Want to know what that new construction is all about on your street, or why there is a wrecking crew aiming for that quirky little building on your favorite corner? With its fingers on the pulse of the Houston real estate game, Swamplot more than likely has the skinny. This mostly daily blog keeps you abreast of the happenings both inside the Loop and in outlying areas. In the past year, the blog was the first to report on plans about a supposed move for venerable indie club Walter's on Washington, and it has also been keeping keen tabs on the proposed Walmart development in the Heights. Got a nagging question about that "For Sale" sign you just noticed? Ask Swamplot.



How many places in the world have to shut down a whole city block because chunks of concrete are literally falling from the sky? That happened in Houston when pieces of the old Savoy Apartments — built in 1906 and the first building in Houston to have electricity — started crumbling away after years of neglect. But the city jumped to action, guarding the building with police officers, cruiser cars and yellow "Caution" tape until the apartments could be taken down, piece by piece.

No one paid a great deal of attention to the memorial statue for victims of Galveston's 1900 hurricane when it first went up on the seawall in 2000. Then came Ike. Gripping, dramatic shots of Ike-powered waves crashing over the wall and above the statue were irresistible to photographers and were published all over the world. Now people flock to the statue to get their picture taken, hopefully without any huge waves exploding in the background.

READERS' CHOICE: Space Center Houston

For the crowd that enjoys touring cemeteries in hopes of having a paranormal experience or just to take in a bit of history, the Old City Cemetery in Galveston is a favorite. Parts of the cemetery are starting to deteriorate and the grounds are often covered in yellow wildflowers, a combination that gives the place an extra-spooky feel. Many of the people who were killed during the 1900 hurricane are buried at Old City Cemetery, which is another big draw. If you visit, stay away from the New City Cemetery. It's not nearly as old or interesting.

If not the shot heard 'round the world, it was at least the beating seen 'round the country: Jamie's House teacher Sheri Lynn Davis whomping on a 13-year-old boy. Thank goodness some enterprising student thought to record the event, rather than rush to the child's aid, because the video will no doubt be the centerpiece of the lawsuit against Davis and the school that as of this writing has not fully gotten underway. And it's in that video where we can see Davis trying to punch the boy as he scurries helplessly on his back. Davis said later that the boy was taunting a female classmate; apparently she felt the need to show the lad that females were indeed capable of opening cans of whoop-ass. Although maybe that should've been administered by one of the boy's peers, and not a 40-year-old woman. Live and learn.

It's a given that it's much easier to meet women in places that are less threatening — just try to hit on a stranger in, say, a parking garage for negative confirmation of that adage. And where on Earth is less threatening than a children's museum? And where are adults more starved for a little adult conversation than after an hour or so in a mass conclave of shrieking children? At the Children's Museum, a casual, friendly word is likely to fall on the receptive ears of many a baby mama at her wits' end. Ease of meeting is just one advantage. You can also get a good read on what sort of future you might have. When you meet their kids right at the start, you're jump-stepping lots of potential down-the-road drama. All the cards are already on the table: You can see right before your eyes the finished products of their past reproductive efforts. If they look like Gaby Solis's kids from Desperate Housewives, you'll be warned. Even more important, you'll get a peek at their parenting styles, so before you ever hop in the sack, you can avoid those crazy, sexy lovers who turn out to be quasi-abusive or neglectful parents.

For 23 years, crazy-ass folks have been tricking out all types of vehicles in all kinds of guises in what is truly a uniquely Houstonian tradition. Erstwhile Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd (himself the driver of a certain infamous 1974 Dodge Monaco) was the Grand Marshal of the 2010 installment of this family-friendly frivolity that, as always, did not fail to deliver the goods. About 300 cars were featured, along with the random bicyclists/roller-skaters/random merrymakers. It made us want to slap some singing fish or giant bunny ears on our boring old ride as soon as we got home. ¡Viva el automóvil!


When it came to reporting on the ever-expanding Metro scandal, Greenblatt led the pack. He broke the news on the document shredding, and then, like a hungry pit bull's jaws locked on a limb, he asked question after question and dug deeper and deeper, until it became virtually impossible for the beleaguered agency to issue empty statements while hiding behind smiling flacks. Simply put, Greenblatt did what a good investigative reporter is supposed to do: dig for the truth, hold people accountable and let the public know what's really going on in their community. No wonder he's won an Emmy, an IRE award, seven Edward R. Murrow awards, a National Headliner award and numerous others.

READERS' CHOICE: Dominique Sachse – KPRC

When you're talking about real estate, the only thing that matters is location, location, location. That mantra also applies to bus stops. This year's winner for Best Bus Stop isn't the prettiest, or the most well outfitted or even the most comfortable. It's the stop that allows for the best people-watching (a crucial factor in making the long wait for Metro a little more bearable). Situated at what was once Houston's gay crossroads, the area is now populated by hipsters headed to late-night eateries, couples out on the town, friendly neighborhood psych patients, sweaty laborers and urbanite college kids. It makes for an ever-changing, always entertaining, colorful parade.

We'll always have a special place in our hearts for the downtown, main branch of the HPL, but let's face it: Driving downtown is about as much fun as a migraine. Thank goodness there are plenty of convenient branches, and right now our favorite is this bright, clean building that opened in 2005. Located in well-scrubbed Braeswood Place, the library is next to a YMCA, a park and a fire station, which adds to the cozy neighborhood feel. Inside, the building's windows let in a ton of sunlight, all the computer terminals actually work and the shelves are wonderfully maintained. If you don't have kids, or if maybe it's just been a long time since your Web-surfing ass has actually gotten up and gone to a library, you owe it to yourself to check out this branch. You're sure to become a regular.

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