Pocket Park at the Ball Park

IMG00272-20110729-1325.jpgAt Minute Maid Baseball Park–home of the Houston Astros–there is a privately maintained park space open to the sidewalk with perfectly maintain grass, plants, trees, statuary, and covered benches that are actually dugouts in the simulated ball field setting. As you walk to the edge and glance in the park you will get the feeling of neighborhood baseball games.  Next time you are going to a game take a moment, step off the sidewalk and enjoy the space, the baseball history and a serene moment. Continue reading

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A Quiet Place under an Oak Tree

CIMG5870.JPGThis small space on the edge of the much larger Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston is not one you can plan ahead unless someone began 100+ years ago by planting the oak tree.  The space gives me the feeling I think a rabbit would have when scurrying out of site under a bush.  The rabbit would look up through the stems and leaves to see if the humans were still there.

The rabbit and I have that in common as while sitting on the bench and looking past the tree’s canopy to the skyscrapers on the other side of the street and beyond I realize the giants are not going away and I have to go back to work. Continue reading

Benches below the traffic

Buffalo Bayou under Smith St.The two benches in this photo are below Smith St. and on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The concrete walkway was one of the initial pathways along the bayou that winds through the north end of Downtown Houston. In very heavy rains the water can rise almost to the bottom of the bridge. When it recedes the next day the benches have a small collection of debris and the trees look like they have been in a washing machine. Continue reading

Victory Gardens for Sustainability

SDC10341.JPGThe City of Houston is working to encourage sustainable aspects of life in the big city and one is to show how “victory gardens” can easily be started and enjoyed. In the case of the latest demo the garden adds a new dimension and reason for enjoying a great public space–Tranquility Park.

The first area created for container gardens is at the corner of Walker and Smith Streets in front of the City’s building known as 611 Walker. The latest location is in Tranquility Park across the street from the first. Click for Map. Continue reading

Lauren’s Garden at the new Market Square Park

Lau<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA>ren’s Garden is a memorial to Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, a Houstonian killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She was a passenger on United Flight 93, the hijacked airplane that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.  The garden includes a fountain and a memorial to all victims of the 2001 tragedy. It is another of the destinations inside the one-acre park that has a sense of place all to itself. Certainly the memory of that horrific day and the deaths of so many like Lauren brings a much deserved respectful quiet and peace to the small area. Continue reading

Houston Center’s on-street garden

Houston Center space with unrestricted public access McKinney at Caroline, downtown Houston

Houston Center is a business, living and leisure complex of sky-walk connected buildings in downtown Houston. The buildings and the centrally located garden in this photo are managed by Crescent Real Estate Equities, Ltd. The garden, at the corner of McKinney and Caroline, is a great place to get away from the glass, metal and concrete world of the inner downtown Houston office towers. Continue reading

Pedestrian Spaces at Washington Ave. Roundabout

CIMG1547_20100619 PGR.jpgI have driven through roundabouts in England but do not recall how the pedestrian space around them was used. In the case of one of the new roundabouts here in Houston the design provided great garden-like open spaces with benches and large plants. This space is part of the Washington on Westcott Roundabout Initiative, Inc.–a non-profit organization of neighborhood associations and community leaders donating their time. Continue reading

Travis St. Portal to Buffalo Bayou

CIMG1450.JPGThe Travis St. Bayou Portal to Buffalo Bayou was built by the Cotswold Project as a pedestrian connection from the street down to the future walkway along the bayou. The winding, tree lined, lighted walkway is on the west side of the Travis St. bridge on the south side of the bayou across the street from the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant. In this photo it is on the right side of the image. The simpler walkway on the left side of the image is the accessible route. More about that below. Continue reading