Friday, December 31, 2010

High above the ground

Here you see astronaut and famed video game developer Richard Garriott playing Mother Ginger for Ballet Austin's The Nutcracker. OK, I had to take this shot with my iPhone, so no flash and it's blurry. But you get the idea. I've recruited the VIPs to play Mother Ginger since 1997 when we started using social all-stars for the role.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let's Pretend

Even after living downtown for over two years I sometimes feel like it's all pretend especially with the big buildings that have cropped up. This is more graffiti that has appeared on the railroad bridge over Lady Bird Lake. The AMLI on Second, W Hotel and Frost Bank tower can be seen behind it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shop at Big Bertha's

There is a uber-cool little vintage shop called Big Bertha's in the same center on South Lamar as the Alamo Drafthouse. Go there and buy boots or a colorful vest. Or a cool vintage dress.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Million Dollar Bridge

The funny things about this sign and the graffiti? The sidewalk is really not a sidewalk but a bridge which takes one directly across Cesar Chavez to the north side from the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge (which is really a bike and ped bridge). It used to end abruptly overlooking that street and one had to go down a ramp (bikes, brave walkers) or stairs (walkers, trick bikers) to the south side of the street. One still has to do this. So it wasn't really closed so much as never existed. Also the bridge (which has been under construction for quite some time) takes you to a new apartment house or the Lance Armstrong Bike Way where theoretically pedestrians aren't allowed. Since there is no sidewalk along Cesar on the north side here, peds sometimes use the bikeway or walk beside it in the grass. I understand that the sidewalks underneath Third Street have 'been improved' (haven't tried it, takes me a bit out of its way and used to be sort of harrowing because of the narrow sidewalk and heavy traffic) and that a path under the railroad tracks will be built to reach Third Street (possibly not in our lifetime, very expensive, how will they make it safe at night?). So the graffiti writers who seem upset at the 'closing?' Who are they? Random pundits? Bikers? Apartment residents? Sadly when the 'sidewalk' opens it won't add much to our walking experience except give us access to this picnic table. Sunday, when we took this picture, we were on our way back from a walk to the movies at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Not a hard walk but could be made easier with some pedestrian improvements.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Graffiti

It seems as soon as they paint over the graffiti on the railroad bridge over Lady Bird Lake that it is like a new canvas asking for additions. This particular piece, shot from the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, shows what could be some advice for people doing an outdoor yoga class on that wide park-like bridge. In the background are several of the newer downtown buildings including the new W Hotel, the Austonian and the Ashton .

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winding Down the Holiday

Snapped this at the Driskill the Friday before Christmas week. I imagine the decorations (including this magnificent Gingerbread house) will be up through the New Year. I guess we will soon return to regular programming here. (And stop wearing Christmas colors!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And A Merry Christmas to All

We don't usually appear portrait-style but here we are to wish a Merry Christmas. We are posing with one of the Headliners Club Christmas trees. Whatever your religious and cultural traditions, best wishes to our City Daily Photo family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Shopping

This time of year shopping just gets silly. And I don't mean because it's two days until Christmas. The madness starts before Thanksgiving. However, if you stick to local boutiques you can recover some excitement about getting something for a friend or relative. This is my reflection in the little boutique on Congress called AuthentiCity. Lots of unique, artist-created items. Including that sculpture of a head. Yes, that's me reflected in the window.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday View from The Long Center

I was backstage at The Long Center last night for The Nutcracker. On the way out, I used my iPhone to snap this view of a girl playing on the City Terrace. You can see the vertical lights of our home across the lake in the background.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Countdown Continues

We showed you Jackie's shot of the Capitol tree during the Holiday Stroll. Here is a day time shot of the many, not so lone stars during the day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas on Its Head

The restaurant 24 Diner in our neighborhood has turned Christmas upside down. Our friend Jackie took this shot.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Are you listening?

We went to a fabulous party last night at a magnificent Westbank home. Our friend Kevin, accompanied by a piano and bass, was belting out some classic songs-- Christmas oriented and otherwise. That's Billy Wolfe on the keys behind him. The home was dolled up to reflect the Stork Club. This is a shot I took with my iPhone from a front row seat. What a shindig!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Armadillo Christmas

My friend Jackie shot this during the holiday stroll. But where? Festive armadillos for an Austin holiday! This is day three of eleven days of Christmas here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Festive at Our House

We haven't actually decorated for Christmas...but the lobby of our building greets you with a pair of trees.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Days of Christmas Two

Someone told me the Angelina Eberly statue had a knitted hat and scarf. But when I went by on Tuesday she only had mittens. And a little decoration on the spokes of the cannon. (We showed Angelina and debated her story here on this blog in 2007.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Eleven Days of Christmas

We haven't decorated for Christmas. (Unless you count putting the cards we received on a table with three Christmas gift sacks for my in-laws.) But everyone else? Yeah. So we will run pictures of such Austin decor, starting with this one of a giant ornament in the window of the historic Scarborough building. Your main ATDP contributors reflected.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed on Burnet

I think this building on Burnet (photo by Jackie) might have been a Motorcycle Sales Center. Or a tattoo parlor. Now it doesn't appear to house a retail business best I could tell. Anyone know? I used to live in this neighborhood and keep better track of the evolution.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunset on the Lake

Thanks to Jackie for this one from her balcony take a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bird Watching - Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Our friend Jackie also shot this on her perambulation around Lady Bird Lake Thanksgiving weekend. She says: "We saw our first yellow-crowned night heron of the year. They arrive in December and winter and breed here, but last year we saw very few. So we were thrilled to see this one." Great shot. Nature at our door step.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bird Watching - Cormorants

Our friend Jackie is the bird expert on the team. She got this great shop a couple of weeks ago of cormorants on Lady Bird Lake. Who says there is no nature in the urban lifestyle?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Look--up in the sky!

This jet and two of his mates were making serious con trails over our skyline this morning. I grabbed a camera and snapped this shot.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

W Flash Mob

Today the W Hotel in our neighborhood opens. (It's two blocks away.) Their employees gathered as a flash mob and danced at the front entrance yesterday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Music at the Stroll

Jackie captured this group at the Congress Avenue stroll. I wasn't there but I'm guessing maybe some jazzy carols??

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Capitol Christmas

Jackie shot a swirl of people who came out to see the Capitol's tree get its lights. We didn't make it to the stroll but I hope to go stroll the Avenue a few times before Christmas. After all, Congress Avenue is just five blocks from our home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Stroll, Light Yourself Up

Our friend Jackie took some photos at the annual Congress Avenue holiday stroll and Capitol Christmas tree lighting. In this photo, it seems people have lit themselves.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Formal

We've been going a lot to a thrift store run by one of our charities (Top Drawer supporting Project Transitions). Not to shop but to donate stuff we are cleaning out. This is their very creative window display with a vision of the Christmas formal with Christmas colors. There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants on this stretch of Burnet Road north of 45th Street. Currently Top Drawer has a lot of Doc Martens and other shoes from the (sadly) closed Atomic City shop. Always interesting shopping there.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Christmas. But I hope you don't have to spend too much time celebrating around this tree. The Seton Northwest Hospital volunteers decorated the tree in the hospital lobby on Monday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Did Santa Lose This?

Walking down West Sixth the other day I spied this and wondered if a certain jolly fellow was missing his ride.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Salsa and Cerveza Bus

At Austin institution El Arroyo on Fifth Street this old bus has quite an interesting hood ornament.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


We snapped this picture a week ago on my father-in-law's 100th birthday. That's his 90-year-old sister beside him. Today is City Daily Photo theme day. The theme is time and what better way to represent it than with someone 100 years old. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not so Traditional

This is a regular (and colorful) entree at Corazon: roasted chicken enchilada suizas. Our friend Steve had this for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Meal

Our friends Jackie and Steve had Thanksgiving dinner at Corazon. They were thankful for a place with such delicious food on the day. This was Jackie's meal and her description of it: "turkey dinner a la Mexicana, with Oaxacan black mole sauce and a delicious cranberry sauce complementing the turkey breast, mashed potatoes, perfectly cooked green beans and a masa-wrapped corn pudding." Yum. Have to go to this restaurant again soon. It's a short (half mile) walk from our place. will get to see Steve's Thanksgiving entree.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holding up the Bass

The Corps of Cadet sousaphones form an attractive line and provide the booming bottom for the Texas A&M Band on their march down Congress on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Texas A&M has one of my favorite mascots. A collie named Reveille. Here he marches with his Corps handlers. Magnificent dog.

Friday, November 26, 2010


There is a tradition of a very long-standing rivalry between the University of Texas (Austin) and Texas A&M University. Originally A&M was all-male and all ROTC (students set to become soldiers). They still have a large ROTC contingent and when the rival football teams play in Austin the Corps of Cadets and their band march up Congress Avenue to the Capitol. Yesterday was that day (UT lost the game) and this picture FFP took captures the scene as a UT fan in a burnt orange jersey snapped a picture of Corps members at parade rest. We'll run a few more of these pictures in the coming days.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Paving the Way for the W

Even the city crews have been busy getting paving done around the about to open W Hotel. Thanks, Jackie for the picture. I love shots almost straight down into the street. Different perspective. In this case showing the new paving and the gray of the W facade as coordinated parts of a painting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


There is a bar at Second and Trinity called Submerged. This is a mural outside. Jackie shot this. I've walked by dozens of times but don't think I've ever posted a picture of it. Nice. And, no, I've never been to the bar.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sand Box

Yesterday Forrest and I were remarking about how close the Green Water Treatment plant deconstruction was to being finished. FFP shot some pictures but I'm showing you one Jackie shot from the AMLI a few days ago with just the curves of the last two tanks to remind of the plant amid all the piles of dirt. More than ever it seems the giant machines are just playing in the sand.

This plant hadn't been decommissioned when we moved downtown. Then in the summer of 2009 the tanks were emptied and they quit using the plant. Last November Jackie caught a beautiful sunset with the plant's water tower still upright. A few days later they felled the tower and it looked like things didn't go according to plan. Then work stopped for quite a while and some safety violations were addressed. Now it looks like it won't be long before the ground is leveled. It is fun being a construction supervisor from our vantage points in high rises around town.

Monday, November 22, 2010

W Rising

The W Hotel actually rose to its full height long ago but a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving it is due to open to the public. They seem to be working on it day and night and Sundays. My friend Jackie shot this picture from her balcony in the AMLI on Second. This is the hotel pool, ready for guests with the addition of a few chaises. Yesterday it was 80 degrees so don't scoff at pool use in November. Could happen! Here are some construction pictures from this pool.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Shopping, Winter Wear

Monkey See, Monkey Do is your go to place for silly stocking stuffers and gifts. And, honestly, that crime scene tape muffler? Priceless when the temps plunge to, um, well it's seventy degrees outside. I kind of want it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome, Come In

This elaborate porch on South First no longer has a house or business to go with it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Open Door Policy

This is the yard (garden?) entrance of a house on Annie in South Austin.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is Art?

There is a great little shop, a longtime tenant on South Congress, called Yard Dog that constantly poses that question, both with the battered letters spelling ART and the outsider artists they exhibit. I don't know the artist for the monumental head (they weren't open) but I liked it. Taken last Sunday on our walk.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uncommonly Second Place

One of the most fun places on South Congress, Uncommon Objects, had a clever window display when we walked by last Sunday. Sad little vintage paintings of, um, questionable quality were 'awarded' various vintage second place ribbons. Priceless.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Abandoned Shoes

I've always said that when you walk you see the world a little differently. On our walk to SoCo on Sunday we saw these Chuck Taylors neatly arranged in the fallen leaves. We did no posing or setup. FFP shot with iPhone and I did a slight crop. Unlike the shoes in this photo, there is no indication of why they were abandoned.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Architectural Bit

FFP took this shot of the logo of an organization on Third Street with the Chase Building as a background. Here's a shot from over two years ago of the same sign taken while walking west on Third. That shot, if repeated today, would look different.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Faces in Downtown

The W Hotel in the foreground will be open soon. The Austonian Condos in the background is open to residents and has a bee hive of activity to open restaurants and bars by Chef David Bull. FFP took this with the bulk of the W in the foreground and the skyline-dominating Austonian in the background.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gypsy Food Mob

Last weekend someone had the bright idea to take a batch of those food trailers and converge on Auditorium Shores and offer specials to one and all. Our friend Jackie took this shot of the crowd from her apartment. She reports trying to attend the event but the lines were too long. Local American Statesman pundit John Kelso wrote an article about attempting to attend and giving up. It will be interesting to find out how they handle this gathering if it repeats. Maybe a small admission fee that goes to feed the hungry? Food from trailers is becoming more and more popular but I'm kind of a sit down and eat person at heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ready for the Parade

My friend Jackie caught these Austin Police bagpipers preparing for the Veteran's Day Parade yesterday. Handsome, talented and protecting our fair city!