Sometimes I like to google “Near Northside” just to see what I get. I guess I hope that I might find links to articles that mention this neighborhood whatever reason. Maybe I also kind of hope to find that someone else is blogging about the Near Northside, writing about us, making art about us, or making music about us. Mostly what comes up from these searches are references to the Near Northside in Chicago; which isn’t really what I’m looking for.
More searching brings up a few more results; adding “Houston” to the end or separating “Northside” into “North” and “Side”. The results come back a lot more relative to my search. Still, the links that show up on top are links to this, my own blog. Its a little flattering. Its nice to know that someone will most likely come across this site when searching for information on the neighborhood. Its also a little disheartening. I cant be the only person writing or referencing the Near Northside on the World Wide Web! Can I? Am I really? as it turns out, I am not.
One of my searches turned up this article in the Houston Chronicle from 2006 – Mayor, Councilman Sign Housing Deal. The Housing Deal appeared to be a plan to build more affordable housing in the neighborhood, a down payment assistance program, and money to buy land for future homes. According to the story, the deal was a plan by The Metropolitan Organization to preserve the character of the working-class community…
In recent years, residents and organizers have fought efforts by developers to build condos and other projects that would have raised property values, property taxes and forced residents out of their homes.
Because of its location within minutes of downtown Houston, the community was viewed as prime real estate in the ever-growing gentrification of inner-loop neighborhoods.
Another search yielded a blog entry from 2011 by a realtor who focuses on homes in the Heights. His entry asks, Is it time to recommend Near Northside Homes? In his article Mr. Martin cites the amazing renovation by Saul and Ruben Obregon on their historic house on Everett. The Obregon house was featured in a previous article in the Houston Chronicle by Lisa Gray (which Martin also mentions in his article). Martin confesses:
I have always been asked about the area between Lindale Park and downtown.. I have seen some wonderful old bungalows that would make me drool if they were in the Heights. They are not in the Heights though, or in any other easily categorized area. This is generally known as Near Northside Houston.
He ends the article with his recommendation:
So, is it it time to recommend this area? I would look into it, especially if you can’t afford the Heights. There are some darling homes in Near Northside.
Then there’s the photo below which I happened to see recently on Eater Houston
Poppa Burger by Gary R Wise. Source: houston.eater.com
Eater Houston calls itself, “The Houston Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife blog”. The blog updates a few times a day with hot new restaurant openings, craft beer releases, and other news that Foodies in Houston would need in order to plan their nightlife. The photo above was the top image on a list of such daily links. Of course, this is an image of the Poppa Burger on North Main and Harrington, across from the Casa De Amigos Health Center. Not necessarily the place that comes to mind after a night of drinking artfully crafted cocktails at Anvil. It probably doesn’t have the kind of cult following that Someburger or Frenchy’s might enjoy. Still, there it is, next to links that describe the right way to eat sushi; on a blog that highlights the city’s gastronimic diversity.
These links show that other people have, in fact, been writing about and referencing the Near Northside. Not necessarily Northsiders, but other folks in the City who have quietly been looking at this neighborhood over the last decade. While we, the current residents, have been complaining about being neglected, others are watching and waiting; taking an interest in the local resources that Northsiders might have taken for granted.
So why is it so hard to find art, music, photography, or writing about the Northside? Especially anything like this being done by Northsiders? Do we lack the resources or the training or the facilities to do so? Do we fail to recognize just what we have here because we live it everyday? Do we set our creative sights elsewhere in the City (Montrose, Museum District, Theater District) or even farther (New York, LA)?
As Northsiders we have the opportunity to identify ourselves to the rest of the City and the rest of the world. If we don’t do it, someone else will come in and do it – without an insider perspective, without respect for the history or the aspirations of the neighborhood, and without anyone’s permission.