11/01/13 12:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: SPLENDORS OF THE EAST “. . . So much of our City and our history lies EAST of downtown but all too often, white people (largely) ignore that entire side of town. I’d argue that the ship channel and the refineries that line it are the backbone of the City. That U of H and TSU shouldn’t be ignored. That there’s hidden treasure to be found in the 3rd and 5th Wards. That Riverside Terrace is amazing. That Hobby Airport is way better than IAH unless you are flying overseas on a carrier not named United. That Clear Lake-NASA-Kemah are better than Greater Katy. That the San Jacinto Monument matters. That unless you’ve visited the original Ninfa’s, eaten at Kanomwan, chugged beer at Moon Tower Inn, or stood in line for fried chicken at 3 a.m. at Frenchy’s, then you need to get out of the City Centre bubble. Oh, and the soul of the ‘old’ Montrose and Heights can be found East of US 59.” [doofus, commenting on Comment of the Day: Downtown Is on the Edge] Illustration: Lulu

07/17/08 9:04pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 16: Foyer

More new players in this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game . . . but more old guesses, too!

Three of the 4 Montrose guesses were nicely specific: We had Montrose north of Alabama and west of Montrose Blvd., “the northwestern corner of Montrose, east of Shepherd around West Dallas,” and “either off Hawthorne or above Westheimer between Dunlavy and Montrose.” Two of you guessed the Heights, with a third player specifying the “Shepherd/Durham side” of the neighborhood. There was another vote for Woodland Heights.

Six guesses clumped together: Boulevard Oaks, Edgemont, Greenbriar, Southampton, Southgate, off Bissonnet east of Kirby. We had individual guesses of Garden Oaks, River Oaks, “the area around Braeswood and Buffalo Speedway,” and Bunker Hill. Also, single votes for the generic “Eastside,” “around the Medical Center off 288,” Eastwood, Idylwood, Sienna Plantation, Sugarland, Friendswood, Pearland, and Village Grove in Pasadena.

The winner is . . . first-time guesser Chris, who strolled right into the correct neighborhood:

Nicely remodeled…has a 20’s or 30’s style, though I cannot tell if it is designed that way or authentic. Looks like they use every inch for living or storage, which means it *is* probably genuinely old–still, I am not sure of the actual size as the wide-angle lens throws me off. Still, the look is reminiscient of Eastwood’s finer homes, or perhaps Idylwood.

. . . but then kept on going:

Or maybe off Greenbriar around Rice. Now I’m confusing myself.

Come on back to the East Side, Chris!

Another first-time player, Brian, clearly deserves an honorable mention for making these sharp calls:

It looks like the dropped ceilings along the edge of the kitchen were done for the sole purpose of adding air conditioning after construction. The vegetation appears too close, too big, too lush to be new construction. The roof line on the second floor seems more shingle style than victorian, so I doubt the Heights.

After the jump: on the Live Bodies side of Brays Bayou. Plus . . . it’s been snagged!


09/17/07 10:33am

House at Southern End of Fifth Ward, HoustonJohn Nova Lomax chronicles another pedestrian adventure with drummer pal David Beebe in Houstoned—this time through desolate pockets of Houston’s East Side. Their potion-and-perspiration-soaked journey begins at the southern end of the Fifth Ward.

There, on the corner of Lyons Avenue and McKee, a dry-heaving stray dog in its death throes welcomed us to central Houston’s Chernobyl, a cursed warren of rusty train tracks, crumbling warehouses, and whole blocks that have reverted to wild coastal prairie.

Ruins of an entire neighborhood molder back here – unpainted shotgun shacks collapsing in on themselves scattered around a blocky brick building that looked like it was once a bar or liquor store. It had been stripped of all metal fixtures by street urchins and cut off from the electrical grid, but a sign in the window indicated it was for sale. “Call Bob,” it said. And evidently it was not so long ago a place of some importance, as a street teamer for a rapper named Marcelo had plastered a few promo posters on its door.

Next stop: Clinton Dr., where the “rank stench” of the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant guides their path.

Lord have mercy on Clinton Drive. Save for a couple of islands of activity like the huge fenced-in KBR headquarters (which is rumored to be for sale), Clinton is now little more than a decrepit strip of ruined factories, warehouses fast crumbling into rubble, and decaying 1950s office buildings with broken windows and mold-stained walls.

It reminded me of 19th Century British gadfly William Cobbett’s description of the village of Deal, Sussex: “Deal is a most villainous place. It is full of filthy looking people. Great desolation of abomination has been going on here; tremendous barracks, partly pulled down and partly tumbling down and partly occupied by soldiers. Everything seems upon the perish. I was glad to hurry along through it…”

It wasn’t always such. From the Ship Channel’s opening until the advent of containerized shipping in the early ‘80s, Clinton and surrounding streets were bustling by day and by night, dotted with rice beer-soaked bars with names like the Cesspool, the Worker’s Bar, the Seafarer’s Retreat, the Mermaid Café, Tater’s Last Chance and Dottie’s Snug Harbor.

In those days, it could take a week to unload a cargo ship, and for much of that time, sailors were free to roam the port, dine in the restaurants, carouse in the bars, and find companionship where they may. The same went for the thousands of shore-based workers – the mechanics, channel pilots, stevedores, and tug boat crews.

Neighborhood on the waterfront: Coulda been a contender.

Photo: David Beebe and John Nova Lomax