Best Place to Beat Road Rage Houston 2000 - Cullen Center park
Afternoon rush hour. Traffic oozes south from the Cullen Center garage and north from Brazos Street, battling for the turn that will take commuters onto the Interstate 45 ramp at Pease. Others are roaring off the exit ramp onto Jefferson. The light turns red and stays that way just long enough for motorists to gaze beyond rolled-up windows at a seeming mirage, an isle of calm amid this crazy concrete- and car-infested corner of southwest downtown. Yes. It is a park -- a real one, only feet from the throbbing traffic of the highway. This small wedge of green space serves as a surprise oasis. At its center is a soothing pool, perhaps 20 yards across. At its center is a fountain splashing water upward some 15 feet, then cascading down to create robust waves lapping against the edges. Once within this green space, the perimeter of hedges and trees is tall enough to nicely strangle the worst type A in us. Enjoy this touch of Eden on any of five picnic tables or four benches. Or on foot -- or yes, even from behind the steering wheel. Savor the calm. In a few seconds, the green light will flash and the angst of another freeway commute will commence.