Commentary on Cranes and Their Creations

Travel back to the future of Austin, Texas—when the cranes came to build condos.

Here's my look back to 2004, when I became smitten with Austin, and soon found it vanishing.

Whitley’s Went. Then Came A Tower.

An 18-story tower arises from a humble print shop in downtown Austin.

Turning Silver at the Saxon

How does a beloved Austin music icon thrive for 25 years in a city on growth steroids?

Back By Popular Demand

Backed by a new band, The Towering Cranes, Austin's most beloved icon appears daily on the shore of Lady Bird Lake.

Count the Condos and the Cranes

Get a panoramic view of Austin's condos and cranes by kayak, from the center of Lady Bird Lake.

It’s All About Your Perspective

In Austin, Texas, we take our local landmarks seriously, and our city ordinances decree that new high-rise condos must not exceed the height of our beloved homegrown businesses.

Welcome to Austin, all ye visitors to SXSW. You're gonna love Austin. We all do. You're about to find out why Austin, Texas makes every Top Ten list anyone ever thought of.

It’s time for end-of-year portfolio assessments. First up: the giant wrecking ball that’s been tormenting Austin.

The Pattern of Change Is Change

It takes a whole lotta cranes to hoist up a new Marriott in downtown Austin, where change is changing faster than you can say change. The upcoming architecture at 2nd Street and Congress Avenue demonstrates the pattern of change in a city where urban = big growth. Is it too late to keep Austin Weird?... Continue Reading →

The Pattern of Change

It takes a whole lotta cranes to hoist up a new Marriott in downtown Austin, where change is changing faster than you can say change. Above, the upcoming architecture at 2nd Street and Congress Avenue demonstrates the pattern of change in a city where urban = growth. UPDATE: Today's Austin American-Statesman reports Austin city staff have... Continue Reading →

There Goes the Neighborhood

Lamar Plaza is gone. It's just a hole in the ground now. Since late 2012, dozens of local businesses vacated a shopping plaza that served as the heart of South Lamar, to make way for an upscale apartment complex and a revamped Alamo Drafthouse with new retailers and restaurants. As recently as January 2011, the... Continue Reading →

Where Oh Where Will The Warehouse Go?

The freight lines brought the low-brick industrial warehouses that once dominated Austin from I-35 to MoPac, and in the early 20th century, the building known locally as the Spaghetti Warehouse was part of a busy commercial district, warehousing groceries. Reincarnated as a brothel during Prohibition, and serving up spaghetti with mystery dinner theatre since 1975, the 1902... Continue Reading →

What kind of city will Austin be?

The question that emerged from the Vanishing Austin interview on KOOP 91.7 FM today was, what kind of city will Austin be? Will we become another Dallas (as some fear); will we allow development to overtake our historic fabric, in effect, stealing our spirit (much as some Native Americans feel about photographic images made of them)?... Continue Reading →

Austin’s recent newcomers come not to change it, but to join it

The Austin-American Statesman's Michael Barnes is out and about Austin alot (as implied by his column's name) and has been for a long while--a point he makes eloquently in a 3-part blog series as he examines the three phases of Austin's development with an all-inclusive approach to change in our city, and an optimistic conclusion... Continue Reading →

Finally, Overtaken

More than a year before a corporate giant’s expansion plans doomed Las Manitas, I enjoyed my first breakfast there amid the late Saturday morning hub-bub and was greeted as warmly as a regular by Cynthia Perez, one of two sisters who’ve owned the Congress Avenue café for over 25 years. She took note of my... Continue Reading →

Movin’ On—Carefully

How do you move a neon sign? Especially one that's achieved icon status in Austin? As it turns out, very carefully. When the Night Hawk Frisco Shop moved from its original Austin location at Burnet Road and Koenig Lane to new digs a bit south on Burnet Road, of course its original neon had to... Continue Reading →

What Would Johnny Say?

Progress overtook a humble little bar on Austin's West 5th Street, but the bar is still intact.

What’s Vanishing Next?

At a much-loved Austin coffee shop on West 6th Street in Clarksville, a young man behind the counter handed me my biscotti, looking on in astonishment at my Vanishing Austin series. "All these places are gone??" he asked, seeming a bit dumbfounded. "No no no," I told him hastily. "This series of photographs is my... Continue Reading →

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