Someone commented asking me what I think of Houston as a city to live in now and also later as an old person. They then asked me not to publish the comment, so I will answer the question briefly, without alluding directly to questions raised in the comment and which apparently could have de-anonymized the question (although I have no clue who the person is). Here is a very useful map and there are many maps of neighborhoods available.

Houston does not have downright bargain real estate and if you live in River Oaks, where the senior Bushes apparently do, you will spend as much as you would anywhere and it will not be worth it if you like mountains, dry weather and seas, as I do. However, it has affordable real estate. I would recommend living inside the loop, of course, let us say in Rice Village or the Montrose; you are in the West and in a hip, urban place and oddly, you can feel flashes of California. It is a large city, which I like, and it is also an old town with established tradition and culture, and I like that.

In Houston there are the famous medical centers, of course, so when you are very old you will not have difficulty finding solutions for illnesses; in the meantime there is a great deal happening culturally and there are many wonderful, inexpensive restaurants. This is why I would say, yes, do it. Buy as close to a luxury condominium now in as good a neighborhood as you can, move there, make friends, learn the practicalities of living there. Then, when you are old, you just hire more help at home, and that is it.

Since it is a large city, Houston also has a great deal of support for senior citizens who need it, from agencies like this. It does not have an organization like San Francisco Village (I believe Austin has, but I cannot find it now) but an extroverted person might not need this. Also, I think that by the time I am old — in 30 years, if the seas have not risen too high by then — Houston may have one. It also has an international airport that is a hub; you can fly nonstop to Europe, South America and many other places. Flight time to Mexico City is two hours.

That is why I am saying, buy your good Houston condominium now, in a building that already has services. Yes, I would rather do this in San Francisco where my friends are and yes, cities like New Orleans are more beautiful and of course, I would like to live by mountains and seas; ideally I would live right above a beach and contemplate the ocean each day. Houston, however, has many viable aspects other places do not, and it is within reach.

If you become rich at a later point you can always sell that good Houston condominium you are buying now. And if I had gotten tenure that time I went up and did not, I would not have spent all the money moving I did, and I would have been making raises at that university ever since. I would have that condominium already and it would be my writing house.




Filed under News

7 responses to “Houston

  1. Jonathan Mayhew

    My daughter is applying to Rice, a college there. I wonder if it is a good place for her to live, since I’ve never been there.

  2. Z

    Living at Rice, definitely. Houston, or rather Houston inside the loop, is a great college town and there are very many opportunities in the city. My concern would be transportation, there is public transit but it is not good enough and you can walk or bike lots of places in the Rice area but you cannot walk or bike everywhere. She will probably want a car eventually.

    You should go down and visit, taking some lower end rooms (all are nice) at the Modern B and B, 4003 Hazard, and discuss Houston with the owner, Lisa, who has a very great deal of cultural information and knowledge of neighborhoods. Other guests will be visiting artists and academics and you can even network if you want to.

    Walk down to the Mucky Duck for good live folk or rock music and casual food. Take a longer walk up to the River Oaks theatre in one direction, which is an art cinema that serves wine, or in the other, to the hip cafés on Westheimer and then out to see the Ménil collection which is stellar. Check out the related museums including the Byzantine Chapel and the Rothko, of course.

    This is just to start. You can drive from Lawrence although I think it might be a boring ride.

  3. Jonathan Mayhew

    Thanks. She is going with her mom to audition there in February.

    • Z

      This is funny — the last academic that I didn’t know but I gave college town advice to for a child of theirs was John Beverly!

      If she goes there you will enjoy visiting and can also easily take excursions to Austin and San Antonio which have charms too.

  4. I will print this post for the next time I am in Houston. I just spent a week there, and the only thing I did was going from house to house (of B.’s relatives) eating and drinking. Not complaint, it was the goal of the visit, but no time to explore the city either.

  5. Z

    This is making me feel like taking a weekend off in Houston. I swore I would not do something extravagant but after this unexpectedly awful winter break I might need a reset. H. is solid in a way N.O. is not, so it builds health.

    Here is the Houston Press, the only tour guide you really need. http://www.houstonpress.com/ If you go to the café Brazil at Westheimer and Dunlavy you can pick up a copy of this and other leaflets about what is going on, and from there plan your weekend.

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