917 Main Street
Houston, TX 77002
April 2004–There are numerous streets in the great city of Houston . However, there is one particular street that seems to be set apart from all others. Walking down this street, one can only admire the versatility of the cultures wrapping around you in every direction. The street I speak of is none other than Main Street , located in the heart of downtown Houston. It was, at one point in time, a diminishing place for the homeless and crime; but no longer. Houston finally decided to clean up the streets removing street beggars and homeless folks and replacing them with marvelous art work and rich culture.
Main Street Square is the newest addition to downtown Houston. The 8.9 million dollars was well spent in reviving the part of the street that had been overtaken by poverty. Houston finally realized that it was time for some positive action. After all, downtown is the heart of the city. Therefore, the heart of the city must be special, beautiful, and memorable. What makes this area so special is the amount of effort that went into restoring the street. The city of Houston set high standards for the new main street. They hired prestigious companies such as Fisher Marantz Stone, creators of the World Trade Center tribute, to design the lighting downtown. The lighting and design surely is a marvel. They were strategically placed overhead to illuminate the street. The lamp poles were decorated with brilliant lighting as well during Christmas. It added so much more character to the area.
The Super Bowl in Houston was an enormous event. Houstonian’s had to give visitors something to talk about. After all, there was already a stadium for practically every sport; the Reliant Stadium for football, Minute Maid Park for baseball, and the Toyota Center for basketball. Houston was lacking something in the city: something that would stand out and leave an impression on those who visited it. Houston saw Main Street as a beat-down area and did not want such a historical location to diminish. With this in mind, Houstonians decided to urbanize. The main fixation that catches the eyes when strolling down Main Street is the art work found in the architectures. The prominent architectural firm Ehrenkrantz, Ecstut & Kuhn Architects had the vision for Main Street Houston to become a work of art. The idea was to create a place with plazas, parks, and squares where people can relax and admire. Overall, the old ruins of what used to be buildings were torn down and new modernized contemporary designs were erected.
Walking down this vast street one can see the two way traffic overflowing with cars coming in all directions. Located in the median is a stretch of rail newly laid for the monorail train that runs daily through downtown along Main Street for local commuters. The monorail is the newest addition to Main Street stretching from the one end of Main Street to the very other. Building the train has helped people in Houston save time as well as money not having to drive to the busy downtown area. In addition, people are able to gaze at the newly renovated downtown street. Perhaps this will help people achieve a sense of pride in their own city.
Automobiles are not bare necessities on this street. There is simply too much going on to just be seen through the windows in a car. One must experience it first hand. Taking a stroll down the newly cemented red-brick pavement, one can stop at a street corner and admire the modern art works scattered along the street. It is impossible to miss the great deal of color and richness that has been added to not only the street, but Houston .
For those who are into nature, Main Street offers some scenery for the eyes. There is a relaxing pond on the side of the street where animals roam. Ducks can be found with their ducklings wandering around the pond. The sound of the water is relaxing while the laughter of children can only bring a smile to your face. There is a fountain located near the pond where one can watch the pattern evolve from the water. What’s special about the pond is the monorail that rides right through the pond. This is truly a spectacular design and quite an experience for people. On either sides of the pond is a walkway for people to walk around and view the surrounding shops and restaurants. What makes the restaurants special is the outdoor seating. People can just sit outside under the big umbrellas and sip on a cup of coffee or enjoy a romantic candle light dinner along the street while admiring the night lights. The lights and the water make the environment and the mood much more alluring. Main Street is a paradise for those people who love the outdoors. On a lovely day when the weather is ideal, this is definitely the place to spend time at.
The restaurants are a major attraction for people in Houston. The variety of foods located on this strip is plentiful; bound to satisfy any taste bud. Main Street offers many types of restaurants from exquisite Italian food to tangy barbeque. The street offers it all. Especially since the Super Bowl, Houston has prepared for the visitors to visit the pubs and bars. Now that the hype has died down, people can just go out to have a drink or watch a game with friends. The assortment of restaurants merely depict the diversities of culture that can be found in Houston. The elegance of the restaurant sets a tone fit for business dinners to a romantic night out on the town. When interviewed, many local store and restaurant owners expressed their high hopes for the future of Main Street. Not only will Main Street become an important asset to Houston for tourists, but more importantly, to provide Houstonians with another outlet for relaxation after work and excitement on their downtimes.
Main Street is littered with shops of all varieties for all types of people. While perusing through the streets, one can hardly fight the urge to go inside for a closer peek. The purpose of the new street is for culture. There are so many varieties of shops to look at that there is no way that one could get bored. They have shopping for all types and tastes. There is no doubt that in the future, Main Street will be attracting major business and provide a place of converse and entertainment for the anxious Houstonians.
The night life, in comparison to the events during the day on Main Street , is two totally different worlds. Downtown Houston being such a highly trafficked location, has become a highly commercialized location. During the day, all types of things take place on this street. Main Street is not only a place for screening, but also a place to show off; parades are a prime example. People come here for commerce as well as pleasure. Houston has made this plaza a constant show where there is always something going on during the weekend. In contrast, the night on Main Street is brilliantly lit by the street lamps hover from above. This sets the good mood for people who want to relax and have fun. The area offers a variety of things to pass time. People come out to have a drink with some friends and socialize while others spend time enjoying the atmosphere. After all said and done, it is easy for one to spend an entire day walking around, eating, or admiring on Main street .
Not all of Main Street has been totally transformed. There are still parts of the street that have remained untainted. The people riding along the monorail through downtown can easily observe the old beat up parts of downtown and the new face-lifted areas. However, this does not change the fact that it is a remarkable street. It only shows how diverse Houston is by showing all attributes not only what has been sugar-coated. Additionally, the street represents the type of people living in Houston. There is not only one type of “class” of people, rather many different social classes and ethnicities living together. There are those who are rich, and of course those who are less fortunate. In a way, the street shows people that there is hope in disillusion and with enough motivation, it can be achieved.
Although Super Bowl had a major part in beautifying and urbanizing Main Street , it remains a center of culture for those who live here. Main Street is simply a place of commerce; not only business but a way of life as well. With so many things to do and see on Main Street , every person should visit this place to get a good grasp of what Houston really is like. The strip has certainly become a modernized landmark in the heart of the city. Whether you want to relax and have a cup of coffee or wander around to see what’s new, this street has it all. It is a great place for tourists as well as a place for Houstonians to be proud about. No longer will they shame in the ruins of downtown. No longer will they fear the streets. It is the no longer the home for the homeless, but the home for growth and new beginnings.