Sunday, June 03, 2007

Even More From Houston

Caroline Street in the Downtown Historic District

Let's take a look at a few more photos I took a couple of weeks ago during my visit back to Houston. This is a photo that shows a couple of things about how downtown has been coming back to life. First take a look at the street sign. As I have mentioned in earlier postings, Houston's various neighborhoods have been going to their own unique style of street signage. The type you see here is used in most of downtown, but vary the wording to denote Historic District, Theater District, etc. This photo also shows two styles of street lights that have been installed in the area, both with an older and more elegant look than the former ones, which were strictly utilitarian. Here we see a lower, single light on a pole, as well as a double overhanging light. There were also quite a few of these banners you see in the picture hanging around the area. These are obviously inspired by the Lone Star state flag of Texas.

Crosswalk arches in Uptown Houston

The next picture show the shiny arches that mark the location of crosswalks along Post Oak Road in the Uptown District. You can also see a second, distant set further down the road. These arches soar above pedestrian crosswalks, and match the shiny chrome-colored street lights, traffic signal masts, and the large circular street signs I have previously posted pictures of.

Houston's City Hall at night

My last night in Houston, I went out to get a few photos of the buildings downtown lit up. Much to my disappointment and puzzlement, the city was not lit very well that evening. Therefore, I got few usable pictures. It was actually quite eerie. Still I will share a couple here. The photo above is Houston's City Hall, built in 1938-1939. Similar city halls abound around this part of the country, all of about the same vintage. I am sure that when it opened, it was a grand building, but it is now diminutive by comparison. It is surrounded by soaring skyscrapers on three sides, along with the Houston Main Library. The building faces a reflecting pool and small park to its east side (shown here), and the west face is visible in front of the skyline if you are west of Downtown. Compared to Denver's grand city and county building, it seems amazing that this modest structure is the seat of government for the nation's fourth largest metropolis, until you realize that most city functions are housed at over 500 other buildings and annexes. Still, it is an icon of city government, and the place where many municipal ceremonies are held.

Houston's nighttime skyline - Click for a larger view

Like I have already mentioned, the city was not well lit that night, and I had the further frustration of not having a tripod with me. Still, this photo, while not the best, is acceptable. I used my sister's shoulder for a tripod as we stopped to the side of Memorial Drive approaching Downtown to get this view. The lights from the cars in the foreground are westbound traffic on Allen Parkway, on the other side of Buffalo Bayou from my vantage point. I suggest clicking the photo to get a better view.

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