February 02, 2004
What I like about Houston

I've taken a few dozen deep breaths now, and I'm doing my best not to let a pampered media pretty boy like Bill Simmons annoy me. He's probably the kind of guy who shows up as a friend-of-a-friend at a party, gets drunk and obnoxious, then calls you a lousy host when you throw him out at 4 AM anyway.

So, for the benefit of those who might have had their impressions of Houston colored by his baloney, I'm going to take a moment and follow Ginger's suggestion and give three things I love about Houston.

1. The weather. Yes, dammit, the weather. I know it gets hot here in the summer time. Guess what - I like it hot. Give me a choice between being too cold and too hot, and I'll take "too hot" 100% of the time. There are many nice, intelligent, rational people out there who enjoy cold weather. I'm very happy for them. I'm just not one of them. Your vision of hell may be Houston in August. I consider it to be an equitable trade for Houston in winter.

2. My neighborhood. I live in a place that has live oaks, houses that are not from the "pick one from Column A and one from Column B" style of master-planned architecture, good neighbors, and room for kids to play. It's also close to downtown, easy to get to and from thanks to its proximity to two highways, and METRO willing will eventually be walking distance to a light or commuter rail stop.

3. The food. There's quite a few things I could reasonably pick for #3, but as far as I can tell, Houston has the best variety of cheap-to-reasonably-priced eats anywhere. What do you like? Thai? Barbecue? Italian? Vietnamese? Cajun? Cuban? Pizza? Indian? Tex-Mex? Southwestern? Non-Tex-Mex Mexican? Something else? We've got it, and it's affordable.

There. I feel better now. Feel free to share what you like about where you live in the comments.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Simmons was clearly angry that he had to stand in line at the Playboy party, that he couldn't get a table at the Men's Club, and that he lost at poker to Carolyn Farb. That these were his chosen activities in which to evaluate our fair city speaks volumes. (The picture of the victorious Farb is priceless.)

Posted by: Beldar on February 2, 2004 9:22 AM

As one of the nice, normal, rational people who actually like cold weather, (OK, I'm a raving loon, but that's not the point.) I can understand why you appreciate Houston. New York does have your 3rd argument, but it's hard to find the 2nd one, although Tottenville would qualify. I can't beat your 1st point, however.

Posted by: William Hughes on February 2, 2004 9:45 AM

I love cold weather, but I still adore Houston. I love how the people are friendly and approachable, but not provincial. The food is better than any other city I've ever been in aside from NYC (and I've lived in both Chicago and Miami), and I love how people are proud to be Texan.

The diversity in Houston is awesome; most people don't know this, but UH undergrad is the most diverse campus in the nation, more so than any of the California schools. I love that Midtown has street names in Vietnamese and we have a Chinatown out West.

I love Texas live oaks, Texas country music, the Houston museum and arts community, and the fact that whatever you like to do, you can do it in this city. Clubs, bars, blues, jazz, books, museums, food.

I've only been here 5 years, but I really love this place.

Posted by: Daniel on February 2, 2004 11:09 AM

The only thing I agree with the guy about is his view of the rail system. The rest, well, he's a Cast Member... Eisner's tool.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on February 2, 2004 1:01 PM

A few things I like about where I live, in no particular order:

  • Historically significant landmarks
  • World-class universities and art museums
  • Centralized enough, and with good enough mass transit, that you really don't need a car
  • Great local music scene
  • The longest-running Greek tragedy in the history of the American theater.

There's also a pretty good football team in these parts, for those who like that sort of thing. Pity there's no professional basketball...

Posted by: Charles Dodgson on February 2, 2004 2:29 PM

I'm not sure I can come up with three things, given that I haven't even been here a year yet.

1. Goode Co. barbecue

That was easy enough.

2. My neighbors. They're friendly, welcoming, and just wonderful. People here, in general, are much friendlier and much more polite than people in California, where I used to live.

I can't think of a third thing. But I haven't been through a spring here yet. I'll get back to you in April. :)

Posted by: Sue on February 2, 2004 4:25 PM

Give it a bit, Sue. It took me two years, and it took my fiancè about three years. This city grows on you, much like the mold growing on the roof of the Ballpark Formerly Known As Enron Field.

Posted by: Daniel on February 2, 2004 4:54 PM

I didn't read the Simmons thing, but the Dallas Morning News really chapped my ass.

Posted by: PG on February 3, 2004 12:13 PM