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Howard Huge

"Why Houston Sucks"

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Dont know if this has been posted here before but I thought this was a cool opinion piece about Houston. Its a bit dated but I still find it informative and entertaining and it made me feel good about Houston despite our downsides.

Look at the review above mine. Look at the review below mine. They are reviewing my hometown, and chances are, they are both tearing it to shreds. You see, I live in Houston, TX, the most reviled of the ten largest cities in the United States. The New York Times has called it "The Armpit of America." No one writes catchy songs about Houston, and the only TV show that took place here totally sucked.

Yes, I have heard all the reasons why people hate Houston: The traffic is terrible. It is hot and humid most of the year. It rains most of the year. It is horribly polluted. It is filled with manufactured-theme chain restaurants. It is sprawling and ugly. There is nothing to do in Houston. There is a lot more, but I only have limited time. To every person who has shouted every one of those complaints, I say you are absolutely right. Oh, wait, I totally remembered another one. The homeless people. Yeah, they make it suck even worse. Houston sucks, I assure you, you don't want to come here, you don't want to live here.

There's one more thing. Not only was I born in Houston, I still live here.

"But, wait, wait," you say. "if it is all that, why do you still live there, Mark? Are you a total uneducated loser who couldn't ever get out of town?" No, I have a Masters degree, and I left Houston for school, but when I finished, I came back, and have had job opportunities around the country since then. And to forestall any other questions, no, I am not a momma's boy, nor am I on probation.

I live in Houston because I like it here, I think it's a nice place to live, and that it has an unfairly negative image. "But if you love Houston so much, why do you want people to bash it?" Just chill, why don't you, I'm getting to that.

Yes, Houston has a terrible reputation, and I want to keep it that way. "Why?" Because I don't want anyone to visit, and I sure as hell don't want anyone to move here. Because Houston is underrated, people don't flock here, and so the good things about Houston remain cheap and accessible. "Good things? I thought there weren't any good things about Houston." Well, okay, there are some good things about Houston, and if you'll keep it on the DL, I'll tell you what they are, and at the same time why the bad points everyone harps about aren't so bad as they make them sound:

The Heat and Humidity

Let me tell you I love hot weather, and I hate cold weather, so Houston is just right to me. It doesn't get as hot as, say, Tucson, but I never bought into that "It's a dry heat" garbage anyway. 114 in the shade is hot, no matter how bone dry it is. I did a little research to see if Houston's weather is as bad as people say, compared to New York and LA.

Houston: 208 days sunny, 46" rain, Jan 63/45, Jul 94/75

NY: 232 days sunny, couldn't find rain, but let's assume it is less than Houston's. Jan 39/26, Jul 85/70

LA: Couldn't find sunny days and rain, but I think we can say that LA has more sunny days than Houston. Jan 68/48, Jul 85/66

OK, both New York and LA get more sun and less rain than Houston, and neither gets as hot. Wow, Houston's weather is pretty bad. But wait a second, look at New York's lowest temp on record: negative 4!. Houston's lowest temp on record is positive 10. Yes, LA gets much less rain than Houston does, but with that comes massive brush fires and water rationing. And when it does rain, it causes destructive mudslides. And what are those things called earthquakes, anyway?

As I said before, I like the heat. I'm an outdoorsy guy, I hate to be cold, and if I do get tired of the heat, I can always go into my air conditioned car, or air conditioned house, or air conditioned office. And I've never had to shovel snow.

It Rains All The Time

Well, I think I've covered that it rains a lot, but not as much as Seattle, and the rain keeps my grass green and water coming from my faucet.

The Pollution

Ok, I have a masters in Environmental Science and worked in the environmental consulting industry, so I think I can speak with authority on this. I can tell you the EPA never called Houston the most polluted city in America. For a few years we had the most number of ozone nonattainment days in America, and the always unreliable media misinterpreted these results, but, our particulate matter is very low, and PM is more dangerous than ozone to human health anyway. And by the way, I do believe Los Angeles has once again surpassed Houston for most ozone nonattainment days. As long as you don't come here and drive your car around, we should be able to stay below LA. Our water quality is just about as good as you would expect for any big city, and LA and New York have much much worse water quality. We do have a lot of oil refineries in the area, but most of them are located southeast of the city, in Pasadena, and the stillness of our weather patterns keeps the pollution localized in that part of town. Besides, so what if parts of Houston are polluted? The average person cannot tell that we have some pollution. Our air doesn't have the brown tinge that LA smog has, and it doesn't smell, except for around Pasadena. If you really want to experience Southeast Texas pollution so you can gripe to your friends back in Peoria, go out to Pasadena. Just take Hwy 225 south until you start seeing lots of bald children playing in the streets, you can't miss it.

The Traffic

Have you ever driven in LOS ANGELES? How about WASHINGTON DC? ATLANTA? NEW YORK? I've driven in all of these cities, and Houston's traffic is nothing compared to these. One thing I like about Houston traffic is that so many people just blindly follow the main thoroughfare from point A to point B, and seem to ignore the fact that there are usually 5 or 6 different ways to get to any one place, leaving those alternative routes clear for me. And unlike the other metropolitan areas I mentioned, in Houston, if you do get stuck on a freeway, we have exits every mile, so you can get off and go an alternate route. Yes, our surface roads suck. We have a really wet, unstable geology called the Beaumont Formation (gumbo to lay people) with a high water table that makes it impossible to have basements and causes potholes. And the Houston City Government does a terrible job of keeping up with them. They wait until most of the roads are undriveable and then tear them all up at once. Thank god I know lots of alternate routes. And thank God for term limits. Lee Brown is the worst mayor we ever had, but Bill White is now in office and he's doing a lot to right old wrongs.

The Restaurants

Houston does have chain restaurants on every corner, from decent Pappas spinoffs to the absolutely horrible Landry's family of restaurants. But tucked in between them, are some of the best restaurants in the country. Houston is an international city, and along with the old-school bbq, the latinos brought us Tex Mex and the large vietnamese community brought us diarrhea. No, just kidding, I love Vietnamese food, just don't eat at a certain unnamed restaurant/Bakery at McGowan and Milam in Little Saigon. Conde Nast Traveler Magazine listed us as having one of the best restaurant scenes in the country, and we have some of America's best chefs, like Monica Pope, but because you don't want to visit Houston, I can walk into almost any of the finest restaurants in Houston on a Friday evening without a reservation and be seated within 30 minutes. Thank you for that.

Nothing To Do

No, we aren't a tourist oriented town, and I hope we stay that way. Be do have space center houston -whoopee! Seriously, though, we have the largest theatre district, with more seats than anywhere but New York, but I can always get tickets to the hottest road show or the latest Edward Albee premiere. Don't come here and sit in my seat.

Houston also has some really great museums, including the Menil Collection, that was rated one of the best private art collections in the country. Oh, did I mention it is free?

Houston is also very close to Galveston Island, and I can leave my house near Downtown Houston and be at my beach house on the more remote end of Galveston Island in about an hour. Yes, the beach on the east end of the island where all the tourists go is ugly and overshadowed by a giant seawall to prevent hurricanes, but my house is on stilts outside of the seawall where the beach is as pretty as most beaches, along, say, South Carolina. Yes, the beach sometimes has tar on it, and no, that is not from oil spills. It is weathered oil from natural petroleum seeps on the shallow Gulf seafloor that occasionally floats to shore. Trust me, I'm an environmental scientist, I know and I care. Yes, the water is brownish green. No, this is not because of pollution. It is because the entire island of Galveston was created by a buildup of silt coming out of the rivers that empty out into the Gulf. It is that silt which gives it that color. We actually have much cleaner beaches than California or Atlantic City or Long Island, NY. And anyway, when I take my boat just five miles offshore, the water becomes a gin-clear caribbean blue.

The Ugly

Name a major US city that is pretty. OK, New York's glittering skyline at night may be beautiful, but so is Houston's. Most cities are ugly with pockets of pretty and Houston is no exception. Houston does have some very beautiful neighborhoods right in town, and many others in the suburbs. Houston is also surrounded by dense pine forest, so it stays green all year round. (another good point to all that rain). And yes, Houston is flat. Is that a bad thing? I used to have a manual transmission and rarely had to set the parking break. Plus, the numerous creeks and bayous add topographical relief, so it is not entirely accurate to say Houston is flat.

The Homeless

Okay, I tried to think of something nice, but they really do suck. There is this one really nice guy, though, who lives on the grassy esplanade in the middle of Montrose Boulevard, and whenever I go to Niko Nikos I bring him an extra souvlaki and a traveler of Jim Beam. He tells me great stories. I can't really tell you what they are about, because I think he is speaking Esperanto.

The Houston Police

Okay, something nice about the Houston Police...oh, I know. Let's say you are a nice polo-wearing upper class white boy and are tired of your black friends saying that you don't don't know what it's like to have your civil rights abused. Fear not, the Houston Police are equal-opportunity Civil Rights abusers. They will arrest you for walking out of a K-Mart on a Saturday night and charge you with street racing, even if you drive a Buik station wagon. They also have a crime lab so messed up the state had to overturn several convictions solely because the forensic evidence was processed in the HPD crime lab.

So that's it. That's why I choose to live in such a vilified city. That, and we have some of the lowest priced housing of any major metropolitan area in the country, and if more people started moving here, real estate prices would go up. I'll have enough saved for a downpayment on a really nice house by August 2005 so please don't move here.

----------------------------------

Recommended:

Yes

Best Suited For: Families

Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime

props to Reefmonkey for the article

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You had to edit this post? I'm curious what it said before.

It said:

"Please delete this thread. I know that it is going to get very, very ugly."

I decided to remove that part because after I thought about it, I realized that I didn't know FOR SURE that it was going to get ugly and I didn't want to be proven wrong. -But, any thread with a title like "Why Houston Sucks" is probably destined to be filled with pointless, repetitive, opinionated arguments of people trashing and defending Houston that will probably go on for months or years. So, that why I posted 'I hate you'.

But for the record, that was just internet talk - I don't really hate Howard Huge. In fact, he sounds kind of sexy.

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But for the record, that was just internet talk - I don't really hate Howard Huge. In fact, he sounds kind of sexy.

HowardHuge.jpg

If he's anything like his namesake...

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Good article. Houston is not perfect but I've seen far worse and half the negative reviews come from California or NYC and with their sh..holes they shouldn't even be talking. 

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-Exaggerated on Pasadena, I mean bald kids....really,but hey, any publicty is good publicity, right?tongue.gif

What site did you get it from?

but before Attica question my editing, it was because I massively misspelled exaggerated.(Just kidding, I know you just questioned Coaster because of his comment)

Edited by citizen4rmptown

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I think this is kind of old, but good to read again. I remember it being posted here a few years ago.

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It said:

"Please delete this thread. I know that it is going to get very, very ugly."

I decided to remove that part because after I thought about it, I realized that I didn't know FOR SURE that it was going to get ugly and I didn't want to be proven wrong. -But, any thread with a title like "Why Houston Sucks" is probably destined to be filled with pointless, repetitive, opinionated arguments of people trashing and defending Houston that will probably go on for months or years. So, that why I posted 'I hate you'.

But for the record, that was just internet talk - I don't really hate Howard Huge. In fact, he sounds kind of sexy.

You didnt bother reading anything past the thread title did you?

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-Exaggerated on Pasadena, I mean bald kids....really,but hey, any publicty is good publicity, right?tongue.gif

What site did you get it from?

but before Attica question my editing, it was because I massively misspelled exaggerated.(Just kidding, I know you just questioned Coaster because of his comment)

I knew you being from Ptown would defend that. :P

Gotta admit that was funny though.

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You didnt bother reading anything past the thread title did you?

I read that whole OLD, LAME article AGAIN for the umpteenth time before I posted my original comment. And I seem to remember there being a long boring thread about it a long time ago. - maybe it was at HAIF, maybe not. So I was hoping this thread would be closed before all the uglyness began. But here we go. AGAIN.

I get it Mr. Huge, (actually I got it a decade ago when I read it the first time) the opinion in the article is that Houston really doesn't suck -especially when compared to other cities.

WOW. What an ingenious article. Oh, the irony. :rolleyes:

Now I hate you again. - not really. :)

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Good article. Houston is not perfect but I've seen far worse and half the negative reviews come from California or NYC and with their sh..holes they shouldn't even be talking. 

I think the reason people from those areas complain about Houston is because they look at their cities infrastructure and they compare it to Houston because it is supposedly the 4th largest city in the U.S. Then they get to Houston and get off the freeways and realize that its more comparable to a small town or a suburb. They were looking forward to seeing urban walkable areas with people walking around and living in the city center and crowded subways. That is the reason these people complain so much about Houston and the end up hating on he city. But then their are those that are from NYC and California (Mostly California) who love Houston and want to move to the city because they can live in a mini mansion for what they pay for an apartment or a small home every month. Some feel remorse after they have came missing the Mountains and the big NYC and others never look back. So its really what you prefer quality as in more urban (California, NYC) or quantity as in larger homes/land/everything more affordable (Houston). Now that Houston has gotten so big it has being to realize that quantity can't go on forever and now its beginning to work on the quality of life in its city. For example they are now building light rail with walkable areas surrounding the rails, billboards are being minimized, crack houses torn down, downtown is being re spruced up etc. The city is cleaning up!

Edited by citykid09

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I read that whole OLD, LAME article AGAIN for the umpteenth time before I posted my original comment. And I seem to remember there being a long boring thread about it a long time ago. - maybe it was at HAIF, maybe not. So I was hoping this thread would be closed before all the uglyness began. But here we go. AGAIN.

I get it Mr. Huge, (actually I got it a decade ago when I read it the first time) the opinion in the article is that Houston really doesn't suck -especially when compared to other cities.

WOW. What an ingenious article. Oh, the irony. :rolleyes:

Now I hate you again. - not really. :)

Complain about it on the internet.

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I know I'm replying very late to this but I challenge anyone who hates Houston to try and live on a temporary basis in the Phoenix AZ area, for at least 3 months.  You will embrace Houston afterwards.

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Phoenix? No thanks. Too many immigration riots.

Just looking out the window at the Phoenix airport while waiting for a connecting flight was enough of Phoenix for me.

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I think the reason people from those areas complain about Houston is because they look at their cities infrastructure and they compare it to Houston because it is supposedly the 4th largest city in the U.S. Then they get to Houston and get off the freeways and realize that its more comparable to a small town or a suburb. They were looking forward to seeing urban walkable areas with people walking around and living in the city center and crowded subways. That is the reason these people complain so much about Houston and the end up hating on he city. But then their are those that are from NYC and California (Mostly California) who love Houston and want to move to the city because they can live in a mini mansion for what they pay for an apartment or a small home every month. Some feel remorse after they have came missing the Mountains and the big NYC and others never look back. So its really what you prefer quality as in more urban (California, NYC) or quantity as in larger homes/land/everything more affordable (Houston). Now that Houston has gotten so big it has being to realize that quantity can't go on forever and now its beginning to work on the quality of life in its city. For example they are now building light rail with walkable areas surrounding the rails, billboards are being minimized, crack houses torn down, downtown is being re spruced up etc. The city is cleaning up!

 

This

Good article. Houston is not perfect but I've seen far worse and half the negative reviews come from California or NYC and with their sh..holes they shouldn't even be talking. 

 

I don't think Houston can really be compared to either.

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Huh. I know this is an old thread to be resurrecting, but I've seen far older threads get resurrected here, anyway, I stumbled across this thread while looking for something, and it brought on some nostalgia. I'm the person who originally wrote this article on the now-defunct Epinions back in 2004, and had no idea it was being talked about here in 2010. It's gratifying to see that Howard Huge, Fringe, et all liked it. Seems not everyone liked it though:

 

 

I read that whole OLD, LAME article AGAIN for the umpteenth time before I posted my original comment. And I seem to remember there being a long boring thread about it a long time ago. - maybe it was at HAIF, maybe not. So I was hoping this thread would be closed before all the uglyness began. But here we go. AGAIN.

I get it Mr. Huge, (actually I got it a decade ago when I read it the first time) the opinion in the article is that Houston really doesn't suck -especially when compared to other cities.
WOW. What an ingenious article. Oh, the irony. :rolleyes:

 

Maybe if Mr. Coaster had known the context for my writing the article, he would have been more forgiving of its "LAME"ness and lack of "ingen(uity)." One of the administrators in the Travel section on Epinions had an ongoing "contest" for people to write a review of their hometown. No one had entered an essay on Houston, and I looked at the reviews for Houston and most of them were screeds on how much it sucked, so I thought it would be funny to write a review that at first appeared to "agree" with all the negative ones,  but was only doing so to keep people away. For the record, I got high marks from a lot of people, including the administrator who started the "contest", for my original and tongue-in-cheek approach. Anyway, fun to read something I had long forgotten I had written.
 

Edited by Reefmonkey
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On 3/19/2015 at 2:32 PM, Reefmonkey said:

Huh. I know this is an old thread to be resurrecting, but I've seen far older threads get resurrected here, anyway, I stumbled across this thread while looking for something, and it brought on some nostalgia. I'm the person who originally wrote this article on the now-defunct Epinions back in 2004, and had no idea it was being talked about here in 2010. 

 

 

 

 

Have any of your opinions about Houston changed in the intervening years? Do you think things have gotten better, worse or stayed the same? I'm moving to Houston in a few weeks (from Dallas!) and have been browsing through topics here.

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8 hours ago, BillyBreedlove said:

Have any of your opinions about Houston changed in the intervening years? Do you think things have gotten better, worse or stayed the same? I'm moving to Houston in a few weeks (from Dallas!) and have been browsing through topics here.

 

Just in case he isn't here to respond...

 

The weather is still hot humid for 3 months (July - September)

 

The weather still doesn't get as cold for the other 9 months of the year as everywhere else.

 

The Menil is still free (going through an expansion right now though).

 

Galveston island is still an hour away, and the water is still brown because of silt from rivers.

 

More people are aware of Houston's foodie scene, so it's harder to walk into the trendy place on Friday night and be seated in 30 minutes. You better call in reservations, or at least open table. Last time I tried to go into Oishi it was an hour wait.

 

Landry's restaurants still suck.

 

Really, Houston is a huge place. You should be familiar with this from Dallas. Life in Plano isn't the same as in Mesquite.

 

Houston is going to be what you make of it. If you're one of the Exxon employees moving down here to be on their main campus and will be living in or around the Woodlands you really shouldn't expect any different experience than you would have in Dallas. If you're moving for other reasons and will be living in Montrose, you will have a very different experience than you are used to.

 

Hope you enjoy the move and find Houston worth the stay.

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On 10/18/2017 at 11:14 PM, BillyBreedlove said:

Have any of your opinions about Houston changed in the intervening years? Do you think things have gotten better, worse or stayed the same? I'm moving to Houston in a few weeks (from Dallas!) and have been browsing through topics here.

 

I think if anything my tongue-in-cheek objective of the article, to keep people from moving to Houston, was not very effective ;) Houston feels like it's gotten a lot more crowded in the last 13 years, the traffic feels like it has gotten worse, and it's not nearly as affordable a place to live as it used to be. The value of my one-story 1965 house off Memorial just outside the tollway has gone up by 60% of what I bought it for eleven years ago. That's 3 times higher than can be accounted for by inflation. I would not have been able to afford this house at its present value converted into 2006 dollars. That's great as an investment, but it sucks for property taxes, and it sucks for young couple who would like to get into this neighborhood. Of course literally half (48%) of my neighborhood flooded two months ago (I was one of the lucky ones), so we'll see what that does to the value 18 months from now.

 

I don't live in town anymore, and my priorities are different as a husband and father at 41 than they were a single guy at 28, so I'm not hitting those restaurants up before I've booked both a table and a babysitter, which isn't that often. The restaurant scene has gotten so much national coverage in the past 13 years, and again, a lot more people, so I imagine samagon is right about it being a lot harder to get into trendy restaurants in 2017 than it was in 2004.

 

I don't feel like the summers have gotten any hotter than they did circa 2004, but I do feel like they stick around deep into "Fall" a lot longer than they used to.

 

The cost of live theatre tickets in this city, especially for the national touring productions, seems to have risen so much as to be out of hand these days, and they sell out fast.

 

I still love Galveston, still think it is a great place, hasn't changed too much from what it was in 2004, and where it has changed, it's been mostly for the better. Honestly Ike was in retrospect one of the best things that could have happened, put a halt to all the over-the-top speculative development that was trying to turn Galveston into Miami Beach or the Hamptons or something. In the meantime, the food scene has gotten better with places like No 13 and Farley Girls. I probably spend more time there than I used to, now that I own a sailboat.

 

I think Houston has done a pretty good job in recent years to beautify, have more green spaces, attractive mixed-use development, clean up and beautify esplanades, get rid of blight, etc.

 

I really have had no personal run-ins with the police the past 13 years, and they seem to have cleaned up their act in a lot of ways, so no complaints there.

 

Homeless people,  there seem to be more panhandlers, and in areas where they didn't used to be, like out in the suburbs.

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Ike also came at the same time as a major recession, which hit areas like Florida pretty hard. That was one of the big shocks to me was how Galveston was almost worse in 2012 than 2008. The trolleys weren't operating anymore, stores like the Peanut Butter Warehouse (antiques, fudge) had closed, H-E-B Pantry was gone, and the beach seemed shockingly empty for Spring Break (the weather was pretty awful for doing much, with it being cloudy and windy, but still). At the time, Pleasure Pier hadn't opened yet either.

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