The proposal torename the stretch of Hillcroft
that courses through the heart of Little Bombay is ginning up a surprising amount of aggro in the blogosphere. (Or is it a surprising amount of blogs in the aggrosphere -- sometimes it's hard to tell.)
Under the headline "We'll give up Hillcroft When You Pry It From Our Cold Dead Fingers," Slampo first touts the famous Indo-American work ethic before he thunders on thusly:
Yet the great, great majority of the "members" of these "communities" have been in Houston for, maybe, 10 or 15 years, 20 at the most, and suddenly they're muscling in to claim a portion of well-traveled and traffic-choked thoroughfare in the name of "diversity" and "multiculturalism"--a street that already switches its name to "Voss" a little north of the future Gandhi Street.
To that we can only say, as compelled to do so by our Franco-Germanic-Scots-Irish-Cherokee-Shanty Irish East Texas-Southwest Louisiana heritage, "Screw that" (trying to be polite). We'd bet our large right gonad--it's very precious to us -- that most of the Indo-Americans who (allegedly) are pushing this change don't live within miles of Hillcroft, and, most likely, reside in the multicultural Valhalla of Sugar Land (future site of Tom DeLay Middle School).
An anonymous Swamplot commenter echoed a couple of Slampo's other points: "Theres cultural acceptance and then theres pandering to minorities to the point of alienating long time Houston residents. If Ghandi were from, or ever visited Houston, that would be another thing entirely..."
In his typically mild, reasonable way, Charles Kuffner also opposed renaming the street (though he favors adding second street signs, as has been done in both Little Saigon and Sharpstown's Chinatown):
"[T]here are plenty of other cultures represented in the area as well. Hillcroft, which changes names several times as you go north, starting with Voss just past Westheimer, doesn't need that many more names."
Hair Balls begs to differ. As far as we are concerned, bogus, generic real-estate marketing names like Hillcroft should be eradicated utterly. After all, Houston is full of legends and cultures as-yet unhonored with eponymous streets. Since Hillcroft is both a terrible name and a conduit through the heart of Houston's multicultural West Side, it offers us a rare opportunity to kill a whole flock of birds with one shotgun blast of rebranding.
First off, Hillcroft already has three names. Way up north in Spring Branch, it is known as Bingle, and then as it passes through the western fringes of Greater Tanglewood, it becomes Voss. It only at last becomes Hillcroft around Westheimer.
We propose starting the renaming way up on Bingle, which would become Roger Clemens Boulevard, since the (allegedly) enhanced, erstwhile first-ballot Hall of Fame hurler grew up a mile or two west of there.
Voss could be renamed Dr. Ed Young Avenue, since his Six Flags Over Jesus Empire is the street's most prominent edifice.
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The renaming orgy would reach fever pitch when the street becomes Hillcroft. As has been frequently pointed out, Indians do not rule this multi-culti hotbed alone. Between Westheimer and the Southwest Freeway, there are also Pakistani and Persian stretches, so let's give the Pakistanis Bhutto Way, in honor of their martyred (and sexy) ex-president, while the tumultuous events of recent decades would have us harkening back to a simpler, more unified era for the Persian stretch. That one would become Xerxes Boulevard, which would segue into Gandhi Boulevard.
Immediately south of 59, the area turns vehemently Hispanic, and pretty much stays that way all the way down to Bissonnet, save for where it marks the western boundary of Meyerland, the closest thing Houston has to a Jewish neighborhood. Let's honor two beloved Houstonians there and call the Hispanic strip Mama Ninfa Avenue, interrupted for a block or two with a Meyerland interlude named in honor of Marvin Zindler. (A Hair Balls commenter suggested Golda Meir, but we wanted to keep it local.)
And as it approaches Missouri City and the Fort Bend County line, Hillcroft at last becomes African-American. Since he often raps about the area, we could rename Hillcroft's southernmost stretch after Z-Ro, the local rapper known far and wide as "the King of the Ghetto" and "the Mo City Don." (Z-Ro was raised in Ridgemont, just east of Hillcroft.) Since it's cooler to do so, we would reverse the usual nomenclature and call it Avenue Z-Ro, or maybe Mo City Don Boulevard would be even cooler.
So that's eight names for one street. Some might argue that is too many, but those people are wrong. Too many names beats too few any day of the week, as any traveler to Atlanta and it's surreal welter of maddeningly slight variations on a Peachtree theme can tell you. And this way everybody gets a prize. What's not to like about that?