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.”
Houstonia writer John Nova Lomax first suggested that Northside Village — which he defines as the area between I-45 and Hwy. 59 above Buffalo Bayou and south of Cavalcade — was referred to by “some locals” as Tampico Heights in the magazine’s April feature on Houston’s 25 “hottest” neighborhoods. But commenters quickly objected to both the geography and nomenclature. “Northside Village is the name of the super neighborhood council, and has a formal boundary defined by the city,” writes the Swamplot reader.
According to the timeline site, the first online reference to Tampico Heights was on Reddit in February, and appeared to refer to a neighborhood west of I-45 — and closer to the Tampico refresqueria on N. Main St. and the Tampico Seafood restaurant on Airline Dr.
Later, the site carefully documents, the name appeared in a Craigslist posting for a used sofa.
A second website demonstrates that the anti-Tampico-Heights forces have resorted to grass-roots photo-taking action to nip in the bud any potential support for the neighborhood nickname. On a Tumblr page, participants in a Near Northside festival are shown holding signs of their own favorite nicknames for the area.
Photos: I am Northside. Map: Tampico Heights