Archive for July, 2006

Next on the Bulldoze List: River Oaks Shopping Center and the Landmark River Oaks Theater

Ugh.

An article in Saturday’s Chronicle reported that two buildings of the River Oaks Shopping center could be torn down to be replaced by (yet another) high rise condo and multistory Barnes & Noble. Although Weingarten Realty, the company that manages the shopping center, refused to comment, the demolition plans were confirmed by tenants of the River Oaks Shopping Center.

Which buildings are on the bulldoze list?

1. The River Oaks Shopping Center building at the northeast corner of Shepherd and West Gray, where Three Brothers Bakery is. This will be the location of the multi-story Barnes & Noble.

2. The Landmark River Oaks Theater, Houston’s oldest functioning movie theater (opened in 1939), and one of the few places to watch foreign & indepdendent films in the city. A place near and dear to my heart.

There’s also some concern that Barnes & Noble will close the Bookstop in the West Alabama Shopping Center. According to the Chronicle, “In 1989, Bookstop won national attention for its creative preservation of the Alabama movie theater, built in 1939. Nine years later, Barnes & Noble bought the Bookstop chain.”

Our friends at Houstonist have started a petition – http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/riveroaks/. Sign if you want to preserve these historical Houston landmarks!!!!

Houston and its coolness

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This weekend, the Houston Chronicle had a good article on ’20 Cool Things About Houston’ that you should check out.

The Houston Metblog gang agrees that there are many cool things about our hot and sweaty city, but way more than a list of 20 could ever cover. Watch out over the next few weeks as we unveil our 75 Houston Best Things list with photos and descriptions of some of the reasons we are happy to call H-Town our home.

Do you have any must-adds to this 75 Best-Of list? Let us know if you agree or think we’re missing out on some of your favorite Houston spots (whether it be eating, lounging, shopping, sight seeing, etc.).

Thanks to Ed for the heads up on the Chron article!

Heights Target store now open

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Please try and remain calm, Houston Heights residents — but the new Target store (2580 Shearn St) is now open for your shopping pleasure.

We stumbled across a parking lot full of shoppers this weekend, as it had a ‘quiet opening’ before today’s grand opening. It was an exciting moment, as this means Target bliss is now only a moment’s drive away on I-10. Glorious!

You’ll notice a lot of construction near the new store – supposedly they are also putting up a Best Buy pretty soon and will have a Chick-Fil-A in the vicinity as well. I’m interested to see how the rest of the neighborhood responds to the appearance of these mega-stores (some parts have been not as positive, as noted here).

Fun volunteer opportunity

The Houston SPCA is having a party……err…..a painting party that is. They need help getting their new building (the property next door formerly occupied by Carrier – now called “The Annex”) up to snuff… and, they’re asking for your help.

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As if that weren’t enticing enough, you’ll get to hang out with Bryan Caesar and Charles Jantzen of Animal Cops: Houston fame. So, come on down Sunday, July 30th from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and paint. They’ll provide the pizza, drinks and music. Oh, and this is a great time to get your family and friends involved. As long as they’re over 15, bring em! Its a great way to make a deposit in your “warm fuzzies” bank.

Help Out the Depelchin Children’s Center School Supply Drive

The Depelchin Children’s Center is holding a school supply drive to gather the supplies the kids need for the upcoming school year. In additon to adoption, foster care, and counseling services, Depelchin also operates a residential treatment center with a school. I’ve been helping out at the Depelchin Children’s Center for a couple of years now and have seen some amazing progress with the kids. It’s a remarkable program. If you would like to help out with the school supplies, you can bring the supplies to the main campus between July 31 and August 4 or you can make a cash donation online.

Depelchin School Supply Drive Instructions and Logistics
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Houstonist Gathering – August 2nd

Houstonist is having a meetup:

We’re working under the assumption that you haven’t made plans for after work Wednesday, Aug. 2, yet (and that if you have, you’re about to change them). Houstonist will be having our first happy hour that day — we’re calling it “Happyist,” because that’s how we roll — and you’re invited. Did we mention we’re buying you drinks?

So, the details: Come by Poison Girl between about 6ish and 8ish, have a drink on our tab (until the tab runs out, that is) and meet us Houstonists. We’ve been woefully slow in getting official Houstonist schwag, but we think we still have a couple of highly coveted Houstonist pinewood derby T-shirts and an orange vinyl Astodome coin purse we can give away. Uh, anyone wanna help us out with some prizes?

Houstonist Happyist
6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2
Poison Girl
1641 Westheimer Road

Perhaps if folks from Houston Metroblogs, the Chron.Commons, the Geeks Who Gather, BlogHouston, and Lone Star Times show up and ply him with much of a muchness of alcohol, he might be convinced to link to other local blogs a bit more often and build up the Bayousphere.

Israel and Lebanon *can* get along…Houston has proof

It’s sad to see what is going on in the Middle East. And just to clarify, Israel isn’t fighting Lebanon, but rather Hezbollah which is a militant group that the P.M. of Lebanon can’t seem to control. It seems that the mainstream media is trying to paint this as a war between Israel and Lebanon, which isn’t the case.

Despite what one might be led to believe, we can all get along. And quite prosperously I would add. Proof? Hilcroft. Specifically between Westheimer and I-59. Tons of stores, restaurants and other kinds of businesses that represent a multitude of diversity. Mexican Panaderias, Indian restaurants, a Russian general store, Baptist church (not a business, but I bet they’ll take your donations ;-D) a bagel shop, and much more. There’s an article and an interactive section over on the Chron about Hilcroft.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/4047533.html
http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/special/06/hillcroft/hillcroft.html

An evening at Onion Creek Cafe

oc.pic4.jpg So, last night was a Houston Metblogger meeting, and my first visit to Onion Creek Cafe in the Heights. Onion Creek’s been on my list of places-to-check-out for a while, so I was looking forward to finally making a visit.

Onion Creek is located on White Oak Bayou, about two blocks west of Studewood. Parking was a little tight, but I managed to squeeze into the last parking space in the back. Inside the cafe are a few tables, couches and full bar. My favorite part, though, was the huge outdoor patio that wrapped around half the cafe. There was a pretty healthy-sized crowd outside, but the tables were spaced well enough so that it didn’t feel cramped. And a lush wall of plants/greenery bordering the patio makes you forget that the cafe sits right on a relatively busy street. There was also a flat screen TV playing the Astros game. I didn’t order any food, but Luke had good things to say about their sandwiches. I did get a granita (thanks to Katie), which was delicious.

I really liked Onion Creek’s mellow vibe and equally mellow crowd. I’ll definitely go back for after-work unwinding with friends. Actually, the Heights is the one area of town that I’m pretty unfamiliar with and hope to spend more time exploring.

What are your favorite Houston blogs?

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We live in a big-ass city with lots going on — I rely on the magic of RSS feeds to keep me posted on breaking H-Town news, upcoming shows and delicious gossip-y tidbits.

A few Houston sites that fill my brain:

– A number of Houston Chronicle blogs
HouStoned blog (with love from the Houston Press gang)
Houston Calling – great music know-how and showtimes
Houstonist – news wrap-ups and cool Houston pics
BlogHouston – news and social commentary
Houston Architecture Forum – wow, a little of everything

Where do you go to keep up-to-date? What are your favorite online Houston spots? Fabulous Houston photo via Flickr from Laanba

I Didn’t Know This Was An Issue

So last weekend, I was driving from my favorite record store (Sound Exchange) to attend a birthday party at Berry Hill (on Montrose), when I drive past the following sign:

sign on Richmond

I can’t recall hearing about a rail proposal on Richmond. Does anyone know about this? Am I THAT far out of the loop?

IMO: If the city really wants to alleviate traffic congestion via mass transit, they should install rail lines between the freaking airports.

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