Sure, drone footage is great. But how often do you get to see 3 flying laboratories survey the breadth of Houston’s sprawl from this high up?
The trio of WB-57s shown surveying a hazy Houston in the video above are based at Ellington Field. The fleet is part of NASA’s WB-57 High Altitude Research Program, which regularly conducts scientific research and testing. Among its missions: mapping, collection of cosmic dust, support of rocket launches, and flights over hurricanes, including recent storms Joaquin and Patricia. Eerie faded-Emerald-City scenes of Downtown, the Galleria, the Med Center, and other vertical standouts unfold beneath the wingtips. The flight, which took place before Thanksgiving (but for which footage was only posted to YouTube this week) marks the first time since the early 1970s that 3 WB-57s have flown together.
Landscape crews last week chopped down 16 live oak trees lining the west side of Yale St. just south of White Oak, along the eastern border of the second of Trammell Crow Residential’s Alexan Heights apartment complexes. A similar scene took place last year in front of the Alexan Heights north of White Oak and 6th St. (at right in the above photo).
A reader sent in pics of the recent street-tree sawfest:
The sixth and last of the replacement street trees was planted in the public right-of-way surrounding the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr. over the weekend. “It is a big specimen tree, taller than what was removed,” writes the reader who sent in these photos of the installation paid for by a special city fund for Houston parks — so we can all see for ourselves. The previous weekend, 5 replacement oaks were put in along the side street, North Blvd. Crews hired by the franchise owner, Mohammed Ali Dhanani of Haza Foods, had chopped down 6 trees on adjacent city property last October. You can compare the current scene in these photos and in our story last week with how it all looked before the chainsaws were fired up.
A row of 5 already-growed-up oak trees took up their new home along the North Blvd. flank of the Wendy’s drive-thru at 5003 Kirby Dr. last weekend, to replace the same number along the public right-of-way that went missing after dark last Halloween on account of they were chopped into pieces by order of the franchise owner. “The new trees at Wendy’s are so big they had to close the road to install them,” writes the reader who sent in these photos. “. . . almost as big as the ones cut down.”
One more tree is still to come — for this spot on Kirby Dr., right in front:
Here are pics of some of the clearing work PM Realty Group has been orchestrating along the south side of I-10 between Eldridge and Hwy. 6. The company bought the headquarters of the ExxonMobil Chemical Company at 13501 Katy Fwy. in late 2013, and announced plans for a mixed-use development including office towers, apartments, a hotel, a fitness center, restaurants, and convenience retail” on the 35-acre site. ExxonMobil was scheduled to exit the building (pictured below) this year:
Over at the south end of Buffalo Speedway below West Bellfort, land is being cleared for a new development, these pics from last week show. The view is over the back fence of the 3-year-old Connection at Buffalo Pointe apartments, at 10201 Buffalo Speedway. A reader tells Swamplot some sort of permit document seen on the property labels it the Reserves at Buffalo Point. In a view over the fence but looking a little bit more to the east, most of the trees are still there — for now:
Are you one of those sensitive types who’s always on the lookout for the jewels in the Houston landscape? It can be tough going, right? Try seeking out the jewelry in the Houston landscape instead, and your job just got much easier: Over at HCC’s Central Art Gallery on the corner of Austin and Holman, a group of 17 local artists just opened a show called “Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Houston Jewelry and Metalwork.” And if the preview images are any guide, the works in the show demonstrate a real appreciation for some very Houston-y stuff. The fencelike brooch at top by Masumi Kataoka is made of copper, enamel, stainless steel, glue, and some sort of animal intestine. Below it is a “neckpiece” by Edward Lane McCartney, forged from bits of in-town teardowns. Caitie Sellers shaped the under-construction piece o’ Downtown below from sterling silver and copper: