09/30/14 12:00pm

Former Kuko's Taqueria, Future Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe, 3707 Irvington Blvd., Near Northside, Houston

Former Kuko's Taqueria, Future Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe, 3707 Irvington Blvd., Near Northside, HoustonThe Teotihuacán Mexican Café at the corner of Irvington and Cavalcade (now helpfully labeled “Festively adorned Tex-Mex restaurant” on Zagat-powered Google Maps) will be relocating a few blocks south once renovations to a structure the 3-restaurant chain’s owners purchased in late May can be completed. Kuko’s Taqueria shut down at 3707 Irvington Blvd., between Alber St. and Collingsworth, this past June. It appears some work on the interior is already taking place, notes reader Christopher Andrews.

Photos: Christopher Andrews

Going South
05/13/14 10:35am

Man Defecating on Sidewalk, Woodland Heights, Houston

Fiesta Mart, 1020 Quitman St., Near Northside, HoustonNote: Story updated below, with further detail.

A man suspected of pooping on the sidewalks and driveways of several homes in and around the intersection of Byrne St. and Helen in the Woodland Heights has been apprehended and taken into custody, a Houston Police Department spokesperson tells the Leader. The story of the Woodland Heights excrement attacks clogged up the internet last week, with stories of the repeated front-yard exploits reaching international and local news outlets around the globe — but only after a repeat victim went to teevee reporter Jennifer Bauer with surveillance footage from a camera hidden in a tree near her home. The captured images (above) of the man dubbed a “serial defecator” in various follow-on news reports appeared to show the perpetrator in the act.

Perhaps the most astounding aspect of the arrest: The public-pooping suspect was apprehended after he was found urinating — on a wall at the Fiesta Mart at Quitman and Fulton, according to the Leader report: “Police arrested the man, who appeared to be the same man as the one from Woodland Heights’ resident’s surveillance video, and charged him with public urination.

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Huge Relief
05/07/14 1:15pm

Yard Signs in Near Northside, Houston

Yard Signs in Near Northside, HoustonA couple of weeks after a flyer was distributed to residents near a lower section of the Near Northside north of Hogan St. and west of Main suggesting they oppose an application for minimum-lot-size restrictions in the area, a bunch of properties there have begun sporting signs that announce their residents’ support for the initiative, a reader who goes by the name Triton informs Swamplot.

And Triton sends along this on-the-street report:

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Vote Yes or No
04/29/14 1:00pm

Map on Minimum Lot Size Flyer, Near Northside, HoustonSwamplot reader Triton reports receiving a flyer urging people to oppose a minimum lot size designation for the area just north of Downtown shown in the map at right. The authors of the bright yellow flyer, written in English on one side and Spanish on the other, identify themselves only as “a group of very concerned property owners in this neighborhood,” but the text doesn’t include the names of any organization or individuals — only a Quitman St. return address and a phone number. “If you are within the marked boundary of the map below we want to inform you that there is a minimum lot size application currently being processed by the city of Houston,” the flyer reads. It encourages readers to oppose the application, because (it claims) “your land will potentially decrease in value,” and “it scares investors away.

Here’s the text portion of the flyer:

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Bright Yellow Concerns
04/24/14 12:00pm

800-booth-16

800-booth-01

Little White Oak Bayou meanders by the back of a property (and so do a couple of uh, hikers in the background of the top photo) located east of N. Main St. and about 3 sidewalk-lined blocks from the Metro rail station at Fulton St. Is the Northside property located in De Noyles, as indicated in the listing, or is it Booth North Main, as recorded by HCAD for all addresses on the block? The listing’s all-cap message is all about redeveloping the acre-plus lot of land, not the 1960 home that sits on it at the end of a long driveway (above). A month ago, the asking price dropped to $1.1 million. Since January (and in a previous listing dating back to September 2013) it had been sitting at $1.6 million. But even that was down a bit from someone’s expectations: In 2008, a six-month listing’s asking price kicked off at $2 million.

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Mind the Gap
04/15/14 1:15pm

Near Northside Residents Holding Tampico Heights Signs, Houston

A dust-up begun in the comments section of a Houstonia magazine article has blossomed into a mini-campaign to squash a recently coined neighborhood nickname. Two websites have now been created to document the curious internet history surrounding the recent appearance of the name Tampico Heights, and to demonstrate residents’ steadfast opposition to Heights name creep.

“From talking to dozens of Northsiders, it is not a name that anyone has heard used for the neighborhood,” a reader tells Swamplot. So the reader (lightheartedly signing emails as the Tampico Heights Redevelopment Authority) created a timeline site, documenting usage of the term “Tampico Heights” — in a manner that might make the founders of the OED proud — “in hopes that people who write about our neighborhood, or any neighborhood, make a practice of talking to residents, and not inventing things from google searches.”

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Battling ‘Heights’ Creep
11/05/13 3:45pm

There’s been a Metro train siting at the new Quitman station of the North Line extension, just south of the train’s turnoff from North Main, reader Joel Balderas reports. Unlike earlier appearances, the train appears to be operating under its own power. Here’s the photo evidence:

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09/24/13 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WITH OR WITHOUT LIGHT RAIL “I would dispute that the light rail has had any substantive quantitative impact on Houston’s development patterns, except to shuffle around the placement of some developments within a distance of several blocks. (That is to say, for instance, that downtown was destined to pick up a few big highrises over the last decade, but perhaps they were closer to Main rather than Allen Center.) A lot of people forget that the re-gentrification of the Heights took place over a span of decades — without light rail. The gentrification of 3rd Ward, the East End, and the Near Northside has been ongoing for a shorter period of time, and these neighborhoods simply aren’t as well-located as Rice Military — which also transformed without light rail. I would suggest that these neighborhoods are all destined for gentrification, that it will happen slowly because we’re talking about a huge geographic area — and that it would’ve happened with or without light rail, just as with other neighborhoods. I might be swayed if it were the case that some meaningful number of people move to Houston because it has light rail, but aside from some extremely narrow subset of people, that strikes me as bullshit. It’s not an effective economic development tool, and certainly not without zoning (which I also oppose).” [TheNiche, commenting on A First Look at the Strip Center-and-Apartments Combo That Could Go Up Between UH and TSU] Illustration: Lulu

09/05/13 12:00pm

As many as 8 new bike-sharing stations could open inside the Loop in the next 2 weeks. Will Rub, director of Houston B-Cycle, tells Swamplot that permits are in hand and the bikes forthcoming for these 5 stations: Spotts Park, at 401 S. Heights Blvd; the intersection of Taft and Fairview, at 2401 Taft St.; the Menil Collection, at 1529 W. Alabama St.; Leonel Castillo Community Center, which is undergoing a restoration at 2109 South St.; and the intersection of Milam and Webster, at 2215 Milam St.

And Rub adds that 3 other locations are just waiting for their permits: Stude Park, at 1031 Stude St., and 2 others east, for the first time, of the Southwest Fwy.: Settegast Park at Garrow and Palmer in the Second Ward, and Project Row Houses at Holman and Live Oak in the Third Ward. Rub expects those to be ready to roll September 19th or 20th.

Photo of station at Lamar and Milam: Reddit user txsupernova

07/02/13 11:10am

RADICAL EATS REPLACING LOWER WESTHEIMER’S PULLED-OUT ROOTS The Near Northside vegan dive Radical Eats is closing and relocating across town to the recently closed Roots Bistro on Westheimer, reports Gastronaut Katherine Shilcutt. (Roots closed in early June after some bungling of its marquee.) Shilcutt adds that Radical Eats owner Staci Davis sees the move to this less “scruffy” space as a chance expand her menu to include dishes that use meat, cheese, and eggs, a culinary move not without consequence: “She admitted that some of her diehard vegan customers were furious with her decision, even calling in to a radio show she was appearing on as a guest and lambasting her on-air. ‘What are you going to do?’ she asked, with a rhetorical shoulder shrug.” [Culturemap; Gastronaut; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 507 Westheimer: Allyn West

05/30/13 2:30pm

Overlooking Hogg Park and White Oak Bayou, the old Robert E. Lee Elementary school is being renovated into a community center for the Near Northside. The school was designed by Alfred C. Finn and dates to 1919 and 1920, though it’s been vacant in this historic district since 2002. Architecture firm PGAL is preserving 3 of the building’s walls and decorative geegaws as well as the arched entryway that faces South St.; new space for what’s been named the Leonel J. Castillo Community Center is being built out the back, as this photo shows.

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12/28/11 11:37am

Reader Heidi Hagen’s photos of construction on the North Line along N. Main St. north of UH-Downtown show the new bridge that’s “popped up outta nowhere” around Hogan St. No, there’s no rainbow at the north end of Downtown, but if you look carefully from the right far vantage point can see the elevated concrete and steel construction that’ll be carrying an extension to the existing rail line over the Union Pacific railroad tracks to further points north: Lindale Park, the Northline Transit Center, and 6 other newly named stations. More bridge pix from earlier in the month:

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10/05/11 12:50pm

A reader sends in this photo showing the results of a recent heavy metal delivery to the median of Fulton St. across from Moody Park: Rails, for the coming 5.3-mile North Line extension to Lindale Park. Swamplot’s Northside construction correspondent reports the street appears paved and ready for the tracks to be installed.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

08/15/11 6:19pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LOOKING FORWARD TO MISSING YOU TOO “It’s weird to think that Rice Village had, at various times, a porn theater, a reggae bar, and a former gas station converted into a barbeque place called the Poor Man’s Country Club. A lot of the funkiness has gone, but that’s what the residents in the vicinity want. It’s an upscale neighborhood–and that tends to push out some of the more marginal businesses. But new funky neighborhoods are always coming into existence, so while I mourn the disappearance of great, unique neighborhood businesses, I welcome new ones elsewhere. Who knows — 20 years from now, Radical Eats might be a beloved neighborhood institution in a gentrifying neighborhood.” [Robert Boyd, commenting on Po’ Boys Priced Out of the Village]