Monday, January 14, 2008

Poll Results- Montrose Wins!

Best Neighborhood for Artists in Houston?

Montrose- 27%

The Heights- 25%

Warehouse District- 15%

Galleria- 10%
5th Ward- 10%

3rd Ward- 8%
Rice Village- 3%

Montrose, the gayest neighborhood in Texas, is also the best neighborhood for artists! Why would the bars and clubs and bungalows of this area transitioning between gay slum and urban professional capital market be so enticing? Because there's always something to do! It's like Greenwich Village in 1990. Everyone has stories about how good/bad it "used to be around here", but for young artists this is the best around.

The Heights, Montrose's sister neighborhood, is only a short jaunt across Buffalo Bayou. Pretty much like Brooklyn, the area is transitioning from middle class families to hipsters and yuppies. A new gallery seem to open every three months and bars and coffee houses are taking advantage of the new hipster surge. A sleepy burg that is waking up with a caffeine IV.

The Warehouse District or East End is still scary enough for most Houstonians to shit their pants if they find themselves on a dark road in the middle of the night. Many artist studios still hold on in the West End and old Chinatown, but new construction threatens rental rates and house parties with respectability and attention from HPD. If you can live without air conditioning and with rats, this is the place for you.

Uptown, or the Galleria, is a sprawling mix of strip malls and apartment complexes with the only real population concentration in Houston on the south side. Long known for its 4 massive malls and the car culture decadence of the Richmond Strip, not much art is exhibited here, but the rents and the jobs are where its at.

The 5th Ward extends from east of the Heights north past the 610 Loop, and the moniker is applied to much of the northside. Like Queens, but with worse drainage, 5th Ward is incredibly diverse, residential and sprawling. Crumbling infrastructure and city services contribute to the most fertile ground for graffiti writers, rappers and outsider artists in Houston.

3rd Ward, the birthplace of Screw, is much more tied to the inner city than the northside, and the contrast between affluent and destitute is palpable. Like the Bronx if concrete was reversed with overgrowth, 3rd Ward has always been one of the most inspired neighborhoods in the city.

Rice Village is wedged between Rice University and the upper middle class West University neighborhood. Why would artists live there? They're rich, or they like to sit around at cafes or cruise college girls at Little Woodrow's. The view is great.