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Moving To Houston


sohomod

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You know I was reading through this thread and I have to say, its one of the more overall positive threads I've seen on here for a while. Aside from the Katy bashing, its managed to leave out some of the usual noise that tends to infiltrate after a while - liberal vs. conservative, in the loop people are snobs versus outside the loop are lunatics, tunnels downtown vs no tunnels (yeah that one sneaks in ones that have nothing to do with it) etc. Now that i brought them up, I'm sure I've jinxed it and it will run the usual course.

I also think Houston is definitely underrated. everyone gets fixated on the summer heat and the traffic, pollution, the "fat" people, sprawl, etc. Which is fair, if you take a surface glance at the city. However, when people visit, I think its just that the experiences people have are the airport and staying at someone's house in the woodlands or clear lake and think that is all there is. I would suggest that when visiting, definitely check out the montrose area, go to the "new" chinatown area, check out the museums, find a show to see in the theatre district (culture clash is supposed to be funny).

My sister grew up here in houston with me in clear lake, we never saw much outside of the area, and she's lived in DC now for the last 7 years. She came back recently to visit since i moedinto my house and we went all over, sat outside at Brasil coffeehouse in Montrose, checked out the Basquiat exhibit at the MFAH, saw the menil, went by Hermann park, ate at t'afia, hit up the galleria (which is just shopping you can see anywhere, but still). Needless to say, she said they are all things that you just don't know about houston sometimes. As for traffic, yes it was a saturday, but since I live close in, we didn't hit much of anything. All in all, she says there was a lot more to explore than she even knew about, and that was with growing up here. It just takes time and the curiosity to explore. Now she's considering even moving back in the next couple of years....

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I agree. Houston has something for everyone. It gets hot, yeah, of course. It takes a car to get around, but I love cars! I would never live out in the sticks and commute in, but some people can't afford a house and kids otherwise, so that's the way it has to be for some who make that choice. You know what you're getting into if you move there.

On the other hand, I wish more decent bands would come through Houston. They make it to Dallas or Austin, but not Houston so it becomes a mini-vacation to go see Supergrass or whoever...

Try to get as close to the 610 loop as you can afford. That's my advice. That and stay on the West side (just my preference there. I don't know the East or South side too well...)

Jason

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Maybe it sounds crazy but what we did was take our criteria (affordable housing + good arts/cultural scene + ethnic/cultural diversity + big enough to be interesting + warm sunny weather + good schools) and come up with a short list, which we then winnowed down by doing a lot of research. And came up with Houston. It's maybe not a perfect fit (i.e. we're very politically liberal and like to walk everywhere) but it seemed like it may work.

No relatives or friends in Houston. One acquaintance, a banker who was transferred there 2 years ago. And another who doesn't live in Houston but who teaches at the UoH one semester every year. Oh and someone I met once who lives in Beaumont. We are both Northerners, Midwest born and East Coast educated, and long-time New Yorkers. We were going to be brave and strike out into unknown territory. Honestly, everyone we've told is absolutely incredulous. They've heard of people moving to Vermont, London, L.A., Raleigh or even Austin. But never Houston. We just had an idea that there were lots of good things to be found in Houston and that it was an underappreciated city with bad press (v.s. an overappreciated city with good press, such as Seattle).

I'm not going to lie to you- It's not always fun being Liberal in Texas BUT Houston proper has a very strong Liberal bent... IN TOWN. The suburbs are decidedly conservative (Hello, Tom DeLay) and even in Monstrose we had a big time right-winger 2 doors down.

I think your husband will be very surprised by Houston. Here are some facts you can tell him that may impress him: We have the 2nd largest museum district outside of New York, The Houston Grand Opera is nationally renowned (and Opera In The Heights is good, too), we have the 2nd or 3rd largest public green space (Memorial Park) after Central Park; we are also a city on the move. It's very interesting coming from the Northeast to a city where it's just really developing in to the urban center it should be. I can't explain, but it's neat to see. Here's an article about a book that discusses Houston's more unique charms:

Weird Houston

I think someone else mentioned San Antonio. I think it's a great city and would definitely go there before Austin. My husband went to law school in Austin, so it's hard to say he really lived there, but he is fond of saying "Austin is so liberal it's intolerant." It's the kind of place your waitress is likely to ridicule you for ordering meat. Ugh.

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It's the kind of place your waitress is likely to ridicule you for ordering meat. Ugh.

So true. I was riding in a car there with a friend who was smoking a cig. While at a red light, some hippie granola chick sped up on her mountian bike and scremed at him to stop polluting the air!

Freaky.

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Yeah I feel like we are getting better in getting more of the indie bands since the Meridian opened. For a while, it was just Numbers and a few other places that weren't really the right kind of setting. Some bands are just not big enough for a place like Verizon, but too big for numbers. The meridian helped to take care of that gap and its made a difference. Even modest Mouse played at the meridian this past year and some of the upcoming groups there are in that same market. And we do usually get the bigger ones, such as the Strokes coming in march to verizon. Warehouse live is opening up soon too in the warehouse district, so I think we'll start to see more stops from people like belle and sebastian. Hopefully at least. overall though, I think its getting better when it comes to bands making stops here.

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I find it interesting that on Lazy Lane you have one of the biggest Republican contributors in TX living a couple of doors down from one of the biggest Democratic contributors, both in very modern (though remuddled from what I've heard) homes!

On the "liberal" topic (not that food choice really goes along political lines), I would love to see more vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Houston, but I think I doubt I'll see the day that it happens like it is in Portland, OR where my sister lives...

Jason

I'm not going to lie to you- It's not always fun being Liberal in Texas BUT Houston proper has a very strong Liberal bent... IN TOWN. The suburbs are decidedly conservative (Hello, Tom DeLay) and even in Monstrose we had a big time right-winger 2 doors down.
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Most of my favorite bands play Houston, but, alas, I will be driving to Dallas in March to see Belle and Sebastian and the New Pornographers.

Try living in San Antonio: there's no scene whatsoever there. If you like indie/"alternative" (what a worn-out, meaningless designation, but...) music, then Houston is frikkin' paradise by comparison.

One of our best friends lives in San Antonio. He was a Houston transplant from San Fransisco, then got transfered there. Anyway, everytime we get out there he takes us to see some great bands or art shows. There is a great art/sub-culture community in SA. They're just not obvious about it! Also, it is a quick drive to Austin- shorter than trying to get from Katy to downtown!

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Exactly. Also, though SA is pretty big population-wise, people told us that there's not much there. Jacksonville is way too white (no offense!), St. Louis never considered honestly but got the feeling that it was not thriving, in the same way that Pittsburgh, while full of gorgeous old brick homes and cultural institutions, is dying rather than thriving. And Kansas City, while full of gorgeous cheap craftsman bungalows, is the home of my mother in law!!!!!!! Also, very very white. Actually, there is some black population there too but it is so segregated that I visited for years before I saw one apart from my mother in law's cleaning woman. Tells you something, eh?

:lol:

Did places like San Antonio, Jacksonville, Kansas City, or St. Louis not make the list due to low cultural diversity?

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In my experience, it is more likely to find a liberal vegetarian than a conservative one, but I've known a conservative vegetarian or 2 in my day...

Sorry, it really had nothing to do with modernism and people moving to Houston, but veggie restaurants are just something I'd love to see more of in Houston. Don't know how well they'd do though. I do enjoy Pepper's on Richmond, Ziggy's and the place that took the old Ziggy's location, and Mission Burritos on W. Alabama, and the Garden Bistro on Westheimer at Fondren as well. Most restaurants have some form of meat/dairy free food if you look hard enough...

Jason

Liberals don't eat meat?
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Exactly. Also, though SA is pretty big population-wise, people told us that there's not much there.

I just don't think that's true. If it's not on your list, it's not and that's great but I hate to see a wonderful city like SA get a bad rap (not too different from what always happens to Houston). Andre has a great, educated and diverse group of friends. He may be the exception and not the rule, but it exists there. His best friends are a bi-racial couple- an African American art dealer and a Russian architect. Andre's girlfriend is from Italy and works at a boutique owned by a gay Latino and his crazy white sister in law.... Maybe the Asian population isn't strong, but I think SA has a lot going for it...

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Thanks, a fantastic answer to the question of Austin vs. Houston. I am copying this to my husband at once!

This is exactly my impression of Austin. We have about a dozen friends of friends there (vs. knowing basically no one in Houston) and I feel that they are all tattooed roller-derby-enthusiast vegan bloggers. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but feels a bit limiting and clich

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I went to Columbia too!!! I lived in Wein Hall for 2 years before transferring to an upstate school that had a great art program - Bard College. Ollie's was my hangout (along with everyone else) and I loved making treks to 125th for a Krispy Kreme (this was back when there was only like two in the whole world).

Houston to me is great because it's such a maverick city. You can be anyone and do anything here. I also feel the freedom of not having to work just to pay the bills and have a lot more time to paint, etc. The other posters are right when they say you can find anything here - hell, there's even an Aji Ichiban here!!!

This city just seems like it's on the cusp of something really big. I work in retail real estate and keep hearing about more and more cool stuff that will be built and that's coming to Houston in the next year or so. There's that feeling like DUMBO felt in the late 90's where there wasn't that much yet but you could tell it was coming....

I live in a 1920's apartment building Montrose close to River Oaks Shopping Center. It's great and I'm close to so much. I think that throughout Montrose you'll find great houses and a population that's similar to the Upper West Side. You've got your gays, artists, and other liberal-minded folk. The neighborhood that's the most like the Upper West Side in my opinion is Southampton (just north of Rice U). But, it's extremely pricey. There you've got more families and a slightly older population that's still pretty liberal. The Museum District is the other cool neighborhood that's a little edgier but will just keep getting better as the museums expand and projects go forward.

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It's real nice to hear about people who moved here and are happy about it. I was born and raised here, but my dad got transferred to CA when Gulf was taken over by Chevron. I loved the Bay Area, but after my dad passed on, my mom moved back to Texas and then she got sick so we moved here to be near her. After she passed on, we kind of had to decide if we wanted to live here or move back to CA. Since we already have good jobs here and we never could have bought a house for $200-$300K there, we've decided to "live it up" here and enjoy being home owners. Will we ever move back? Probably yes, because my wife still has family out there, but for now, we are enjoying our low cost of living here.

I really hope we are on the verge of recognition as one of the country's greatest cities, though I think that with our nation's cynical media that it will be hard to come by.

Jason

I went to Columbia too!!! I lived in Wein Hall for 2 years before transferring to an upstate school that had a great art program - Bard College. Ollie's was my hangout (along with everyone else) and I loved making treks to 125th for a Krispy Kreme (this was back when there was only like two in the whole world).

Houston to me is great because it's such a maverick city. You can be anyone and do anything here. I also feel the freedom of not having to work just to pay the bills and have a lot more time to paint, etc. The other posters are right when they say you can find anything here - hell, there's even an Aji Ichiban here!!!

This city just seems like it's on the cusp of something really big. I work in retail real estate and keep hearing about more and more cool stuff that will be built and that's coming to Houston in the next year or so. There's that feeling like DUMBO felt in the late 90's where there wasn't that much yet but you could tell it was coming....

I live in a 1920's apartment building Montrose close to River Oaks Shopping Center. It's great and I'm close to so much. I think that throughout Montrose you'll find great houses and a population that's similar to the Upper West Side. You've got your gays, artists, and other liberal-minded folk. The neighborhood that's the most like the Upper West Side in my opinion is Southampton (just north of Rice U). But, it's extremely pricey. There you've got more families and a slightly older population that's still pretty liberal. The Museum District is the other cool neighborhood that's a little edgier but will just keep getting better as the museums expand and projects go forward.

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We also do not know anyone but just decided to come down to houston before christmas for 2 weeks and looked around. It was pretty good, (except for lots of crows everywhere).

I hope you don't mind me phoning in a bird ID from Dallas. ;) Those weren't crows. Houston actually has a fairly low population of crows considering what a high bird area it is. The birds you were seeing were grackles. The important difference to Houston is the crows are a cousin of the Blue Jay and are killed by the west nile virus, while grackles seem to be impossible to get rid of!

Jason

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I hope you don't mind me phoning in a bird ID from Dallas. ;) Those weren't crows. Houston actually has a fairly low population of crows considering what a high bird area it is. The birds you were seeing were grackles. The important difference to Houston is the crows are a cousin of the Blue Jay and are killed by the west nile virus, while grackles seem to be impossible to get rid of!

Jason

Thanks for clarifying. I did a search on them. Do they really kill and eat small birds?

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Thanks for clarifying. I did a search on them. Do they really kill and eat small birds?

The grackle most people would associate with in Houston is the noisy great tailed grackle. They're much more likely to eat french fries than small birds. The common grackle has been very rarely been sighted eating small birds, but not anywhere near as common as say Blue Jays.

Jason

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The grackle most people would associate with in Houston is the noisy great tailed grackle. They're much more likely to eat french fries than small birds. The common grackle has been very rarely been sighted eating small birds, but not anywhere near as common as say Blue Jays.

Jason

Are they consider a huge problem in houston?

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The grackle most people would associate with in Houston is the noisy great tailed grackle. They're much more likely to eat french fries than small birds. The common grackle has been very rarely been sighted eating small birds, but not anywhere near as common as say Blue Jays.

Jason

When I lived in Dallas, I worked on Knox St. There was a grackle that would fly down and attack people as they were walking! We used to see it from our store window and couldn't help but laugh...

UNTIL.... one day I was walking from Starshmucks to my store and the damn thing swooped down AND PECKED MY HEAD!!! I was freaked. It was like a horror movie. Apparently, she was a momma protecting her nest. As much as I can appreciate that, I really dislike grackles.

Edited by heights_yankee
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UNTIL.... one day I was walking from Starshmucks to my store and the damn thing swooped down AND PECKED MY HEAD!!! I was freaked. It was like a horror movie. Apparently, she was a momma protecting her nest. As much as I can appreciate that, I really dislike grackles.

There was a nation wide story from Houston (downtown I believe) last May just like yours. They're population is so huge and so close to people you're bound to get some crazy ones.

Jason

Edited by JasonDFW
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I hope you don't mind me phoning in a bird ID from Dallas. ;) Those weren't crows. Houston actually has a fairly low population of crows considering what a high bird area it is. The birds you were seeing were grackles. The important difference to Houston is the crows are a cousin of the Blue Jay and are killed by the west nile virus, while grackles seem to be impossible to get rid of!

Jason

Grackles aren't hard to get rid of, you just gotta get a bead on 'em !

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There was a nation wide story from Houston (downtown I believe) last May just like yours. They're population is so huge and so close to people you're bound to get some crazy ones.

Jason

That story was pretty amusing. Those trees are across the street from my office, and I never saw anything close to what they made it sound like on the news.

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Are they consider a huge problem in houston?

Not at all. They are very interesting birds. Tail so huge they can barely fly, the males are always doing their little macho strut, they often point their heads straight up in the air in tandem like some whacked out, upside-down chorus line, for some strange reason, they make very bizarre sounds, almost like video game noises and they roost in bunches with the resulting sound projecting from the trees that is both deafening and chaotic, and the other result is that they leave sidewalks (and unsuspecting cars) quite guano-laden.

They are also extremely urban, so we should like them, right? And who can't help but admire the male's shiny, black, iridescent coat, almost like wet leather. Really, they're the subtropical version of most northern cities' bird, the pigeon, but much more charismatic.

Hmmm, maybe we should've called the soccer team the Grackles, but that's another topic.

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From the Chron article: "He noted that the Chronicle's story quoted a deputy county clerk as saying employees might start carrying umbrellas to defend themselves."

With grackles, there's sometimes another very good reason to carry an umbrella (and it's more along the lines of Mel Brooks than Alfred Hitchcock ;) )

They congregate en masse in oak trees at dusk, and hold impromptu contests as to who can scream the loudest and poop the most. Often, it's difficult to choose a winner, as they're all quite successful at both.

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Not at all. They are very interesting birds. Tail so huge they can barely fly, the males are always doing their little macho strut, they often point their heads straight up in the air in tandem like some whacked out, upside-down chorus line, for some strange reason, they make very bizarre sounds, almost like video game noises and they roost in bunches with the resulting sound projecting from the trees that is both deafening and chaotic, and the other result is that they leave sidewalks (and unsuspecting cars) quite guano-laden.

They are also extremely urban, so we should like them, right? And who can't help but admire the male's shiny, black, iridescent coat, almost like wet leather. Really, they're the subtropical version of most northern cities' bird, the pigeon, but much more charismatic.

Hmmm, maybe we should've called the soccer team the Grackles, but that's another topic.

That tail actually allows them to fly. In the fall for a short time the males lose their "great" tail, and their flying goes down the toilet. They have a real hard time landing especially without it. The other thing that happens when their tail goes away is their macho attitude is replaced with a timid one.

Speaking of subtropical, you guys actually do have some truly subtropical pigeons in the form of the boat tailed grackle which is found in Houston and only a few other places very close to the coast. Its just like the great tailed grackle without the urban attitude and most of the toilet flushing sounds are replaced with typical bird "tweets".

Here's the typical great tailed, easy to distinguish from crows by the color and yellow eyes:

grackle.jpg

Here's the boat tailed which doesn't have as yellow of eyes:

ic7h0362_std.jpg

Edited by JasonDFW
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Ahhhhhh....YES! Thanks for the grackle talk, Jason! I think you and I had an entire grackle thread last year.

One of my favorite birds in Houston...you see, one of my favorite pasttimes in the spring is standing around, drinking beer with friends at a BBQ, and having a grackle-calling contest. You get bonus points for doing the dance!

FEAR THE GRACKLE! :lol:

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  • 1 month later...

Bon question. Here's my really long answer.

First of all, weather was gorgeous, people were fabulously friendly, and Mr. Mod himself, Robert Searcy, is surely the best, nicest, most knowledgeable realtor out there. I had no idea realtors were allowed to be honest, decent and pleasant. He was even patient with the baby. We loved him!

Day 1: We visited Norhill, Brookesmith, and vicinity, I guess the eastern fringes of the Heights. Small but charming bungalows, but for what we'd like to spend ($200K), usually a bit too small, a bit dowdy, vigorously Home-Depot-ized, or in a somewhat questionable location.

Day 2: duplexes in Montrose/Museum, with the idea of living in 1 and renting out the other. For the most part they were just pricey enough that the numbers wouldn't work out for us. Rent on 1 duplex wouldn't cover 1/2 the mortgage. Also, while I liked the neighborhood I was a little confused by the patchiness of it. We did love a condo in 4004 Montrose, though, which was nearly perfect in every way except for a $600 common charge and rumors of construction/repair issues.

Day 3: Eastwood. Loved it. Much more for the money than Norhill et al, and nicer streets too. But the lack of schools/parks/stores/restaurants stopped us short. With a little kid, it's hard to be away from conveniences. Then on to Glenbrook Valley. Wow it's nice down there. Winding green tree-lined streets of well-kept houses. Robert alllllmost had us with one of his listings... a 5BR on a huge piece of land. But Jarrett snapped out of it and started screaming. It was way too burby for him. Too much of a shock after living in Manhattan for so long. I *think* I could do it, but Jarrett couldn't sleep that night, it made him so nervous!

Day 4: Breaking out of the loop... While Robert closed on a deal, we spent the day exploring Piney Point, Bunker Hill, Memorial, the Galleria area and lots of other areas we can't afford. Just to get an idea. Boy, after seeing Central Market and all those stores, Jarrett's words were: "God bless Robert, but he's got a tough row to how, trying to lure people to the east side!" And we're not even shoppers. Just saw at once the convenience of having anything you need right there. Poor Robert!

Day 5: Spring Branch mods, Memorial townhouses. Spurred in part by a Houston Press cover story on the best high schools in the city (Spring Branch #4), we go with Robert to check out Spring Branch. SB has a lot to recommend it: in addition to the great schools, much more racial/cultural diversity, and proximity to shopping. And we see a beautiful mod that has been nearly but not quite ruined by renovation. On a beautiful block, for a good price, and very close to lots of Korean groceries and restaurants (a big plus for us, as we're 1/2 Korean!). But this is the burbs for real, and Jarrett isn't sure he can lump it, good schools or no. Again for schools, we check out townhouses in the Memorial area, zoned for Frost. Not bad, not great.

Day 6: Westbury: another great mod, another great school (Parker). And it has a pool! But boy, it sure looks like any suburban block anywhere. Gives Jarrett the willies and a severe case of anomie. And I have to admit, me too.

2 WEEKS LATER: Well, we're back in freezing (literally - 31 degrees) grey New York City. I am looking out at the gorgeous historic cast iron building across the street (studio of fashion photographer Arthur Elgort), one of dozens here in SoHo. Houston had so much to recommend it, but I still can't wrap my mind around the construction there. We're so used to huge brick/limestone/stone/cast iron buildings that ranch houses don't seem quite real to us. We were disappointed in the neighborhoods. The Heights didn't seem really neighborhoody. People were nice (we were regulars at the Hgts Blvd playground and lots of families chatted us up), but if those 3 blocks of 19th Street are the primary retail it doesn't really cohere. It's more like blocks of houses than a real neighborhood. Montrose even more so. Occasional blocks or 2 of cute buildings but everything bisected by big faceless boulevards and weird patches of who knows what-all.

It's funny, we liked Houston a lot more than we thought we would (it's much greener and prettier, for one thing, and more diverse than we'd heard) but on the other hand we came away with issues we hadn't foreseen. I had hoped that the Heights would be something like Park Slope or the West Village here, and it was nothing like. It made me wonder where those people shop or hang out, where were the neighborhood cafes or bakeries? Yale Blvd seemed too impersonal and large in scale to serve as the neighborhood corridor, and all around I saw fewer mom-and-pop shops and restaurants than I'd hoped.

So we are a bit lost. As Jarrett says, Houston is still very much on our radar, not least in part b/c Robert and the people on this forum have been so incredibly helpful and friendly that it augurs well for meeting great people should we move there. However, it isn't everything we had hoped for. I have a suspicion that we will never find everything we are hoping for. I doubt such a place exists. Is it affordable San Francisco with good schools? Ethnically diverse Portland with good weather? Smog-free affordable L.A. w/o the LAPD and all those actors? Affordable NYC w/o the craziness? So we have to figure out our priorities and adjust our expectations accordingly. We may also have to take another look at the budget and see how the picture changes if we increase the housing budget a bit.

In the meanwhile, I will admit, it's nice to be back home. Any time any of you is in NYC give me a shout out and I'll show you around!

Sohomod. Did you ever take your visit to Houston? How did it turn out? I would like to know what areas you liked.
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I'm sad you didn't find the Heights (especially Norhill) neighborhoody. :(

Maybe I've just lived in Texas long enough that my definition of the word has changed.

It probably won't be enough to sway you, but they are putting in a big shopping complex just off Taylor and I10. There will be a Target and, rumor has it, a Whole Foods. It should eventually be linked to the east side of The Heights by a bike trail. The Heights will be the same in some ways (bad and good) and change some ways (bad and good) in the next couple years. I think it's going to be cool to be a part of what it will become and would very much like the perspective of people who lived in other great cities.

I am so glad to hear you saw many of the things about Houston other people don't know exist- the green space and the diversity. Even if you don't end up here, you can help spread the good word about the city millions of us call home :D

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Sohomod,

Can I ask what unit in 4004 Montrose you got to look at? I just sold my two bedroom there and surely miss the locale. I'm suprised at the fees you mentioned. My 1220 sqr footer only rated $385 a month (which does make a $160k condo feel like a $200k one).

Best of luck in your search.

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Hi Lowbrow,

I actually looked at 4004 b/c of your raves about it and I agree, it is a great location!

The unit we saw was a front corner, about 1900 SF 2BR. It was really nice. Private roof deck, 2 story atrium, great layout. I guess the fees were so high b/c of the square footage. Take a look! Not sure if I remember correctly but it was not that $$, maybe $170K? But that $600 condo fee and the possibility of it going higher if there needed to be more work which we heard rumors of...

Sohomod,

Can I ask what unit in 4004 Montrose you got to look at? I just sold my two bedroom there and surely miss the locale. I'm suprised at the fees you mentioned. My 1220 sqr footer only rated $385 a month (which does make a $160k condo feel like a $200k one).

Best of luck in your search.

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Great posts, Sohomod, the kind of posts that are very insightful.

As for the Heights... the Heights has a dynamic that is not unlike the city in general, in that it has more than one core, and as a result, it takes a while to determine what each core has that you're looking for.

For example, the cool and casual shopping that you might do on the weekends is more centered on 19th Street while the more ecletic dining can be found on White Oak. It takes a while to really figure the 'hood out.

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Ah yeah thats a big place. Those rooftop patios can be nice but I actually prefered my single level flat with a big patio backing up to the priest quarters in back. Lots of trees and no stairs for my kids to navigate. Also it was right next to the elevator to the basement garage. If we werent shooting for 3+ kids I never would have sold the place.

Thanks for all the info about how your trip went. Best of luck.

Ciao~

Hi Lowbrow,

I actually looked at 4004 b/c of your raves about it and I agree, it is a great location!

The unit we saw was a front corner, about 1900 SF 2BR. It was really nice. Private roof deck, 2 story atrium, great layout. I guess the fees were so high b/c of the square footage. Take a look! Not sure if I remember correctly but it was not that $$, maybe $170K? But that $600 condo fee and the possibility of it going higher if there needed to be more work which we heard rumors of...

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Hi, we're relocating from NYC and after all these years of living in a SoHo loft, excited about owning one of your gorgeous Houston mods. Love the look of Glenbrook Valley but wondering how safe it is, whether it is well served by stores, playgrounds and other amenities that have become so much more important now that we have a toddler, the state of the schools, and any noise or other impacts from Hobby Airport. Also, would love any other recommendations for neighborhoods to explore (Sharpstown, Meyerland, Bellaire West, etc.?). Our budget is $200K.

Look west!

We moved to Houston just a little over a year ago (from Austin) and found a neighborhood (Tanglewilde) that's perfect for us. Zip is 77063, it's near the intersection of Gessner and Westheimer. We got a great house, built in '57, for right around $150K.

Plenty of amenities - tons of fast food places within a mile, walking distance to a Borders bookstore and a Randalls grocery store (with a Kroger a 2-3 minute drive away), etc. It's a nice safe neighborhood - I've never seen so many people out (even at late hours) walking their dogs or pushing their kids in strollers.

The houses here aren't huge, but a few of them are most definitely mod. You can see pictures of ours at http://www.fiftieshouse.com. One of our neighbors just sold their house, and there are 2-3 more places for sale on our street and numerous homes available in the neghborhood.

The Tanglewilde POA has a web site: http://www.tanglewildepoa.org/. However, membership is voluntary and not required.

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I'm late to this party.

I moved from Tulsa to Houston (by choice) 15 years ago. We bought in the Heights 10 years ago, south of White Oak and just off Heights Blvd. No kids planned, and yet here I am with two girls 3 and 6. I'm recently widowed, so will probably be selling soon to take advantage of the equity.

I went to school at Barnard, back in the day when Columbia College was for the boys.

I love walking in my neighborhood. We don't have a lot of mom/pop restaurants in Heights proper because it's a dry area (BYOB). We ate out a lot in Montrose and downtown. For a long time we had one car, and so I bussed or biked it.

Schools: I would definitely avoid non-HISD like the plague. There are many bad HISD schools but you can cherrypick the ones you want and send your kids there. I feel that the suburban schools are pretty much one size fits all. If it works for your children, fine; if not, you are SOL.

My oldest is a kindergartener at Wilson Elementary in Cherryhurst (Montrose). It just opened last year as an all Montessori public school, and in addition, has a fine arts magnet program. My daughter gets art, piano and ballet/jazz. She loves it. So much so, that when we move we will keep the school! The other nice thing is that it is for three year olds through eighth grade, so you don't have to make decisions on middle schools, just high school. The school has been very supportive since her dad died.

I believe every HISD school has a gifted and talented program, but there is also Vanguard schools which are all G&T - sort of like Stuyvesant. We originally wanted River Oaks or Travis. My daughter interviewed and didn't like the teacher, so she wouldn't answer her questions! I just got her Stanford 10 scores; she scored in the 99th percentile in math and reading and so could transfer to a Vanguard program, but it is more pressure than I want for my young children. I feel they are progressing fine.

Katy ISD will tell that they teach one grade level ahead of the kids' grade - talk about pressure. The Woodlands is similar.

Many, many people homeschool their kids, and it is an attractive option - Texas has one of the most liberal policies and makes it very easy. Sure, lots do it for religious reasons, but many do it to fit the family schedule, because their kids are muscians, etc.

There's also a Sudbury Valley school in the Heights if you like unschooling.

Sohomod, I will send you a PM on a rental.

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