Category Archives: Heights

Parking Disaster:on Washington Ave. by Ana Ramirez

Washington Ave
Houston, Texas 77007

On our way to my brother’s school it is hot, humid and we are stuck in traffic like every day. You could see how the cars start piling up one in back of the other and the line keeps growing bigger. Finally the light turns green, but only for a couple of seconds before it turns red again.

You don’t see many people walking at five a clock on the street of Washington Avenue between Heights and T.C. Jester, all you see at this time are cars pulling in and out of the parking lots. I smell the different types of food from the restaurants nearby like Jack in the Box, El Rey, and nearby bars. My stomach growls like a lion and it’s only getting hungrier by the minute-the fresh smell of roasted chicken in the air only makes it worse. Small businesses on both sides of the road are full with customers at this time, and more and more keep coming in.

Washington Avenue used to be a very quiet neighborhood. I remember when my mom and I would catch the metro to go to a nearby Matamoros meat market on Washington Ave and TC Jester. Now the meat market isn’t there, it has been replaced by a new one like many other businesses have. Most of the houses are being replaced by all these new townhomes and condominiums. People that have lived here for years are now selling their properties and are moving into another neighborhood.

So many changes have been made throughout these couple of years it’s not the same quiet neighborhood that I remember. Now it’s full of small business shops like stores, restaurants, bars and lots of traffic. The traffic only gets worse with each minute that goes by you could hear the engines of the cars as they sit still without moving an inch. On our way back to the house the traffic has not changed at all but is now worse than it was before. Cars are now being parked on the side of the street because there aren’t enough parking spaces. Businesses like bars and restaurants fill the streets at night with customers this causes them to have to park their cars all though the side of Washington Avenue. Another problem is nearby construction and road work on I-10. There has always been a problem with traffic on I-10 and if traffic was big then, now it’s only getting worse. Traffic is bad enough with only two lanes to drive on and you could imagine how it gets when one lane is being closed by cars and more and more cars pile up as they try to find their way out of the traffic by finding a better route throughout the small streets. Something needs to be done about this. It isn’t fair for long time residents to have to suffer the consequences. And if more people gather together to fix the problem then maybe we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

Everyone has a problem with the neighborhood that they live in and complain about it, but if no one does anything to fix the problem then you can’t complain because you are also responsible for letting the problem grow. If everyone gets together and argues about what they could do to fix the problem and how they could let everyone know how they feel then they could fight for what is right.

The article Legalizing Walking talks about how something so easy like walking has to be legal for you to do. People can’t just go outside and walk like they normally would they have to have permission from the government first. And if there’s nowhere to walk, then where are they going to walk? On the side of the road where there’s hundreds of cars passing by every day? Or on peoples yards, if there’s no sidewalks?

These are some Questions that the author answers in Legalizing walking. Not many of us think about these things like the author does, or do something about the problem. We may be walking on day and notice that in some places there are sidewalks while in others there aren’t any. My neighborhood has sidewalks for you to walk on, but not all places do. You may be walking in one block and when you get to the next block there is no sidewalk. This forces you to have to walk on the side of the street. What happens when children have to walk on the side of the street? They too run with the same risks you do, and if no one does anything to fix the problem, who will?

This is why we have people who represent us and work hard every day to make our life’s a lot better and easier every day. The author doesn’t just give us the problem he also give us solutions and the things that are being done every day to fix the problem. You may think that putting a sidewalk is something so easy that many of us can do and why shouldn’t every street have a sidewalk so we can walk on. Well it’s not as easy as we think because of everything that has to be done before putting a sidewalk. There are laws that have to be passed and once the laws are passed there are rules that have to be followed. The author talks about some of the steps that have to be done in order for this to happen, “The next step involved a twelve-member committee that crafted the actual ordinance and included six developers; four consulting architects, engineers, and planners; one governmental representative; and one advocate from a nonprofit.”(pg 8, ph. 5, cite) This is an example of one of the steps that has to be done before a law is passed. It is not that easy to pass a law because some of the things that have to be kept in mind are businesses, homes, parking, traffic, safety, and the people. What the Mayor’s and committees have to look and solve is how a property is made for example its location, parking, traffic, and most important the location and size of the sidewalks. This is why it’s so difficult for us to walk without a problem or anything to worry about.

Not many of us do this though; we just complain and wait for someone else to do it for us.

Some of the solutions that I think could think of to fix the problem with the traffic on Washington Avenue are to make more parking spaces available for the people. It could be a big parking lot with several floors where many could just park and walk to where they’re going. Or what’s better we could have more parking lots underground so that there is less traffic and more room for people to walk on. Parking lots underground will help us by getting some of the cars out of our way and the fewer cars that are on the side of the streets and the less traffic we have the better for us. Downtown for example, is a very busy area with thousands of cars passing by every day and getting in and out of parking lots. If it wasn’t for all of these parking lots built for storage and underground storage as well downtown would be a total chaos. Parking lots can help reduce the traffic and are very helpful in many ways. Without the parking lots something that could take us ten minutes to go to like a nearby pharmacy, will double the time with the traffic. This is why putting parking lots will solve many of the problems that we have with traffic.

Another thing that we should consider is a place for people to walk on so that they could feel a lot better and comfortable walking every day to nearby places, just like what the author said in legalizing walking about how we need more sidewalks. Now days people are used to driving everywhere even to a nearby corner store they have to drive. If there were more places where people could do activities outside instead of inside this would be a lot better for everyone. They should have more places with patios outside their restaurants where people could sit there and have a nice cup of coffee. Little changes like this can help our neighborhood and make it a better place for us and our environment. We just have to do something to make it happen so that we can have a better place not only for us for everyone that wants a difference and that is tired of having to put up with all of this things. Just remember that things don’t change by themselves and each of us needs to do our own part.

It’s easy to think of and come up with some of these ideas on how we could change our neighborhood but it’s not easy to actually get it fixed. Before we can do something people need to get together in small organizations and figure out what they need to do to let their voice be heard. One thing that they could do is go by each house in their neighborhood and get signatures of everyone that thinks they should put parking lots. They should have a leader that represents them and speaks for what everyone has to say about the problem. Let the governors and city council know about this and make sure that they also do something to change this. Once the problem has been stated the governor and city council along with other people like architects, engineers, planners and designers need to get together and look for a solution to fix the problem. Once a solution has been found then that’s when everything gets to be put together and constructed. This is what needs to be done and what we could do to fix a problem that we have in our neighborhood like traffic and parking space.
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Bio:
Ana Ramirez is a second year student at the University Houston Downtown, who is planning to major as a teacher. Ana is a very freindly person that loves helping others in whatever she can. She loves kids and gets along great with people. She is currently a part time student at the University of Houston Downtown and a full time worker at Namco.

In my experience, Ana has proven herself to be an honest, hard-working young woman. she is generous and kind. Even as a teenager, she was always thinking of others. Several times, I have witness her volunteer to help others in her community.

At all times I have found her to be  humble, dependable, and a nice going person . She strives always for the best and takes a high interes in education. Ana plans to get a degree and pursue her career as a teacher.

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Fitzgerald’s Experience by Ross Campo

2706 White Oak
Houston, TX

January 2004–Fitzgerald’s is an exciting musical experience, with sights and sounds like no other. The ever changing colored lights flash across the many colored patrons while in the background echoes a great band playing some sweat-streaked fan’s favorite tune. Since this venue hosts a number of different musical styles, from death metal to punk rock, the dress, attitude and mindset of the crowd varies from event to event. It’s a mass of jeans and tee-shirts, leather and lace, from chic to trashy moving, dancing, whirling like the spin cycle of a washing machine. Located near downtown Houston at 2706 White Oak, it is very easy to find right off I-10. The neighborhood is a mixture of bars, head shops and ice-houses, definitely not for the faint of heart, but worth the risk because Fitzgerald’s is the home of a wonderful place to experience great live music. This opinion is shared by many a lover of music. ( need tickets? www.ticketmaster.com/

This place is very popular with people of all ages, from teenagers to adults. I’ve seen 17 year-olds dancing side by side with grandmothers. Like many other popular music clubs, it has a bar stocked with various types of domestic and foreign beers for the adults in the crowd. Beside the bar is what really makes an amazing and interesting attraction. Up the steps leading to the old rotting deck stained with white, faded paint, you come across the material that makes up the walls of the little house on White Oak. Night after night, as people wait impatiently in line, they have entertained themselves by writing their musings on the walls. Over the decades this impatient scratching has become a graffiti collage portraying the thoughts and options of patrons. There are many inscribings that are profane but most of them contain band names and the very popular so n so was here. While it might look trashy to some, it shouldn’t deter the serious music lover or the serious drinker. After a small distance you will pass through the set of white double doors barring the entrance to this musical heaven. Usually a large, overweight man forty or over asks you to confess what band you are interested in having the pleasure of hearing. Immediately after you reply, he explains the cost and sends you through the half rotten double doors to a dark hallway which contains three passages. To your left looms the cashier desk, the far right a black stair case points the way to the upstairs area, and directly in front of you lies a set of substantially better quality double-doors which is the entrance to the downstairs area. The upstairs and the downstairs both have a stage, a bar, and tables for the less energetic. First of all, the chunky security guy will explain, “You need to proceed to the cashier located to you immediate left.” Again, you must choose your band. The cashier will then quickly inform you of the cost of that particular band’s show for the evening, ask to see your ID or driver’s license, then send you on your way to either upstairs or downstairs. They must ask for your proof of age to determine if you are booze enabled or disabled. An ink stamp on the hand marks you with this distinction. After this simple, but necessary introduction, you are free to enjoy the club.

Fitzgerald’s downstairs is quite small but still seems to possess the ability to contain the bulky crowd that finds itself down there night after night. Here is located a well lit bar to the far right, a knee-high stage to the immediate left and directly in the middle a cluster of tables. Each of these tall tables has a glass ashtray with seating provided by barstools. This cluster of seating is not limited to this area in front of the stage, but also between it and the sound check and the bar location. Believe it or not, there is room remaining for a mosh-pit in front of the stage. If you are not familiar with this term, a mosh-pit is an open area in front of the stage where the more excitable and aggressive music lovers gather to violently throw each other around in a circular pattern as the band’s music moves to a heavier and louder timbre. This activity combined with the results of the well used ash trays opaques the air with a cloud of smoke, sweat, spit and sonic bliss. Finding your way is a purely tactile experience. Claustrophobics would run screaming out the door. But the natives effortlessly ignore the close quarters and lack of breathable air to move to their cars, deafened, energized and joyous. But, wait, this is not the complete Fitzgerald’s experience.

Upstairs, you will enter a very different world. It is larger, and therefore attracts more people. As you scan the room you see another set of stairs that leads to a balcony that overlooks the room offering a bird’s eye vantage point. Behind the main floor with its seating and tables, is a blue windowed door which leads to the balcony with its view of the street. This is a great place to take a break and grab a bit of fresh air before plunging back in or to add your two cents worth to the graffiti that continues up here from downstairs. The stage is substantially larger here and the entire lower floor of this area is a mosh-pit for some less cramped moshing around. This is my favorite part of Fitzgerald’s. Its size and added height provides the opportunity for a bigger better show while being much more comfortable and hospitable.

If you like music and/or alcoholic beverages, if your nerves are too calm and in need of an aural kick-in-the-pants, then a trip to this infamous watering hole might be just what you need. Like I said, it’s not hard to find. I’ve been there 5 or so times and plan to go the next time opportunity presents itself. Load up your friends and prepare yourself for a great time and a bit of Houston musical history. There have been many bands that have had the pleasure of performing there. The club has been in business since 1977. Twenty-six years of business should be proof enough that this club will offer you an experience like none other. It has given me that impression every time I bring myself. From famous to local, the bands perform and keep this club up and running every single night. Some nights there are even shows of other things than music. For instance, a couple of friends and I went one night and after the first two sets a group called CORE performed for us. Now this was not a musical band of any sort. If you ask me, I thought it was rather gross and disgusting. This crew of men took hooks and pierced each other on stage. With piercings in their backs, legs, arms, and feet, they suspended themselves in the air higher and higher above the stage on these hooks. Not only that, they stayed in these circumstances for about twenty minutes. You could even see blood breaking through these freshly punctured wounds. We all left that night confused of whether that was entertaining or not but for the most part satisfied. Either way it was still a fun and exciting experience. The coolest and most interesting thing about this club is that it is very unpredictable. With all the variety of music in Houston, you are bound for a wonderful surprise. (some interesting artists include: www.toolband.com/, www.aperfectcircle.com/, www.shadowsfall.com/,and www.killswitchengage.com/) It just gives you a let loose and fun having kind of feeling that doesn’t leave your spine until you lay to rest and go to sleep. So next time you really want to get out and have some fun, I a sure that this is the place to go. So like I said, load up your friends and set off on a journey that you’ll never forget. Then you too can understand the pleasure the Fitzgerald’s experience.

Toolband

Shadowfall

A Perfect Circle

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In The No Time Zone:The Last Concert Cafe by Stephen Wright

1403 Nance Street
Houston, TX 77002
713-226-8563

January 2004–After shutting the door to my truck, I began to walk towards a lonely street corner to meet some friends.  Nancy, a decaying street in downtown was surrounded by prehistoric buildings.  The abandoned looking buildings were screaming for the city to remodel and refurbish them.  The curbs were chipped in many spots and the street lights flickered.  The night air was cool and humid and the area seemed deserted, except for the parked cars lining the streets like birds on a powerline.  My destination was the Last Concert Café. By day it is a    Mexican restaurant serving local workers ranging from businessmen to workers in the surrounding warehouses.  By night the Last Concert Café is a bar with loud live music.  Standing under the flickering street, light I wondered what was taking my friend so long.  Finally as a car pulls up, my friends and I journey towards the entrance of the last concert.  During the short walk s bum sitting on the curb hollers “can y’all spare any change?”  Unfortunately none of us have any change to spare.  Nearing the entrance the sound of music gradually gets louder and louder.  The last concert café was in a plain white building with no sign of what it is.  Clearly the café relied on its reputation and word of mouth to attract customers.

The café contains an inside portion with a much larger outdoor area with a stage.  I walk through the entrance and notice several groups of people conversing to my right and a bar and a rickety table to my left.  I walk to the table and pay the 5 dollar entrance fee and continue walking through a doorway that leads outside.  There are Filthy looking bathrooms ahead of me and an empty room to the right of it with tables and chairs.  Inside the room there are various old pictures and an old jukebox that obviously does not work. Surprisingly the antique-like chairs do not wobble back and forth.  The music is now loud and I can see an area ahead that has picnic tables and benches surrounding a small stage.  The picnic tables are filled with all types of people from preps to hippies.  I walk further as I pass hippie merchants with tables set up.  They are selling bongs, pipes, bubblers and other “tobacco” smoking accessories.  The glass pieces are perfected to the point of finely crafted artwork.  Past the merchants, the pavement ends and the picnic table area is floored with sand.  I stand and chat for a while with my friends and then we decide to sit down at a table.

We sit at a table in the front towards the right.  Most of the tables are full of people so it is quite uncomfortable seating.  An old woman probably in her early 60s dressed in hippy attire roams through the crowd talking to people. She seems a little bit out of place but still oddly fits in.  A drip of sweat rolls into my eye stinging it with great pain.  The band is playing rock music with a slight bob marley sound added to it.  My nostrils picked up the strong unique smell of marijauna and I noticed a couple of people standing to the right of us smoking a joint.  The night seems to be getting hotter as my forehead begins to perspire.  A person walking by accidentally kicks sand on my feet. There is a very mellow mood in the café and time seems to slow down to a grinding halt while you are there.  The band stops playing and exits the stage. At the same time several people with bongos, congas, etc. form a circle in front of the stage.  It starts out with about three people beating on their drums and then slowly more and more people walk up to  beat on a bongo.  Soon there are about 20-25 people in the drum circle.  They create a pretty good rhythm but you can still hear some people messing up or getting off beat.  As I look at my cell phone I notice it reads 1:55, later than I thought it was.  The drum circle continues to beat on their congas and bongos for about 30 minutes.  There was even someone with a trombone that was attempting to play along to the beat but he didn’t seem like he even knew how to play the trombone.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he had borrowed it from a friend or had it in middle school but after so many years has forgotten how to play.

At first the last concert café was pretty interesting and fun but now it has gotten boring and dull.  My sandals were sandy and I was tired of the sweat dripping into my eyes.  The last concert café is one of those places where you should only go once every two months otherwise it gets old and is not very fun at all.  This was the second time I had been here in the past 2 or 3 weeks.

As I adjust my hat and wipe the sweat from my forehead with my sleeve, I get up from my seat and say goodbye to my friends.  It looked like the band was going to take the stage for a second time but I really didn’t care all that much.  I just wanted to leave and go home or somewhere else.  I exit through the entrance of the last concert café and back into the real world with an empty wallet; I spent all my money on beverages.  Sleepily, I retrace my steps back through the dark streets to my vehicle.  I open the door, start the engine, and begin the long  journey to my house.

Map

Drive by Houston by Jessica Winegardner

My earliest memory of Houston, like most of my early memories, took place as a backseat passenger in the family station wagon. Houston was always our home-base when we packed our quarters and relocated for my father’s next call to duty as a military officer. Each time we visited Houston en-route to my grandparents’ house, my father would crank down the window and point to the third floor of St. Joseph’s Hospital, shouting over the traffic and wind, “that’s where I was born.” Sometimes we would caravan with my father in the lead car and my mother and the kids in the wagon. Despite the separation, he communicated with a persistent pointing gesture directly to the hospital while practically hanging out the side of the car. As a child I didn’t understand how someone could be born in a building so close to a highway and amid the towering skyscrapers. It seemed impossible to enter and frighteningly close to the high-speed of traffic.

St. Joseph's, Houston Texas

I always told people I was from Texas. It was a lie and one that I am reckoning in my adulthood. With both my mother and father growing up in Houston I felt it was my right to claim that legacy and call it my hometown; a foreign concept to an army brat who averaged a new home every 18 months. There was security in knowing I would return to Houston every summer. It was a place where I knew the weather would be heavy and warm, the food spicy, and the community supportive before we launched into another town. I credit this vague familiarity with Houston as one of the reasons I was willing to transfer from one architecture graduate school to another, leaving Dallas for Houston. Duty and honor pushed our family around the country. I was being led by love and commitment. After a year of a long-distance relationship, I could finally share a city with my fiancé.

Visiting Houston over long weekends while in the “courtship” stage with my now-husband, my impression of the city was one of greenspaces, festivals, and countless restaurants. We cheered for marathoners downtown, gawked at the art car parade down Allen Parkway, and rested on the knoll at Hermann Park, vowing to return for an outdoor movie. We drank iced americanos and Tecate from a can, anything to dissipate the heat. The days’ events seamlessly merged from one to the other with no difficulty in crossing town or jumping from Memorial Park to Tanglewood to Montrose in a matter of a few quick turns. From my perspective as a passenger, these neighborhoods had distinction; I could easily discern West U, Montrose, Midtown, or the Heights.

Now, having lived in Houston for nearly two years, my impression is no longer greenspaces, festivals and food; but rather hecticness, highways, and contradiction. Boundaries between neighborhoods that had visual clarity are now blurred. Links from one area to another feel consumed in a series of mergers and yields and street name changes. Traffic reports sound like inside jokes. “Accident slow at Westloop Northbound feeder near Southwest Freeway.” I’m not privy to the nicknames used for interstates; my map has numbers. It is not uncommon for my husband to receive a frantic call somewhere along the lines of “I don’t understand where I am, how do I get to the Guild Shop from Tacos-a-go-go?” My questions are always landmark based. My husbands answers are always cardinal. I can never tell him if I’m heading North or South and downtown is not an anchor to springboard me to the correct path. Despite this predictable song and dance we do on the phone, he always seems to be able to pin-point my whereabouts and steer me in the right direction.

"Tacos you must eat before you die"

And yet, despite the constant confusion and frustration, Houston is a city I would defend, and a city I am committed to exploring not as a passenger but as a driver in command.

My well-worn path from my house in the Heights to the University of Houston takes me through neighborhood streets with stop lights and stop signs and along interstates and access roads with six lanes of speeding cars. It is a path I know well and one where I allow myself to drift past the urgency of the traffic patterns around me and see the world beyond my windshield. I am not looking for confirmation in street names, it is my commute of two years and one I can do without a phone call asking for directions. Yale Boulevard has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour, but I often find myself dipping well below that. At the flashing yellow lights of school zones, I reduce my speed for the children filing by on their pedestrian commute home. With my sunroof open I can hear the alarming bell of the crosswalk guiding both the school children and the elderly across the busy intersection at 19th Street. I always wonder if there is a sense of independence these elderly pedestrians have with their living community being so close to a grocery store, pharmacy, shopping, and fast food. From an urban planning perspective it should be ideal, but from my perspective the destinations seem limited and travel unsettling with craggy sidewalks and street curbs hugging the pedestrian path. The Heights has a certain historic feel to it with craftsman homes, wide boulevards, and mature trees, but ever so often there is a puncture of modern development or remnants of a time when land value had dropped and compact apartment living marked the landscape.

More often than not, it is not the school zone that slows me but the daily sight of antiques, junk, and oddball stuff spilling out of consignment and antique stores along Yale. Near the piano tuning shop, there is the “little old lady” place with an inventory of doilies and Victorian furniture wedged between the sidewalk and the store-front. Further up the road is a store I am convinced is an on-going garage sale. The items seem to have an unloved discarded feeling to them with a mix of dated and used medical equipment. I am fascinated by the placement of a bed-pan next to a wicker outdoor set. One store which often justifies a brief stop is one we call “Ronnie’s place,” not only because the owner’s name is Ronnie, but there is no signage out front that would tell us otherwise how to refer to his business. The only sign is a pink fluorescent “OPEN.” It is lit at the oddest hours of the day which conveniently works with my own schedule. In the past when I have stopped in his store, I have found his collection of retro furniture to be an extension of himself with his drawn-out “dudes” and “totallys” fitting in perfectly with his Lucite lighting and shag carpets. His selection of sidewalk displays is the most savvy. Items with strong silhouettes and bold colors flank his store front. More often than not, the items are knock-off mid-century design or an incomplete set of some kind. Regardless, the experience is always a welcome change from the typical antique dealer.

Antiques on YaleThe ColonelJudy Chicago ???

As I drive towards St. Joseph’s hospital, which coincidentally is part of my daily commute, I notice not only the third floor, but the surrounding buildings and the slow change taking place on the Houston sky-line. From the vantage point of I-45 my understanding of downtown is in quick glimpses with buildings classified into shapes and forms, materials, and color. A fresh coat of gray paint paired with a deep red one gave one building an impressive make-over. Has that building always been there? What sort of color previously left it rendered insignificant for so many months? Thinking it is perhaps the speed at which I am passing buildings, I remind myself how quickly I detected stainless steel, side-by-side refrigerators in the glass-façade apartments recently erected along the highways’ edge. Scale is certainly a major factor in viewing the city from the car, but I’m learning that obscurity is perhaps an equal player.

As if the entry ramp from Allen Parkway to I-45 wasn’t precarious enough, I’m constantly distracted and trying to understand a bright yellow, leggy, metal sculpture nestled in a cluster of pine trees at the apex of the merging roads. The colors remind me of an early studio investigation of minimal artists and a professor’s fixation on Judy Chicago. Judy Chicago, why are you a part of my daily vocabulary and who deserves credit for this artistic distraction? One artist whose work I can instantly identify without loosing control of my car is David Addicks. I first learned of his over-sized presidential busts as I was pleading my case to allow an art studio to host my wedding reception. Spilling from his warehouse studio into the parking lot the busts were perfectly aligned with the Fab 4 towering above. British rock stars have a way of adding kitsch. I guess I was surprised to see the busts six months later relocated to the edge of downtown sitting on a traditional, regal looking green block with gold lettering.

I fall into the rhythm of my lane changes and merges and slip into my exit to the Third Ward. I pass through ornamental oblisks and arrive at the University of Houston. A promenade of stunted live oaks line my path. The turn signal is surprisingly timely and protects me as I turn onto Elgin to enter the parking lot. The massive brick architecture building crowned with its temple of glory marks the landscape. There are clues that this building is significant in a post-modern sort of way but the newness of the space has lost its luster and instead I know it just as an academic building.

When I was looking into transferring schools I thought my quest was to adapt to a new program. The Director of Architecture Graduate Studies at UH was more concerned that I had braced myself not for the change in school but for the change in cities. It was almost as if he were somehow warning me that Houston was a difficult city to reconcile and the classroom was to be extended throughout its borders in a maze of intersecting highways, parkways and neighborhood streets. In vain I attempted to explain that I wasn’t from Dallas but was simply living in Dallas. I wish I had told him the story of the my father hanging out the window, jabbing his finger at the hospital where he was born.

I think I am not alone in trying to make sense of this city. I have since noticed that the majority of my courses at the University of Houston seem to all have an investigative task in approaching the city….split up and walk down Main street, take the metro through downtown, sketch the skyline, compare taco stands, diagram the galleria. I wonder, are the assignments meant to give me a better understanding of my spatial/ urban environment or do my professors struggle with the same inverse ratio of the longer you are here, the less clarity you have. Though my experience has been fractured, I am gradually piecing it together, making a rich collage of place and belonging.