Thursday, March 3, 2011

Playing the Tourist in My Own City, Houston

Shadows in office windows, downtown Houston.

March of the stumps near the pond in Heritage Park.

Azaleas in bloom, Heritage Park.

Fence ends, Heritage Park.

In the shadow of skyscrapers, the "Old Place" (1823) @ Heritage Park.

Mural, downtown Houston.

Wonderful new Tolerance Sculpture by Jaume Plensa, Allen Parkway, Houston.

Another Tolerance Sculpture (one of seven) by Jaume Plensa, Allen Parkway, Houston.

As you can see, I got carried away taking photos today, allowing myself a few hours walking around downtown and riding the bus through the Allen Parkway area. I needed to go to the downtown City Library and elected to ride a Metro bus, something I do rarely. The ride there was fine, but I had to wait an hour for the bus back. Apparently the bus I thought I would catch in 10 or 15 minutes suffered a breakdown. Thank goodness the weather was what we call "tolerable" here - yes a bit humid, but not too hot yet. I don't know how I might have stood that hour wait in the true heat of summer.

I always feel like a stranger when I walk around downtown, even though it is just a few miles from our house. Often when my husband and I go down there, it is for a theater performance or jury duty, etc. Rarely do I wander around taking in all the ambiance. At mid-day the streets are full of well-dressed office workers who look very savvy and accustomed to the downtown scene. I actually feel much more at home on the streets of Manhattan; maybe it's hard-wired into me since I grew up there. And the public transportation in New York is pretty reliable. Not that I don't love Houston, but New York City it is not. I feel much more at home in the Museum district here, or in my neighborhood near the Medical Center. But I love exploring new corners of my adopted city. Downtown is growing by leaps and bounds, and there is plenty to see and do.

I love the new Allen Parkway Tolerance sculptures of kneeling human figures made of enmeshed multilingual metal letters. They have a very ephemeral, spiritual quality. I could only take a few quick snapshots through the bus window, but want to go back and see them up close, along with the new Harmony Walk and Rosemont Bridge. My minor road trip today was long overdue. I've been working on getting our house ready to be painted, messing with the garden and making art. I hope to get back downtown again real soon!


Sandra Organ said...

I, too have taken the bus for the first time this week, and am amazed at what a different window into our city it brings, especially just crossing downtown on two busses to get to my office. So much new to do, with people living downtown, and more choices for eating and leisure( a bowling alley and a jazz club!)as well as lovely Discovery Green. I will join you one afternoon to take in the Allen Parkway sculptures...let's make it an art outing, by bike!

LoneStarLibrarian said...

Sounds great, Sandra! Before it gets too hot, of course.....