Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Houston Streets 4--more Bunker Hill

We look here Blalock and its many branches, still in Bunker Hill. You’ll notice this map has, in addition to the familiar red lines, some short green lines. These are footpaths apparently designed for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. You will also notice that the streets here spread out a bit—the lots are larger, and the houses are larger too. Indeed, even though there are plenty of new large houses along Blalock, not all of them are the dreaded McMansion-type house. After all, a McMansion is defined by being out-of-scale with its older neighbors, and out-of-scale with its lot. But if your neighbors also inhabit huge houses (some older, some brand-spanking new) and if your lot is large enough for you to put in tennis courts and a pool, well, you can build a just-plain-old mansion with no “Mc.”


As seen earlier, streets in Eastern Memorial often go for a rustic look. Leisure Lane takes this to the limit—it’s an actual dirt road, plunked down in the middle of one of the most concrete-covered cities in the U.S.

As we move east into slightly wealthier precincts, people show their wealth in different ways. One such display I heartily approve of is art in your lawn. I haven’t seen any heroic sculptures (either traditional or modern), but I did uncover a couple of piece of nice lawn art.


This one, on Leisure Lane, looks like a combination of Isamu Noguchi, Anish Kapoor, and Carl Andre (scroll down). I quite like it.


These metal butterflies are in front of an older modern house on Pine Tree.


The Pine Tree house also has this odd Monet-like mailbox.


Also on Pine Tree is this huge post-modern house. I like its playful colors—it has real personality, which is unfortunately lacking in most houses in Memorial.


This house on Shady Grove shows another use for a large lot—you can build a lake on it.

Greenbay (at the end of Flintdale) has nice little pedestrian cut-throughs on either end of it. (This Greenbay should not be confused with the larger Greenbay further to the east.) Strollers can thus go from Bunker Hill to Blalock—which can’t be done by car except at Memorial to the south and Taylorcrest to the north. Then if you go east across Blaylock, there is another footpath (pictured) that connects Blalock to Quail Hollow (which is a cul-de-sac off of Piney Point).

An even odder cut-through connects Blalock with Bending Oaks. This requires going up a long driveway off Blalock and walking to the left of a private house’s car port to the end of Bending Oaks. I felt a little uncomfortable doing this—this is not a footpath like the ones on Greenbay. It's someone's private property. But the way the owners have it set up, they seem almost to be inviting walkers to cut through their property. They have the driveway blocked up so cars cannot cut through, but while they could easily put a gate blocking walkers, they leave the footpath open.


I also get the idea that these people are pretty mellow folks. Look at their van! There aren’t many funky old Econolines in Memorial, I can guarantee you—nor do you see many recycled van seat benches, which you can see here on the right.

This house on Flintdale is an example of a “screened house.” Unlike the many owners of ostentatious mansions in this neighborhood, there are a number of people who plant a dense screen of vegetation in front of their homes, creating a screen of privacy.

Another 70s survivor, this one located Monica. This funky A-frame should be imagined with a James Taylor or Led Zeppelin soundtrack and a big plastic bong.

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