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Houston, past, present and future


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Foreward - An overview of the topic at hand.

Welcome to Houston. We shall explore surface parking lots, freeways, abandoned structures and even some things our great city isn't even known for nationally.

Photos shot May 18-19, 2009 and are in no chronological order whatsoever

Chapter I - Walking and public transportation

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The further out from the city center, the more of a challenge getting around on foot can be.

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The freeways are king.

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Roads are wide.

The rules are the same though...

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Walk.

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Don't walk.

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You can figure it out.

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Watch your step...

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And stay aware of what might come around the way.

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And if you get tired of walking, you can always be like the other 95 percent of the city that drives a car most/all of the time, or you can use METRO.

Now, Houston is not known for its public transit infrastructure, but look at this...

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I thought I was inside a small jet for a little while, what with the space for baggage up top.

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Most of the buses aren't like this.

Too bad there were only four people on board this gigantic thing, which was rather slow to turn I might add. And that's four, counting myself and the driver.

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The biggest challenge of public transportation in Houston is connecting all the places people live...

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shop...

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Watch a game...

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Get some party favors...

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Oh, and there's work too.

You could say the whole thing's a work in progress.

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But people make the most of what they have.

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Chapter II - Weather (and nice weather too!)

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This was a good stretch of days to get out. We get those in summer even sometimes, which of course runs from May until at least September.

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We've even gotten around to adding new things to do on days like this.

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The sun is bright...

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The skies are blue...

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And if anyone ever tells you we don't have four seasons....

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...reply with "YES WE DO!"

Chapter III - History, and how Houston hides from us so well

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Houston is noted for its modern architecture, which to many equates to large, boxy, oversimplified designs of buildings.

While they seldom look inspiring during the day, the effects of light and reflections on large glass structures can be interesting. I'm not exactly demonstrating this well in still photographs but if you stand up here like I am you will see the reflections of traffic on the Pierce Elevated (I-45) and if you see it while you are moving (e.g. in a bus or car) it turns into a sort of kaleidoscopic effect. They also look quite interesting at night, when they are lit up.

What you don't see in most views of the skyline is the older parts of downtown these large structures. We shall explore...

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The Gulf/JP Morgan Chase Building. Many still refer to it by the Gulf name, perhaps so as not to confuse it with the Chase Tower where I took the aerial shots....

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...this, namely.

The Gulf Building was built in 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression. Maybe that's part of why no more like it were built in Houston.

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More old buildings, many with a sense of detail not seen in many newer buildings.

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Some show signs of wear.

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And some structures, some less historically notable than others, show signs of neglect, inside and out. They're waiting to be restored. Or torn down, if you consider this city's track record. These are probably still sitting around because there's asbestos to be removed, and traditionally it's been more practical to build somewhere else than reclaim some properties. Now that things are built up and filling in now, maybe it's only a matter of time.

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Sometimes glimpses into the past can be found.

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And sometimes you don't even have to look at a post to see them.

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Chapter IV - Progress

The city has gone quickly, and many buildings of the past are gone.

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Sometimes what occupied former historic sites are buildings that could be called historic themselves. Time is funny like that.

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Did you know Houston was briefly the capital of Texas? Explains those street names like "Capitol" and "Congress."

But Congress is the opposite of progress as we know, and the latter is the current subject.

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Many new buildings were built, including over part of the old Fourth Ward. This is the place many people think of when they think of downtown Houston - all work, no play and dead at night. Not everything's like that though.

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Maybe the freeways built through here decades ago provided a wall of sorts around this new central business district?

Things are changing on the other side too.

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Lots like this...

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...may get turned to this.

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And of course there's maintenance of the infrastructure for it all. May cause delays, so one might consider an alternate route.

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There are plenty.

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Back to architecture...if all the modern skyscrapers, the Bank of America Center is the most distinctive and is a sort of signature for the city today.

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It's obscured from the south by its larger neighbors.

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And if you haven't seen enough, there's more coming.

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In the interim, it's a bit of a drag, because construction sites don't always good street scenes make. But we're thinking long-term here.

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We do have Houston Pavilions.

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More people will probably come around when everyone else does, mainly, people to occupy all this space.

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Chapter V - Our well-being

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Are you sick? Are you injured? Are you in need of loudmouth personal injury lawyers who advertise during soap operas and Judge Judy in the daytime? Well, Houston is the place to be, because not only do we have ambulance chasers we have the best facilities for those ambulances to unload - the world-reknowned Texas Medical Center.

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lolbrutalist

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And the whole place is still growing.

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Yet, some hospitals aren't even in the Medical Center, Ah, Houston and it's decentralized-ness.

Epilogue - Going home

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In most cases you're just going to go back the same way you got there.

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That's all. Good night.

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Bravo!!!! What a cool set of photos and story to go along with it. I really enjoyed that. I've lived in Houston all of my life, and you summed it up pretty well there. Also, the pictures you took are very well exposed, crisp, and nice to look through. Thanks for sharing!

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Bravo!!!! What a cool set of photos and story to go along with it. I really enjoyed that. I've lived in Houston all of my life, and you summed it up pretty well there. Also, the pictures you took are very well exposed, crisp, and nice to look through. Thanks for sharing!

I had no idea that you folks had gone " Light Rail and so many new buildings " I lived there from 1975- 1980. I owned a Van accessory manufacturing company up on North Freeway. Ed Shaver / Scrubba

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