Saturday, February 28, 2009

Out to the Hill Country

From the top of the west side of the 360 condos, the Monarch (right) and the topped but unfinished Spring Condos loom in the foreground with the Hill Country beyond. Frankly, I wouldn't want to live so high.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Texas Flags

The Texas Rowing shop on the Hike and Bike trail has special oars for its classes. They are easily spotted with the red, white, blue or all three in the Lone Star image. Here they are arrayed in the boat house.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Swimmer

This is what a lonely lap swimmer looks like on the 9th floor pool deck from the 44th floor penthouse of the 360.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Downtown Living: Another Version

Steps from downtown there are all sorts of living arrangements. These houses, which appear to be one property, are a block from the Austin Convention Center on Third Street. They are for sale or lease if you are ready to move a little closer to the action. It wouldn't surprise me if they had commercial zoning.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Holding Pond Turtle

There are lots of turtles in Lady Bird (nee Town) Lake, but I also saw some in a holding pond on Third near the Convention Center. It isn't always strictly bucolic, but there is nature downtown all right.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Body Art on the Drag

We were on Guadalupe the other night, going to an event at the University and spied this place. Piercings and tattoos are popular in Austin. I don't have any myself but found this neon interesting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finally, W Rising

The block that will be occupied by the W Hotel, Condos and the new Austin City Limits studio started out as a very deep hole. Multiple levels of underground parking were built but, finally, it is starting to rise to take its place in the skyline behind City Hall. This picture was taken from the perch of the Malverdes bar on Second Street.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

These Boots Were Made For...

I think they were made for stepping out to the preview of a new restaurant and tequila bar. (La Condesa) The boots and lace skirt adorned Lucinda Hutson whose lovely house has graced ADP before.

Friday, February 20, 2009


A small strip center with some high-end shops on West Sixth has this interesting outdoor sculpture. In the background, the city is digging up the street, something they do over and over again in older neighborhoods.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Celebrating Taste

I relaxed last night at Taste Select Wines on Cesar Chavez with a twelve course meal with tastes of sixteen wines. We met some new people who were our dinner companions and I didn't take pictures of the food or the glasses that just kept coming. But one of the courses was a smaller version (with twelve courses, most of them had better be small) of this signature beet salad. It is a celebration of Taste's first anniversary this month and we wish them well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wait, wait, is it Spring??

Day before yesterday we were walking around and noticed Redbud Trees blooming. They are a harbinger of Spring. Our usual last freeze danger is three or four weeks away but the plants are going after it. We also saw Mountain Laurel blooming. (See those blossoms here from last year.) The pretty cottages in the background are in Old West Austin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nice Door

This house on stilts in West Austin has what looks like a one-of-a-kind door.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Striking Sky over Lake

Today the sky was a pretty uniform gray, but yesterday this greeted runners as they assembled for the marathon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What are They Running From?

We slept in a little this morning and now there are thousands of people running away from South Austin across the First Street Bridge and west on Cesar Chavez. OK, it's the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. They are going to run all around and end up at 7th and Congress. (The finish line of two circuitous courses. You can also see in this picture that Mega Millions is up to 103 million dollars. Our balcony's view would be convenient for a gambler who wanted to size up the big prize before buying a ticket with that sign which is updated based on the results each week.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Grocer Downstairs

Yesterday, George Scariano and his crew got the latest Austin downtown grocery (Royal Blue) open. Bigger than the one on Third Street, this one also has the advantage of being on the first floor of our building. FFP bought me a six pack of Shiner Bock to celebrate. George already had beer, wine, hard goods and frozen food stocked and, having got his final inspection from the city, he was earnestly ordering perishables. Naturally we wish him good luck and we know everyone in the neighborhood (including the folks at Ballet Austin's Butler Dance Education Center) will be enjoying the convenience.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jeff Lofton Quartet

One of the reasons we love Austin is that you can find some fabulous music in nice bars with no cover. The open air Belmont patio was pleasant as punch last night and the wonderful jazz of the Jeff Lofton quartet was wafting out into the street bringing strollers in as well as people like us who put the gig on our calendar. I've become a big fan of Jeff on trumpet but the other musicians I've seen on his quartet gigs have been fabulous, too, including drummer Masumi Jones who must be the most exciting beat keeper I've seen in a long time. Last night her husband Chris took the bass role.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Omni Atrium

The OMNI hotel downtown is one of those with a soaring atrium. Do they even make those anymore in an age of expensive energy? Anyway, the hotel with office building looks this way from the outside at 8th and Brazos with reflections and lots of visible girders.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good Morning

FFP took this before seven this morning. The green light is on the apartment building (AMLI on 2nd it is called although the main door is on 3rd) and they turn it off at seven. That's our old friend the Frost Bank tower and there is the crane atop the (still rising) Austonian. We had a good old-fashioned thunderstorm last night complete with swirling winds and lightning but today promises to be better.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Musical Lineup

We don't know much about the current music scene, but we are surrounded by it with Austin Music Hall to the south of our building and La Zona Rosa to the north. Sunday I took a picture of the line-up for the quarter at the latter. Didn't I see 'Adele' on the Grammy show? Well, I knew about Lucinda Williams before anyway.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In the Book Store

We walked over to the book store on West Sixth yesterday. A large independent book store (surely one of the rare few left) Book People also sells coffee, magazines, cards, incense, toys, gifts, jewelry, chocolate and, as you can see, colorful straw cowboy hats. Maybe someone in town for SXSW next month and surprised by how hot it can get even in March will get their Texas on with these.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


These numbers are above our condo's main door on Third Street. The official address is on the cross street however. Since the building takes up that block, I think the developers were allowed to select a street number that equaled the name of the building. Our building is currently the tallest residential building in downtown Austin and, in fact, the tallest building be a few feet. But people still look blank when we say where we live.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentine's Graffiti

This paper and paste pot graffiti seems to be a Valentine's Day message. It was on the side of the art glass place on South Congress I believe.

Friday, February 6, 2009

House and Wall

On West Sixth and Harthan there is an interesting property with a big house with a wall and, behind it, a skinny apartment house. I got to go inside on a home tour many years ago. There was a pool behind the wall and a nice view of the skyline through glass blocks in a shower on the upper floor as I remember. Harthan Street is a two block street which got a historic district designation (not including this house). We showed it here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Well, not really THAT bike.

The Tenth Annual Hill Country Ride for AIDS is taking place in April. This challenging ride would be tough on these old wrecks but they've been painted red to promote the ride. We are supporting a couple of individual riders with small donations. They have cool donation pages. Charity in the modern age.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Swan vs. Swan

These kids were having a great time as Dad paddled them on Lady Bird Lake in the Swan Boat. The swan was nonplussed and ran away from them until they turned around...and then followed them. Taken from the Hike and Bike Saturday when we were walking over to see the new high rise apartments on Rainey Street.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

For Sale in the Shadows

A shop on West Sixth called Portnoy's has stuff spilling over into an outdoor area outside including a life-sized bronze Texas Longhorn.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our Waterloo

Before there was an Austin there was a tiny community at the confluence of the Little Colorado and Shoal Creek called Waterloo. Hence some home-grown businesses use Waterloo in their names. At Sixth and Lamar are Waterloo Records (which kind of ripped off the logo of the London Underground which has, of course, a Waterloo Station) and one of the Waterloo Ice House locations. (These joints are places for fast food. The ice house nomenclature comes from south Texas where places that sold ice started selling beer, cold drinks, burgers. This restaurant has that sort of food. And since it's Austin, music.) I hope these two spots keep going because they are independent stores. I don't buy many CDs these days and I haven't been to Waterloo Ice House lately either. (FFP had breakfast there last week.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bike Path

This shows the entrance to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway from a feeder for the Hike and Bike trail. I stepped onto the biker's sacred place (no peds allowed) to take this picture but the bikeway isn't finished and there wasn't much risk. Of course, when the bikes are using this and come this way they will speed into an area where we are allowed and so I say to them: be careful! (I'm an ardent pedestrian but, I hope, also a great supporter of bicyclists who take care and obey the law.) Here is a map of the bikeway. This piece is near the underpass of Cesar Chavez that allows hikers and bikers to enter the main trail from the Shoal Creek trail.

We are participating in City Daily Photo's February 1st Theme Day: Paths and Passages.Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Our hike and bike was getting a ton of usage yesterday when we walked to Rainey Street and back. Bikes, strollers, dog walkers, joggers and just plain walkers. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were enjoying this lovely resource.