t know that interviewing hipsters walking around in the middle of the workday is the best way to communicate that your community project is ‘cool’.
    4) The Doritos and Mountain Dew comment is still making me laugh.

  • That’s awesome! Can’t wait to see the video about the comments on the video about the comments on the parklet!

  • This is why property taxes MUST GO UP! We must pay politically connected contractors (in this
    case a PR firm) to produce meaningless “product” . . . SWAMPIES: lets guess the true cost of
    awarding this contract, producing the spot, posting it, monitoring it etc. I think the agency and the
    City of H bureaucracy cost comes in at only $8,500.

  • If you like this thing, then yes, definitely, Get Yourself Tested.

  • Why are the “Men in Black” there?
    What’s going on?

  • How many of the folks that were reading these comments are actually from the Heights? Seriously folks, stop f……. up the Heights vibe.

  • Is it normal for people to get mad whenever their city does nice things? Man, living in America is fucking weird.

  • Ha! They actually quoted my comment (UN 21/parking space sovereignty). But I was making fun of all the stupid stick in the mud comments that had already gone up declaring the parklet to be the root of all evil.

    The parklet is great. It is nice to have a spot where you can sit and have an ice cream or taco. They should do another one on 19th.

  • That’s a lot of derision coming from dudes wearing t-shirts in the middle of a week day.

  • Ok, that was kinda funny. You have to give them credit for finding the humor in the absurdity of this dumbass parklet. The people they used did look like The Heights, for the most part. Well, really they should have given Swamplot credit, they were obviously reading from the comment page. I noticed how they ommited things like the humidity and heat, the noise and smell of asphalt and exhaust. Really, this parklet is about the fucking most assine, Douchy concept ever. It’s so absurd to sit in a parking lot, in the middle of summer in Houston. It makes The Heights look ridiculous, like some lame Austin or Portland stereotype of the vegan white dork who drives a hybrid Prius and lived in a solar house on wheels. I don’t even have to see the kind of people who would think this was grand, I met them all in freshman Philosophy at UT.

  • There is no need to be upset!!!!!!!!

  • They did encourage folks to read more comments on Swamplot so I guess they did give some credit where credit is due. I’ll never believe that thing is taking up only ONE parking space. If it’s not two, surely it’s one & a half.

  • You want meta? I’ll play: I just posted a Chronicle story about the Swamplot story about the parklet video about the Swamplot comments about the parklet. The micro-park melee http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Muttering-about-a-micro-park-5631404.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=fb5829de14d90d0955

  • I vote Shannon for comment of the day.

  • its a good idea…they need to keep rebuilding the heights…I never understood how these stupid NIMBY hipsters get their panties in a bunch when people make the heights or houston for that matter better…last time I checked the heights still has a lotta of parts that still look like a crappy rural small town you would find somewhere between dallas and houston….and if developers want to change that look Im all for it….NIMBY hipsters and yuppies will whine about everything

  • actually, the parklet takes up 1 parking space and uses excess area that was not being used because of the light post bulb out adjacent to it.

  • The people who organized the Heights Parklet Reading should now do one at Common Bond, to commemorate the 45-minute Croissant Line. Come on hipsters! Start a new trend in Houston!

  • Say NO to communism, say NO to parklets!

  • Elseed–this parklet is frequented by these exact NIMBY “hipsters” you’re talking about. Your comment makes no sense. This isn’t a developement, it’s an open air shanty/shack that looks like it was built by a Boy Scout working his was up to Eagle (I can assure you my Eagle project was far superior to this “Craplet”).

  • Funny video. Some people get upset over anything new and different. I see no harm with this in a city so blotted with parking spaces and concrete.

  • @shannon congrats on your awesome eagle scout project!

  • I hope Swamplot’s advertising sales force is hitting up Jeff Kaplan for all this advertising for his mattress store.

  • You HAVE GOT to BE KIDDING me… That is 2.5 minuets of my life I’ll never get back! Check this thing out again and look at how off the craftsmanship and execution/detailing of the construction is… If anyone was SERIOUS about green space in this city, they would have turned that heat sink of an asphalt roof into a community green roof garden!

    Just saying?! When the Econ takes a giant dump again, we will see what real blue-collar working class Houstonians have to offer… Hipsters?! Take your skinny jean, baby smooth hands back to the West Coast!!

  • love the diversity of houston reflected in the video!

  • I think it’s cute, quirky, Heights.

  • As soon as some non hipster-Black or Hispanic person decides to camp out that douche with the 90.1 shirt will stay 100 feet away and the mattress store will call the “authorities”.

  • I think the video is as stupid as the parklet. I also think parklet is a stupid word. Hell, all Wal Mart has to do is throw a bench in a traffic island and voila, parklet! And the next time one of you You Tube producers wants to use my lines, for crying’ out loud, read’em as I wrote’em!

  • Dear Shannon, thank you! Blush*. If you use Memorial Park, you’ve probably used it! Your Welcome!

  • Get a grip people, it’s only a park bench. Still room to park a few hipster scooters or Smart cars.

  • So disappointing how poorly this “parklett” AND it’s publicity stunt follow-up was executed. All of it is so contrived in the most depressing, egotistical way.

  • Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!

    And my comment got read. Awesome.

  • Instead of this “shake your head” installation, I’d rather see 40 more of those big ass art lawn chairs that are on Heights Blvd spread around the neighborhood. You could park a Tahoe in those things! Think about the possible locations that would be great for those chairs. MAM’s (slow as hell), Post office on 11th (see MAM’s), Coltivaire in the garden (with a drink), on the bike trail (resting/people watching), Yale and 7th (bike path crossing guard), Stude Park (watch the fireworks), all the other parks, neutral ground on Heights, etc.

    Businesses should sponsor these and decorate according to their vibe.

  • Someone at Black Sheep must watch Jimmy Kimmel Live — Mean Tweets rip off.

  • Happy in the Heights,
    I’m with you on that, those things are freaking awesome. I would at least like to see some some benches periodically along the bike trail. I’ve been tempted to build some pallet furniture and place it out along the trail, but i’m sure it would be either stolen or the city would remove it almost immediately.

    The ‘parklet’ is pretty cool, it gives people a place to sit on their phones and not block the flow of traffic on the sidewalk.

    People commenting about wearing a t-shirt during the day in the middle of the week… uhm.. it doesn’t get dark till after 8… if you live nearby is it that hard to believe someone could come home from their day job, change and go grab a bite or some organic bedding?

  • I like the parklet idea and maybe I’ll get an ice cream cone and sit in it someday, but what nincompoops think deck seating, artificial shade and a planter with pearlite laden potting soil and non-native plant species are “part of the natural environment”? Apparently those same mischievous meddlesome merrymakers have to fabricate a controversy to get noticed. It worked. Much ado about nothing.

  • I too vote for Shannon for comment of the day.

  • They made a park like this on Parks and Rec!

  • As a business owner and a proponent of thoughtful growth, I think the issue is the mixed message sent by the city. I would welcome a parklet in front of my business rather than have to pay for the ever-increasing number of parking spots mandated by COH to maintain my certificate of occupancy. As it stands now, if I installed a parklet in one of the many spaces the city requires my business to maintain, I would be in violation of the COH transportation policy and stand to lose my occupancy certificate.

    Just down the street, less than a year ago Coltivare fought an enormous battle with the city to have a garden instead of a parking lot (http://myemail.constantcontact.com/COLTIVARE-PARKING-VARIANCE—THE-HOME-STRETCH.html?soid=1105463547944&aid=lAQxn9I_5M4).

    And the year before that, bar and restaurant association OKRA fought long and hard with the city over increases in parking requirements (http://houston.eater.com/tags/parking-wars).

    I hope the parklet is a sign that city policy is moving towards favoring green space over parking lots.

  • I own the building next door to New Living (where Jubilee is located) and I think this is the most ridiculous idea any one ever had. This Kaplan guy obviously is NOT “in the know” about how the shop owners feel about the parking problem. We have fought to have “2-Hour Parking” signs taken down so that our customers wouldn’t have to worry about getting tickets, and Adrian Garcia is the only councilman who ever really helped us. New Living has been on the street, what – a little over a year and is making changes that affect the entire street. There is a concrete area that juts out in front of my building (325) that they could have used for this purpose that would not have taken up a space as it is already there. So why is it in front of his place rather than elsewhere? Is this just “his” project and is that why it is in front of “his” place. And then for the mayor to come out and make a big deal out of it – what a bad use of her time! I have a bench under an awning right next door – do they really think that people want to sit in the hot sun to rest? Why didn’t they just place some plants out front and a bench instead of taking up a “much valued’” parking space? Did Mr. Kaplan bother to talk to the other residents on the street before doing this – no!!! I say “remove it”! It’s ridiculous!

  • I don’t see this as an issue of using a single parking space as a park. After all, we lost a few lanes of main Street to make a pedestrian walkway. The issue is that this business is getting city sponsored advertising because of an EYESORE. Let’s face it, this is no park. This is something that blocks bikes as they go down the street. And, the silly looking cones in front of it that deface the neighborhood now. Put that thing in front of your own house. We got this thing in the Heights because the majority of residents dislike Ed Gonzales, Cohen, and Mayor Porker, and this is a way for them to pay us back.