Metro is throwing a competition to name 20 new stations along the upcoming East End, North and Southeast lines. Quoting their press release, or at least the one they released yesterday, Metro wants "to make sure these stations accurately reflect the character, culture and history of the vibrant communities they serve."
And then they started throwing down a bunch of restrictions. It had to be less than 26 characters long. Worse, they also stipulate that stations may not be named after persons living or dead, unless "the name is already in use for a street intersection, a historically significant landmark, or a widely recognized landmark, neighborhood, or commercial trademark."
Screw that. The vibrancy of Houston is in our people, living and dead. After the jump, you will find a map of our own humble submissions, each of which accurately reflects Houston's character, culture and history better than the mushy, old-timey feel-good garbage that will no doubt end up attached to those stations.
Mattress Mack Transit Center (Northline Transit Center): There will be no back-back-back-order slips at this transit center, wherein commuters will be treated to 'round-the-clock films of Mattress Mack's eight million ground-breaking commercials, and the platforms will resemble showrooms, complete with recliners, sofas, love-seats and swivel-rockers.
Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Station (Melbourne): Every commuter who spends even a minute on the platform here will know all about the portly North Side rapper, who started his tippin', wood-grain grippin', and turnin' lane trippin' in nearby Studemont, and his phone number: 281 330 8004. In fact, even those who don't get on or off the train at this glistening, candy-painted platform are gonna know his name, as the usual recording Metro uses will be supplanted by Jones hollering "Next Station, Mike Jones! Who! Mike Jones! Hit me up, on the low, 281 330 8004!" Also, the first 300 riders to board here each day will get a free autographed Mike Jones skully.
Kenny Rogers Station (Quitman): The Gambler went to nearby Jeff Davis High School. At this station, riders will be serenaded with soft-country gems such as "You Decorated My Life," "Through the Years" and "Islands in the Stream" while they ponder photographic evidence of the rugged legend's undeniably vast influence on American male fashion via a photographic exhibition culled from these voluminous archives.
Carlos Lee Station (Crawford): Lee gets the Crawford Station because he's an expensive and immobile fixture on Crawford Street, just like this train stop will be. Cut-rate #45 Astros jerseys and El Caballo Panamanian cowboy hats will be available.
Mama Ninfa Station (York): What would the Second Ward be without a Mama Ninfa station? TABC regulations will be waived so that margarita machines can adorn the red, yellow and blue platform, at which riders will also be able to purchase fajitas and that fabled salsa verde with chips.
Kenneth Lay Station (Smith): Sort of the Holocaust Memorial of Light Rail Stops. Enron should never be forgotten. And hey, it was fun while it lasted -- remember those pointless fireworks displays they used to throw, for no good reason at all? After overcharging all those California grannies for electricity, they had to spend those billions on something. Why not entertain the home folks?
Remember that swaggering arrogance, all that "You just don't get it, do you?" posturing when people would ask what it was exactly they did to earn all that money? And then Bush and Cheney suddenly acted like Lay and Skilling had tracked dogshit into the Oval Office once the whole thing fell apart? As long as you weren't invested in it, the whole debacle provided schadenfreude enough to last a good ten years.
Frenchy Creuzot Station (MLK/Wheeler): As much an institution in the Third Ward as Mama Ninfa was in the Second, the Creole fried chicken man richly earns this spot. Vendors will be on site, slinging buckets of the stuff and bowls of jambalaya, while riders can ponder Creuzot's not-so-secret fried chicken recipe: ""You take a little of this, a little of that and plenty of the other."
Purple Stuff Station (MacGregor Park) is in honor of late Third Ward rapper Big Moe and the whole cough syrup rap phenomenon he represented so tunefully. A medley of the rotund MC's hits will play as riders ponder an installation of Styrofoam cups and artistic renditions of codeine molecules.
Huey P. Meaux Station (Palm Center) This one immortalizes a music legend / sex offender whose studio / den of sin was near that shopping center. Riders can listen to the Crazy Cajun's many hits -- "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," "She's About a Mover," "You'll Lose a Good Thing," among others -- as they view pictures of his Sugar Hill Studio, including a tour of his secret chamber, wherein he kept cheap cocaine and a gynecological examination table, complete with stirrups. Riders can also ponder Meaux's thoughts, such as this immortal line he wrote in a letter to my father: "All I ever did was have sex with a 15-year-old crackwhore. Who has not?"
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