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Everything posted by lowspark

  1. Wow - thanks for all those photos. My dad worked at Sharpstown mall when I was young and we used to go every Saturday, this was in the 60s & early 70s. I also could have been one of those kids standing at the clock, I have a good memory of that thing. It only worked for a very short while, the doors which opened up on the hour to reveal various scenes stopped opening soon after it was installed and it then became a huge ugly clock. They finally got rid of it many years later. I remember that Sinclair station too, did you notice the price in the color picture was 24 cents/gallon?
  2. The new Harlow's is owned by Landry's so I'm not sure it's as much a reopening as a reusing of a familiar name. Their website boasts a lot of arcade type games so I'm guessing they want it to be a teen hangout to increase business for the movie theatre. I haven't been there but it looks to me that it's not really like the old original Harlow's and not my kind of place. I might go there for lunch to check it out one of these days though, since I work very near by.
  3. A friend called me Sunday morning to see if I wanted to go to the Bayou City Art Festival so I went. It was $8 to get in and the ticket said it benefits charities. Didn't say which ones, or what percentage or anything else so who knows. There definitely were lots of cops, and they did provide electricity so yeah, they have expenses. I'm sure they take out all their expenses before giving any money to charities, on top of which since they don't specify which charities, I figure it's totally questionable. I bought a burger for $5 (the food choices were incredibly paltry!) which was so pitiful, I wouldn't have fed it to my dog! Funny thing, the booth I bought it from was raising funds for a pet charity (spay/neuter I think). The art, however, was wonderful. There was a large variety of things to see, the weather was fabulous and it wasn't very crowded. So, that brings up another question -- with the weather being up there among the top 10 days of the year, you'd think more people would have come. Was it the $8 that kept them away? Sort of hard to believe in this city where they charge at least that much for home shows, antique shows and the like at the Reliant & George R Brown. I over heard a converstation between a couple of vendors comparing attendance to last year when one of them said you could hardly move in the city hall reflecting pool area because of the crowds. They were speculating on what was responsible for thinning out the crowds this year and the two ideas they mentioned were gasoline prices and Hurricane stress. Could be. I bought a framed photograph and the seller was very appreciative. I had a great day, even if the lunch and entrance fees were a bit high. Oh well, I just chalk it up to current cost of entertainment. Besides, it was fun hanging out with my friend!
  4. Back in the day.... all the Houston festivals were free. That includes international festival downtown, westheimer art festival, etc. And there were a reasonable number of people who showed up. Then it seemed like the world exploded and these events became way overcrowded. That's about the time they started charging. Don't know if it was to reduce the crowds or if they figured that if that many people were coming, a good percentage of them would be willing to pay. Or maybe it was both those reasons. In any case, there ARE lots of people willing to pay so I don't see them changing their strategy on that issue any time soon!
  5. The Food Lion stores opened in Houston right at about the time 60 minutes (or one of those kinds of shows) did a huge expos
  6. That was pretty much the first food court in a mall in Houston as far as I know. It was put in when they put the second floor on the mall -- sometime in the mid 70s. The entire food court was called "Good Time Charlie's". And yes, one of the restarants was Chelsea Street Pub which was a sort of a bar/appetizer type of place. I'm pretty sure they had live music at the beginning. There was also a very nice restaurant up there, I can't remember the name of it. It was a reservations only/maitre d' type place -- very hoity toity and high $. It lasted about 5 minutes. Oh, and you might want to check out this thread which has a ton of memories of long lost houston restaurants. Houston Restaurants No Longer Here
  7. I went to the festival yesterday. We arrived at noon, just in time for the parade which was quite nice with a very small town feel -- local marching bands, local politicians, local businesses, art cars. etc. We hung around for about two hours looking at all the booths selling crafts, jewelry, etc. There was a kids area and several booths aimed at the kiddies too. It was hot but the sun stayed hidden most of the time and an occasional breeze made it livable. Parking was tight but doable. And a good time was had by all.
  8. Gulf got bought out by Chevron in 1983 and all those Gulf stations eventually got new signs and became Chevrons. It mystifies me, however, that Gulf stations still do exist in other parts of the country.
  9. Kresge's -- there was one in Sharpstown Mall way back in the 60s. It was a sort of five & dime if I remember correctly, like Woolworth's or TG&Y.
  10. I'm not sure the square is able to be revitalized. HD has pretty much taken up most of that land and there is very little left. Certainly not enough for a Target --- but with the new Target recently opened in Meyerland, I can't see that they would open one there anyway. About the only thing I can think of to revitalize what's left would be to open a couple of restaurants. Might be an opportunity for someone willing to take the risk -- there are almost no restaurants to speak of in the entire Westbury area.
  11. Yup, they reopened under new management. It's in the strip center which is in the WalMart parking lot on Hillcroft just south of Braeswood.
  12. Great photo of 610. As I made my way home from work on Wednesday around 5 pm. I went down the west loop in the opposite direction of where your photo points. It was PACKED, bumper to bumper, cars moving 5 mph if that. By Thursday morning, it was empty. Very weird.
  13. If you watch Neil Frank on channel 11, it's "wobbling".
  14. Location: near Meyerland, one story house Status: gonna stay.
  15. That old Media Play spot in Meyer Park started out as PharMor. Media play lasted about 5 minutes in the grand scheme of things. And that very large spot has been empty ever since. How many years has it been? That empty spot, the rundown condition of the Walmart and the deterioration of the AMC movie theatre have contributed greatly to the decline of Meyer Park. When that movie theatre opened, it was the largest in Texas (or something like that) and was very nice. But as soon as stadium seating came into the picture, it was done for. The amazing thing is that the houses in the neighborhood directly south of the center (Willow Meadows), although old (mid-century), have held up their value very well and continue to gain in value. I can't figure out why that center has gone down and why that one piece of it has remained empty for so long.
  16. I've never heard where Foley's would have gone, but I imagine if they'd accepted the offer, it would have been early enough in the design phase that room would have been made. Who knows? I'm sure you're right about people using the that parking lot -- the difference being that they park there and walk across the street to NM -- maybe entering Dillard's, maybe not. If it were connected by some kind of air conditioned walkway or whatever, you can bet they'd be going into Dillard's first -- increased traffic means increased sales. No matter how you look at it, it was a bad decision by Joske's.
  17. Actually, Gerald Hines was the developer of the Galleria. And they did want a Foley's in there but Foley's opted out, a decision they regretted fairly quickly. Apparently, they didn't have another opportunity to get into the Galleria till IV was built -- think of all the missed revenues for Foley's all those years! They also wanted to build a walkway or somehow connect Joske's to the main mall. Joske's turned that down because they were afraid too many people would simply use their parking lot and go straight to the Galleria. I'd say that was another regrettable decision.
  18. Are we adding our Astrodome memories here? I remember going to the Astrodome in 1968 when Humphrey was running for president against Nixon. President Johnson was there endorsing Humphrey, lots of speeches were made which I paid no attention to (I was 8 years old), but what I remember most was the entire Astrodome yelling H H H! H H H! (for Hubert Horatio Humphrey) as they flashed three huge H's across the scoreboard. I'm not sure I would remember that day at all if it weren't for the H H H cheer!
  19. My dad worked in retail so we were invited to the "private" grand opening of the Galleria before they opened it to the general public. (There were a ton of people there so it wasn't all that exclusive but it was by invitation only.) Anyway, what I remember was Tiffany's and Neimann Marcus and several other very upscale/expensive stores -- and the distinct impression that the Galleria was not just another mall. I think there always have been and probably always will be teens hanging out there (and in other malls) but the Galleria, from the beginning, tried to position itself as an upscale shopping area.
  20. The Target in MC is new -- built within the last year or so. I doubt they're going to get rid of it! I think the idea was to make MC an all-purpose mall, not just catering exclusively to the high $$$ clientele. My guess is that the Target has attracted people into some of the other stores in MC who might not frequent malls, just because they're there anyway. And vice versa, I'm sure Target has increased the traffic at that location over what they got when they were up the freeway a bit in a strip center.
  21. I'm old enough to remember when Astroworld first opened. I was 8 yo and we were thrilled!! Memories: The tram which took you from the parking lot to the park -- the driver used to give you a sort of tour -- interesting things about Astroworld, etc, as he transported you. What I remember most was the fact that Hofheinz paid ONE MILLION dollars JUST to build the bridge across 610. Doesn't sound like much now, but in 1968, that was a fortune --- and just for the bridge! The advertising jingle: Astroworld, Astroworld, what a wonderful world of fun fun fu-un! Astroworld, Astroworld, what a wonderful world of fun! The astrowheel -- the two sided ferris wheel and the Astro Needle were sort of the signature rides when it first opened. Alpine Sleigh Ride -- it always had the longest lines because you got to ride through the tunnel where freezing cold air was blasted at you. When Astroworld was still very new, at the very end of the ride, just as you exited the last tunnel, the Abominable Snowman would jump out at you. It was a guy dressed in a furry white costume -- a real person. It was so cool and very scary (especially at my young age). Even though you knew he'd be there, you were still anticipating the scare! He didn't last very long because unfortunately I think people threw things at him or tried to hurt him somehow. The Lost Riverboat Ride -- don't remember the exact name of this ride, but you know the routine. They used that tired old "Shirley Temple" joke (Shirley tribe's temple) ad nauseum, but we loved going on it because you could get sprayed with water! The Black Dragon -- too wild for me at 8 yo, I didn't go on it again till I was a teenager! The Serpent -- it was Astroworld's first "roller coaster". It was so tame but all we had at that time! Then.... Dexter Frebish's Electrical Roller Ride opened -- now THAT was a roller coaster! I was 12 years old and a friend and I rode on it ten times in a row one day. Crystal Palace -- you had to arrive at least 20 minutes before the show was scheduled to arrive or you couldn't get in. It was such a relief to sit in the A/C and rest your feet. The shows were pretty good too, with live male & female dancers and a comedian or ventriloquist or some such. I'm pretty sure it was local college aged kids who had an opportunity to use their talents! OUTDOOR A/C -- The outdoor patio tables at some of the cafes had air conditioning shooting out of the center of the table. Wow! We were so impressed! The bread shop -- Mrs. Baird's if I remember correctly. You could buy a freshly baked mini-loaf. This all sounds so tame now, but in my youth, Astroworld was the highlight of my summers! That's all I can remember right now. I'm sure I'll remember more later. I have to admit, I haven't been there in years -- I'm not a kid anymore. How sad that it will go away.
  22. What is FEMA's track record for responding to these kinds of emergencies? I haven't seen anything comparing this event to past ones. IOW, were they slower than usual or is this par for the course?
  23. I think the original plan was to give evacuees free admission this past weekend. But really, if you had just come out of the conditions these people were experiencing, would you want to go ride the roller coasters? I'm sure the main things these people wanted were a shower, a hot meal, a dry, clean place to sleep, and to find the rest of their family. Sweating in the hot sun, lining up for rides, and spending $$ for cokes & lunch were probably not high on any evacuee's priority list. It was a nice thought though!
  24. By the way, they talked about this very article on channel 13 news yesterday on their 6pm broadcast. They found it extremely negative too -- apparently there were two different versions of the article. One for the NY Times and one for a newspaper the NYTimes prints in France (?). Ch13 contacted the NY Times to ask about the different versions and (I guess) about the negative spin. NYT said, (I paraphrase), No matter how you look at it, Houston is profiting from Katrina. So, ok, yes, Houston IS profiting from Katrina. So are Baton Rouge, Dallas, San Antonio, etc. wherever evacuees are. Plus, so will all the hundreds, thousands of people who will clean up, demolish and/or rebuild NO. What's new about that!? When they say the storm will cost $XX billion, do they imagine that we'll take $XX billion and throw it into the gulf, and suddenly all will be back to new again? The billions of dollars actually go to companies and people who will do the work, supply the materials, and support the people who do the work. Yup, Houston's going to get some of those $$. No question about it. I guess NY is just mad they're not reaping as many of those $. I wonder if whatever is built at ground zero in Manhatten will be done for free -- I'd hate to think of anyone benefitting from the terrorist attacks...
  25. I agree that the article has a negative spin. Here are are a couple of words/phrases I noticed which give our efforts a negative connotation: -- scrambling to profit -- ambulance-chaser And this sentence which implies that we have something to be ashamed of and are trying to defend our actions: Some here are wary about seeming too gleeful in light of New Orleans's misery. Houston officials were quick to point out on Friday that they were making a convention center downtown available to evacuees from the disaster zone, potentially forcing some events to be canceled.
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