People living inside the Loop might think they never need to go anywhere else in Houston.
And, apparently, it’s been this way for nearly 40 years:
A 1981 report describing Houston’s downtown then points out just how different we are in the 21st century, and how much is still the same.
“Hard-line Loop residents consider it heresy to work, live, dine, or play outside the Loop, the way Greenwich Villagers claim they get a queasy feeling traveling above 14th Street,” the piece by David Butwin reads.
Butwin goes on to describe cultural institutions drawing flocks of people, much like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Menil and the Rothco Chapel still do today, but noting how, even then, people didn’t walk much in “traffic-heavy Houston.”
Home to NASA since the 60s, the city is still “space age,” though it no longer boasts the three skylines the author mentioned, and few would probably describe Montrose as a “small, neighborhoodly community” any more, though some of the galleries and artistic vibe remain.
Today, the MFA is only free one day a week, rents are higher and traffic is even worse, but some things did change, many of which would say for the better:
The diversity among Houston residents Butwin noted in his article multiplied exponentially, and people are reportedly looking to use their feet or their bikes instead of their cars to get more places around town.
In ’81, Butwin wrote about what many would eventually describe as Houston’s reputation for excellent food; now you can hardly turn around without encountering award-winning cuisine from a dozen different ethnic backgrounds, even beyond the borders of 610.
Regarding its proximity to Galveston and seafood cuisine, Butwin described Houston as “more Louisiana than Texas.”
This may still be true, but, in recent years, Houston is known for a little bit of everything, thanks to the influx of people from a little bit of everywhere; you can pick up Indian treats at Raja sweets in Bellaire or sushi at Tokyo Bowl much closer than Kyoto.
Butwin also noted the comparatively low cost of good food inside the Loop then – still a common theme now, as well.
Modernly, however, coupled with the price of real estate, rates indisputable increased since the 80’s, leading some people to look elsewhere for their entertainment and dining, or to live ‘OTL’ – outside the Loop, as they say.
As an article in the Houston Press on the inner-versus-outer-loop debate notes:
“Houston belongs to all of us. There’s nothing that prevents someone living on the northwest side of town from enjoying destinations inside the loop, nor are inner-loopers prevented from exploring all of the cool things the rest of the city has to offer.”
Regardless of your stance, together, we have always been #HoustonStrong.