Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our #1 rankings, Houston getting travel plaudits, accessing edge city jobs, and more

Big backlog of small items to clear out...
"In fact, while much is made of rail bias, 45-foot commuter motorcoaches which directly link low-income suburbs with suburban employment may be perceived as higher-status than a rail-station “shuttle bus,” which is almost invariably the sort of cutaway-chassis affair that is usually associated with paratransit. If it’s good enough for Google, it oughtta be good enough for you."
"While fashioning a modern “adventure park” in an old facility presents technical challenges, it’s not unprecedented. In Detroit, the Globe Building, built in 1892 as a riverfront manufacturing hub, re-opened as the Outdoor Adventure Center, operated by the state’s Department of National Resources. In Pittsburgh, an 80,000-square-foot building that once housed a metal fabrication company, was transformed into The Wheel Mill, an indoor bike park."
"Yep, these days the Bayou City is cropping up more and more on travelers’ “let’s check it out” list. In 2014, for the first time ever, Houston ranked among the top five places in the United States on Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of America’s Favorite Cities. The city also grabbed the number 12 spot in TripAdvisor’s Top Travelers’ Choice Awards in 2014, jumping 13 places in one year. 
What’s the draw? Shopping, arts, entertainment, and food. The fourth-largest city in the nation is the South’s most stylish destination, with glitzy mega malls, premium outlet centers, and hundreds of up-to-the-moment fashion boutiques. The Downtown Theater District spans some 17 blocks, and the city boasts resident companies in ballet, opera, symphony and theater. The Museum District has 19 institutions within a 1.5-mile radius, including the renowned Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (with a proposed new wing in the works), the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Houston Zoo, which will open the $29 million Gorillas of the African Forest exhibit in spring 2015. The $1.5 billion downtown redevelopment, in anticipation of hosting Super Bowl 2017, has already brought in a slew of new restaurants and bars. The influx adds to an already dynamic, nationally recognized culinary scene showcasing the city’s rich, cultural diversity. And, the ongoing renovation and extension of rail lines is making it a lot easier to get around the fast-growing, sprawling metropolis. Then, there are the festivals, rodeos, and BBQ cook-offs. This energetic, cash-infused city knows how to spend money and throw a party."
"Don't get us wrong: Traveler enjoys a long weekend in Austin as much as the next guy. But if Austin is the hipster-cool college party of Texas, Houston is the adult dinner party where we prefer to be wined and dined. Is Houston the new "it" city?, we asked in September—it seems that way, with plenty of hip places to eat, stay, and play in the bustling Texas city."

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At 11:35 PM, January 26, 2015, Anonymous Mike said...

Tory, don't get swayed by the London hype. It's an amazing place, but walking around, you do not get the center-of-the-world feeling that you do walking around New York. Its streets are not as lively. Its geography (one meandering river) is not as exciting. Its architecture is not as overwhelming. Its big parks (Hyde Park, Regents, St. James) have nothing on Central Park. You always know where the ground is in London - in New York, with all the buildings and tunnels, sometimes it's hard to tell. Could you imagine a giant ferris wheel like the Eye becoming a central tourist attraction in New York like it has in London? New Yorkers would forget it's there. Piccadilly is a joke compared to Times Square, and even with things London should be better at like libraries, the comparison of the New York Public Library to the British Library is embarrassing. Let's not also forget that NY has the UN, which I think people actually take seriously in Britain.

No, the London is greater than NY debate is simply a symptom of the world's exhaustion with America following two decades of lone superpower status and bad publicity from the Iraq war. Deep down even Londoners know that it's not serious.

At 9:41 AM, January 27, 2015, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Good counter-arguments, Mike, albeit focused on amenities and feel rather than industries or global connections. But even though London has more industries, they're obviously smaller ones than their counterparts in America, we just spread them over more cities. But I don't think anybody would argue they're not the "Big Two" cities in the world - every other city is clearly at least a step or two down, including Tokyo and Paris.

At 11:21 AM, January 28, 2015, Anonymous Mike said...

The physical city must be taken into account. :) I'm personally more worried about Hong Kong challenging New York than London.


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