Houston – May 2019 – Random Views

We had a great couple of days in Houston, coming away with a great feel for the city. This posting is to cover the random sights that don’t fit anywhere else, like the featured image above from the Sam Houston Park Village with a little church in the middle of the skyscrapers downtown.

Even though I had been in Houston briefly a couple of times previously I had never seen the Astrodome. The world’s first indoor baseball and football stadium when it was completed in the early 1960s, it still stands unused.




The Wateralls across from the Williams Tower is 64′ high, 1 foot for each floor of the nearby skyscraper.




The ‘Twilight Epiphany Skyspace’ is located on the campus of Rice University. I had read that this was a cool thing to see, but when we got there in the middle of the afternoon I couldn’t understand why. It turns out you must be there at sunset or sunrise – maybe next time.




Houston is notorious for their traffic, with over 6 million people in the area and very little public transportation. They do however have a streetcar that covers a few miles in the center of the city.




As well as crossing a man made pond in the middle of Main Street.




Discover Park has an interesting pinwheel display with a device that when you blow into it just right, kicks off fans that make all the pinwheels spin.




Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice urban park space complete with a skateboard park.



The highlight of the park though was our tour of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Once used for retaining water for the city, it is now a cool space to explore on a guided tour.




The city has numerous examples of public art.









I have often wondered who has the concrete contracts for road construction in Texas as they build ramps that seem far longer than needed, and never pile up dirt to make the overpasses shorter.




In the theme of ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas’ – As we left the city and reached the suburb of Katy, Texas we made a stop at a Buc-ee’s. A Texas based chain, Buc-ee’s are massive – this one has over 60 gas pumps (the photo is only showing about 1/2 of them)!



The highlight though was the World’s Longest Car Wash (according to the Guiness World Records) – the 255′ long one at Buc-ee’s easily cleaned off 2,000 miles of dirt and grime. Now it is off for San Antonio!

Houston – May 2019 – McGovern Centennial Gardens

Just south of downtown Houston is Hermann Park, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. It is a small, well thought out space with flowers, plants and statues.














The statues featured great Latin American leaders, as well as (strangely) Scottish poet Robert Burns!












Houston – May 2019 – Sights at the Baseball Game

Since the Houston Astros had a home game, and we were staying a couple of blocks away, we checked out the scene. As with most stadiums they have sold the naming rights, so they play at Minute Maid Park 🙂




The crowd was gathering outside before the gates opened.



Anytime I visit a new stadium I like to get there early and walk around to check out the sights.



The TV people were preparing for their broadcast.




As with all the stadiums built in the last 25 years, all have ‘quirky’ features. This stadium has a retractable dome (which was closed because it was 90 and humid), as well as a giant glass wall facing the downtown buildings.



The bullpens were empty.



Some basic instructions were occurring.



Marketing + Marketing = Excess.



The left field scoreboard and stands.



Finally it was time for the game and the obligatory national anthem. This group of young string instrument players were excellent.



The Phillips 66 Home Run Pump, brought to you by Phillips 66.



They have a large train along the glass wall. This train weights 60,000 pounds, and the driver actually drives (and stops) it. In researching this there is no apparent reason why there is a train there other than someone liked the idea.



The massive main scoreboard – everything you need to know about Jose Abreu.



If you can’t hit a real baseball virtual reality gives you the chance.



They have cheerleader at a baseball game…. The most excited the crowd got was for the free t shirts.




Almost forgot – there was a baseball game played.





Crowds going for, or dodging, foul balls always make good subjects.







Finally it got all too slow and we headed out.






Houston – May 2019 – It Takes A Big Head to be President

David Adickes is a Texas born sculpture who, among other works, created large busts of American presidents for a park in Virginia. That park no longer exists, and many of the heads have made their way back to David’s studio in an industrial part of Houston in the shadow of a freeway bridge.

The overall feel of a bunch of giant presidents heads is surreal, but very cool.














































And one giant Charlie Chaplin!







Houston – May 2016 – The Graffiti Building(s)

Just southeast of downtown Houston is a collection of buildings known as the Graffiti Building. While the name is singular, the artwork is covering more than one building in the immediate area.

The topics and styles vary greatly, but most are creative and well done.


































The last three are a few blocks away, but fit the theme of this posting.










Houston – May 2019 – The Beer Can House

The website Roadside America is one of my favorites, and easily one of the most ‘classic Roadside America’ is the Beer Can House of Houston!

As you arrive you are greeted by a fence of (of course) beer cans.





In the late 1960s a retired upholsterer named John Milkovisch started inlaying thousands of marbles and rocks into concrete and wood to make landscaping features because as he said at the time ‘he was tired of mowing grass’.



For the next 18 years he flattened beer cans, that supposedly he and his friends emptied, and attached them to his house. Today the estimated 50,000 beer cans cover the entire house and former garage.




The early morning sun shining through the beer can top fence made an interesting pattern on the driveway.




It is owned today by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, who have the interesting exhibit next to Smithers Park.




The stringers on the front of the house sing in the wind. It is said that the beer cans actually help keep the house cooler in the hot Houston summers by reflecting the sun rays away from the house.




The Beer Can House – a Houston classic!






Houston – May 2019 – Modern Skyscrapers – Updated

Believe it or not there is a rating system for skylines, and in most of these rating systems Houston’s comes in 4th place in the country (behind New York, Chicago and Miami). Houston’s is a bit interesting in that not all of the tallest buildings are downtown.

This posting features some of the more interesting perspectives of the modern Houston skyline. After realizing I missed the 2nd day’s photos this posting has been updated with additional photos.