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DCA_HORN

When did old Austin die?

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It died on Mopac.  It died on I35.  It died along side a little piece of your soul you lose everyday sitting there with your thumb up your ass in a sea of never-ending fucking traffic.

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The wry "oh it started (changing) ten years after you moved here" or "who cares" remarks miss one specific point--  downtown has changed in at least two significant ways over the years

First, if you experienced Sixth Street before it became a neon glowing college-kid-friendly tourist trap, then circa-90s Austin was probably pretty different to you. Maybe you liked it better, maybe you didn't; probably you didn't, because humans are generally predisposed not to like change and that inherent but subconscious bias colors our opinions. I mention Sixth Street as a symbol: when it was cleaned up and became a focus to commercially exploit an "Austin experience", that represents a sort of self-awareness. Whatever Austin was in 1970, it mostly developed organically. What came subsequently was more intentional. 

Two, if you experienced mid-90s Austin before downtown development really got underway (the Frost Tower era, again symbolic), I really don't see how you can visit it now and make a claim it's similar. The vibe has changed. There's a glitzy, sort of technocratic young money feel to areas that used to be more laid-back. There's a much broader focus on providing stuff for people with money to do. Stuff is new and clean and nice, upscale. Thirty years ago, it was more slacker-centric. It's not that no one would open Casino El Camino downtown in 2020, if it didn't already exist. It's that it would be a focus-grouped tourist-trap theme restaurant. 

 

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48 minutes ago, utee94 said:

Old Austin died when they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.

And now the parking lot has a 40 story high rise on it?

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30 minutes ago, sidis said:

i am always fascinated when these periodic pseudo-nostalgia threads pop up and they elicit such an astounding amount of vitriol over the most banal and inconsequential bullshit.

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34 minutes ago, ImissWallyPryor said:

One thing is for certain. The day Austin ceases to exist is day no one brings up race on every fucking Surly thread. 

Yep, only time you worry about a native Austinite is when he quits bitching.  

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1 hour ago, Bevo said:

When Fred Akers became head coach?

When Fred Akers was fired.

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When they added the upper deck on the east side of DKR-Memorial Stadium. I prefer the vibe of Memorial Stadium circa early 80’s.

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36 minutes ago, BabaYaga said:

It died on Mopac.  It died on I35.  It died along side a little piece of your soul you lose everyday sitting there with your thumb up your ass in a sea of never-ending fucking traffic.

What do you mean?

I call the Todd and Don show!

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2 minutes ago, HouTex said:

When they added the upper deck on the east side of DKR-Memorial Stadium. I prefer the vibe of Memorial Stadium circa early 80’s.

Taco Bell, Dick's Sporting Goods, and AdZillaTron don't like your tone!

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11 minutes ago, Cajun said:

What do you mean?

I call the Todd and Don show!

lulz. i can't even with those dudes. all they do is troll. even with sgt sam, you had a feeling of bigoted sincerity. todd and don are just insincere douchebaggery wrapped with a bow of smug. i honestly haven't listened to 590 since they fired ward.

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20 years from now, some 40 year old is going to reminesce about "Old Austin"
 
Meanwhile, 17 years ago...
Cx78acK.jpg


True.

“Man I remember when you could just go downtown and panhandle some good cash and then easily still a bike to get back to camp. Now you have to fight your way through a ton of panhandlers from all over that are doing the same thing. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the easy mark types are now avoiding downtown like the plague. I really miss old Austin.”

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I agree with whoever mentioned the closing of the xxx movie theater on South Congress around ‘96. The COA shut it down and opened a “community center “ complete with folding chairs and a ping pong table. A few months later the building was leased to a tech start-up. This was around the same time the COA paid off the LasManidos ladies $300k to go silent into the night.

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10 minutes ago, hayden_horn said:

lulz. i can't even with those dudes. all they do is troll. even with sgt sam, you had a feeling of bigoted sincerity. todd and don are just insincere douchebaggery wrapped with a bow of smug. i honestly haven't listened to 590 since they fired ward.

I'm not on social media, and I don't think Ward was a user of it either...but anybody hear/see anything with regard to what Jeff is up to these days?  

He's only 55 and has several kids to feed/educate.  I would think he'd want to still work.  I see him every now and again over in a strip center near our neighborhood. 

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15 minutes ago, hayden_horn said:

lulz. i can't even with those dudes. all they do is troll. even with sgt sam, you had a feeling of bigoted sincerity. todd and don are just insincere douchebaggery wrapped with a bow of smug. i honestly haven't listened to 590 since they fired ward.

I listen here and there.  It's kind of like that sore tooth you just can't stop pressing on.

And same on the Ward thing.  He was wrong a lot, but the dude was smart, articulate, and didn't sit around behind a microphone virtue signaling and name dropping.

Looking at you Ed.

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1 hour ago, DonnyKerabatsos said:

when they turned 2222 and 620 into major highways.

i'm still waiting for that.

 

i've only been here for 20 years but i think the frost tower being built coinciding with the rebirth of west 6th and then east austin being gentrified were the turning points in my opinion.  i love new austin though, even if @Somnio is wrong and austin is one of the most segregated cities i've seen.  

 

Edited by gsoda3

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11 minutes ago, Texas_Rocks said:

 


True.

“Man I remember when you could just go downtown and panhandle some good cash and then easily still a bike to get back to camp. Now you have to fight your way through a ton of panhandlers from all over that are doing the same thing. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the easy mark types are now avoiding downtown like the plague. I really miss old Austin.”

 

Yep, walking though downtown ATX is like this except much worse...

 

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9 hours ago, Texas_Rocks said:

When some good boys drunk on whiskey and wine took the Chevy to the levy.

Rye.      

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5 minutes ago, Cajun said:

I listen here and there.  It's kind of like that sore tooth you just can't stop pressing on.

And same on the Ward thing.  He was wrong a lot, but the dude was smart, articulate, and didn't sit around behind a microphone virtue signaling and name dropping.

Looking at you Ed.

Ward saved his name dropping for when he got pulled over for suspected DUI's.

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When they tore down the shanty?

This is correct. I would add when Disch stopped playing country music between innings and they removed the track from Memorial Stadium.

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Yeah, I mean, I kind of like new Austin.  I know its not the same from when I went to school there but at least I won't get knifed in east Austin.  Now that's reserved for 6th.

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I think the Frost tower is a fairly decent demarcation of when it happened. But this kind of thing doesn’t just happen like flipping a switch. And because of that, and the fact that any town/city that is good to live in is always changing, I have tried to stop being all but hurt about Austin not being the same.

I started regularly visiting in the early 90s when my brother was at UT and then I moved to Austin 1995 to do the same. So for me, that is my Austin. Just like the 60s, 70s, 80s Austin is someone’s ideal version. I owned a small recording studio and record label from 2002-2005 and while most of that is AF (after Frost), there was still a lot of weird and unique stuff going on...especially in regard to music which I had intimate knowledge of.

I could list a ton of people, places and things I miss. I could also list quite a lot that I currently love. But really the thing that sucks about “now” vs “then” is the overcrowding and cost of living.

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I had the unique (apparently) perspective of growing up here.  Even though I was born in San Antonio, my parents moved here in 1967 before I turned one.  At various times we lived in what is now north central Austin (by Webb MS), then further northwest (behind the old Playland skating rink), then way north(out by Parmer and Burnet), and then finally in Rollingwood.

As an adult I lived by campus, way South (slaughter and Manchaca) and then finally for the last 20 years or so out by the Austin zoo.  Additionally I own a construction yard where my office is over behind the Calahan's on 183 south.  In my construction business I was lucky enough to be able to work all over town and really watch it change over the years.

I did a 3 year stint in Houston in the early 90's which had me traveling to Dallas about half of the time and my parents had a ranch down by San Antonio which me spending a lot of time in that city as well. 

I think when we talk about "old Austin", we are referring to what this city was starting in the early post WWII years to whenever that really changed.  Austin did not experience the boom that Dallas, SA and Houston did post war.  It had UT and the state government which gave it its unique laid back style which was completely different than SA, Dallas and Houston which managed to get interstate loops back in the 60's along with a lot of home grown businesses that were enormous.

Growing up in 1970's Austin probably looked a lot like growing up in 1950's Austin.  Yes we had Willy and and his bunch and hippies and whatever was going on with Nam, but that was all an offshoot of the relaxed backwater status we had back then.  Hell, even El Paso was a much bigger town than Austin.

Some have cited the change occurred when DKR was replaced, but the game atmosphere was the same and kids could still roam free and the stadium would not change for another 20 years and the team was still really good well into the early 80's.

Tech investment did not start with Dell.  IBM had a huge campus by the early 70's, Tracor, TI, and others had started investing back in the late 60's

Austin participated in the Texas boom back in the late 70's and early 80's as well as the bust.  During the bust, despite a few landmarks moving or being done away with altogether, the city city almost reverted back to its status in the 1960s or 70s.  It was almost impossible to get a job here and things were much as they were.

By the time I moved back here in 1993 from Houston, not much had changed from the 1980s.  I worked downtown and could still park on the street during the day.

Even during the late 1990's during the Tech boom, much of this city was still accessible on the cheap and still felt like Austin.  The action had moved from dirty 6th to the warehouse "district", but even that was a great improvement and did not feel like real change-more like just catching your breath and getting over the 80s bust cycle.  It felt like that sweet spot when an old declining neighborhood starts to get new life when it is still a mix of mostly responsible existing residents and the eyesores start vanishing and the new people are resourceful and forward thing trend setters and there is that nice period of 5-10 years before the Beamers and Rovers show up.

The early 2000's saw the construction of the Frost Tower, but let us not forget that the Hilton went in before Frost.  We got our first toll road started in 2003, but Austin was still Austin. Yes downtown was starting to really change, the game atmosphere was different and more restrictive, we had a few more golf courses, but the circles you traveled in were still many of the same old people that had been there for decades.

The people stated to be different during the recovery from the 2008 slump, which really did not hit Austin all that hard.  It was as if 50 years of pent up demand and failed booms was unleashed from housing to new business, from UT going on a building spree to Lakeway getting filled in.  Back when I still went to church I recognized only a few faces where only a few years earlier I knew almost everyone.  Parking to go for a run on Town Lake had become difficult almost overnight.

It was as if everyone that lived here moved and was replaced with two people in their place.  These things don't happen overnight, but in this case it sure feels like it did, because the Austin I knew held its own for at least 40 years.  So if you a looking to pin down a time I would say look at 2009 -2015.

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I was on that Hilton project. It was the tallest building in Austin for a grand total of six months before being overtaken by the Frost building.

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3 minutes ago, BottleRocket said:

I was on that Hilton project. It was the tallest building in Austin for a grand total of six months before being overtaken by the Frost building.

I worked on it as well.  We did over $1 million worth of work on it.  Those were some slow paying SOB's.

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That's fucking crazy, the Hilton and Frost buildings turn 20 next year.  Then there was that almost decade long-lag even though we were growing and the economy from 2003-08 was pretty good.  Those'll be the last two buildings we mark the anniversaries of because of that started in downtown Austin.  Now there's a new 30+ story building opening every quarter it seems.  And another one breaking ground.

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38 minutes ago, Deej said:

Ward saved his name dropping for when he got pulled over for suspected DUI's.

At least no one got raped.

Edited by Cajun

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When I enrolled at UT in 1988, my dad told me I should have seen what Austin was like in 1962, when he enrolled, at which time I bet his dad told him he should have seen it in 1925, when he enrolled, at which time I bet his dad told he should have seen in 1895, when he enrolled. There were places we all remembered all our lives, though some had changed. Some forever, and not for better, but in our lives, we loved them all. All those places had their moments with lovers and friends we still could recall. Some are dead and some are living, but in our lives, we loved them all. 

 

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On 2/9/2020 at 12:57 AM, DCA_HORN said:

 

I'd argue when the built the Frost tower. What say you?

 

While I agree with the tenor and tone of the question, this is ultimately just whiny shit.

When were you born? 1890? 1925? 1955? 1960? 1990? 

Austin, old or otherwise, has never died. 

Never. Fucking. Died. 

Life is all about change. It's you who died. 

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Back in '93, I met a girl who lived in Round Rock. I ended up driving out to her place and picking her up for a date and I remember thinking, "Damn, I think I am going to end up in Dallas this place is so far away." At that time the distances between neighboring towns seemed a lot more significant. For instance the stretch of highway between San Marcos and Austin used to be an empty drive and if you were driving in at night the XXX store on the right of 35 was the first sign that you were getting close to civilization.

Another area that blows my mind is Taylor, TX. I was in Taylor a few years ago after last visiting the place in '97. It used to be a couple of gas stations and that was all there was to it. Dripping Springs is another place that has been notably changed by the outgrowth of Austin.

It seems once Austin became Greater Austin, the Old Austin faded into the ether. Obviously this isn't the cause of the death but a consequence of all the damn out of state people moving into the area. Which seems to have started with the early success of Dell.

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The out of staters might be more noticeable but numerically it's kids from (the suburbs of) Dallas and Houston who make up most of the numbers of the transplants. They are the ones who bag on Dallas and Houston because they hate Plano and Cypress, and then they go to work turning Austin in to Plano and Cypress.

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38 minutes ago, Jiggy-Z said:

I had the unique (apparently) perspective of growing up here.  Even though I was born in San Antonio, my parents moved here in 1967 before I turned one.  At various times we lived in what is now north central Austin (by Webb MS), then further northwest (behind the old Playland skating rink), then way north(out by Parmer and Burnet), and then finally in Rollingwood.

As an adult I lived by campus, way South (slaughter and Manchaca) and then finally for the last 20 years or so out by the Austin zoo.  Additionally I own a construction yard where my office is over behind the Calahan's on 183 south.  In my construction business I was lucky enough to be able to work all over town and really watch it change over the years.

I did a 3 year stint in Houston in the early 90's which had me traveling to Dallas about half of the time and my parents had a ranch down by San Antonio which me spending a lot of time in that city as well. 

I think when we talk about "old Austin", we are referring to what this city was starting in the early post WWII years to whenever that really changed.  Austin did not experience the boom that Dallas, SA and Houston did post war.  It had UT and the state government which gave it its unique laid back style which was completely different than SA, Dallas and Houston which managed to get interstate loops back in the 60's along with a lot of home grown businesses that were enormous.

Growing up in 1970's Austin probably looked a lot like growing up in 1950's Austin.  Yes we had Willy and and his bunch and hippies and whatever was going on with Nam, but that was all an offshoot of the relaxed backwater status we had back then.  Hell, even El Paso was a much bigger town than Austin.

Some have cited the change occurred when DKR was replaced, but the game atmosphere was the same and kids could still roam free and the stadium would not change for another 20 years and the team was still really good well into the early 80's.

Tech investment did not start with Dell.  IBM had a huge campus by the early 70's, Tracor, TI, and others had started investing back in the late 60's

Austin participated in the Texas boom back in the late 70's and early 80's as well as the bust.  During the bust, despite a few landmarks moving or being done away with altogether, the city city almost reverted back to its status in the 1960s or 70s.  It was almost impossible to get a job here and things were much as they were.

By the time I moved back here in 1993 from Houston, not much had changed from the 1980s.  I worked downtown and could still park on the street during the day.

Even during the late 1990's during the Tech boom, much of this city was still accessible on the cheap and still felt like Austin.  The action had moved from dirty 6th to the warehouse "district", but even that was a great improvement and did not feel like real change-more like just catching your breath and getting over the 80s bust cycle.  It felt like that sweet spot when an old declining neighborhood starts to get new life when it is still a mix of mostly responsible existing residents and the eyesores start vanishing and the new people are resourceful and forward thing trend setters and there is that nice period of 5-10 years before the Beamers and Rovers show up.

The early 2000's saw the construction of the Frost Tower, but let us not forget that the Hilton went in before Frost.  We got our first toll road started in 2003, but Austin was still Austin. Yes downtown was starting to really change, the game atmosphere was different and more restrictive, we had a few more golf courses, but the circles you traveled in were still many of the same old people that had been there for decades.

The people stated to be different during the recovery from the 2008 slump, which really did not hit Austin all that hard.  It was as if 50 years of pent up demand and failed booms was unleashed from housing to new business, from UT going on a building spree to Lakeway getting filled in.  Back when I still went to church I recognized only a few faces where only a few years earlier I knew almost everyone.  Parking to go for a run on Town Lake had become difficult almost overnight.

It was as if everyone that lived here moved and was replaced with two people in their place.  These things don't happen overnight, but in this case it sure feels like it did, because the Austin I knew held its own for at least 40 years.  So if you a looking to pin down a time I would say look at 2009 -2015.

this is a great take. thanks for the perspective.

while i opined earlier that the 2001 mardi gras riot was the end, it was obviously a process that occurred over time. i still think that is a clear demarcation into when the police in this town went from benevolent to viewing the party crowd as an enemy. then 9-11 happened later that year, and finished that process. the police started that fucking riot, i know, because i was there.

if i had to put a specific sort of timeframe, i would say it's when the kids started calling it dirty sixth. i feel like that happened roughly around the time i moved to japan for a year in 2005 - 2006. 

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Cedar Park High School was opened in 1998.

Stony Point was 1999.

Pflugerville Connelly was 1996.

 

Those symbolized the rapid influx that was taking place.

Edited by DonnyKerabatsos

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The out of staters might be more noticeable but numerically it's kids from (the suburbs of) Dallas and Houston who make up most of the numbers of the transplants. They are the ones who bag on Dallas and Houston because they hate Plano and Cypress, and then they go to work turning Austin in to Plano and Cypress.

Maybe.

I was one of those Cypress kids. At the time I bagged on Houston. But I didn’t try turning Austin into Houston or Cypress. But I am also not one of those frat boy preppy types that likes that shit. I was fine playing in shitty bands or recording really cool bands.

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I worked on it as well.  We did over $1 million worth of work on it.  Those were some slow paying SOB's.


I worked for the GC. Sorry, not sorry.

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2 hours ago, justhookit said:

For me I could also make an argument for when 606 became Iron Cactus - or - when Dazed and Confused was released.

Ahem. The proper nomenclature is “Chicks O Chicks.”

Peter the great outside shoulda told ya. 

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2 hours ago, SwanderedTalent said:

The wry "oh it started (changing) ten years after you moved here" or "who cares" remarks miss one specific point--  downtown has changed in at least two significant ways over the years

First, if you experienced Sixth Street before it became a neon glowing college-kid-friendly tourist trap, then circa-90s Austin was probably pretty different to you. Maybe you liked it better, maybe you didn't; probably you didn't, because humans are generally predisposed not to like change and that inherent but subconscious bias colors our opinions. I mention Sixth Street as a symbol: when it was cleaned up and became a focus to commercially exploit an "Austin experience", that represents a sort of self-awareness. Whatever Austin was in 1970, it mostly developed organically. What came subsequently was more intentional. 

Two, if you experienced mid-90s Austin before downtown development really got underway (the Frost Tower era, again symbolic), I really don't see how you can visit it now and make a claim it's similar. The vibe has changed. There's a glitzy, sort of technocratic young money feel to areas that used to be more laid-back. There's a much broader focus on providing stuff for people with money to do. Stuff is new and clean and nice, upscale. Thirty years ago, it was more slacker-centric. It's not that no one would open Casino El Camino downtown in 2020, if it didn't already exist. It's that it would be a focus-grouped tourist-trap theme restaurant. 

 

 

Yeah, good points here. I posted earlier about Austin being enjoyable mostly for well-off people these days. I disagree with the guy who said it was always like that. We could go downtown and get hammered on $10 or so in my heyday. I lived here for plenty of the part of my life where I was not even close to "well off" and did just fine, enjoyed the city and everything it had to offer, etc. That ship has totally sailed. Some places have $2 cans of Lone Star and the like, but generally speaking, there's no such thing as a cheap night out in Austin. 

The two changes you mentioned are very clear shifts. The first one I knew was coming the minute they opened a Coyote Ugly on 6th St. That was during me and my crew's 6th street heyday and I remember thinking that was a Bellwether of more of that crap to come. 6th street shifted to dirty 6th pretty quickly after that. 

The second one was a slower process. I couldn't point to a line in the sand between getting cheap pitchers and free hot dogs at Copper Tank to finding myself eating at a restaurant near Rainey and paying $8 for a can of beer when I could get in my car, drive to the brewery, buy a pint, drink it, and get back to the restaurant before appetizers are out and for less than $8 including the gas (Austin Amber, FWIW)

There's a lot of things that have changed for the better that a lot of the old Austin people don't acknowledge. The food scene is much, much better. The bar scene is too. It's more than just "do we go to 4th, 5th, 6th, or Red River tonight?". There are neighborhood bars. But it's definitely not nearly as accessible for normal people as it used to be. The city center and all of the in-demand offshoot arteries of it (Lamar, Congress, etc.) are hipster/technocrat/white DINK heaven. I'd be stunned if more than half of the people who live in the rectangle between Mopac/35 and the river/MLK are from Texas.

Edited by BradInATX

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17 minutes ago, BottleRocket said:

 


I worked for the GC. Sorry, not sorry.

 

I think we all know who the problem was for the GC.

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14 hours ago, troph said:

When the tug of war across town lake between the bubbas and the yuppies stopped happening.

And the ever memorable Great River Raft Race and Bras Across Town Lake.

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55 minutes ago, MaybeACoordinator said:

The out of staters might be more noticeable but numerically it's kids from (the suburbs of) Dallas and Houston who make up most of the numbers of the transplants. They are the ones who bag on Dallas and Houston because they hate Plano and Cypress, and then they go to work turning Austin in to Plano and Cypress.

nothing wrong with plano.

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On 2/9/2020 at 9:49 AM, XYZ said:

Late 90s. Dot com boom.

That's what I was thinking too. When all the Californians in the tech industry came down in droves.

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Just because everybody personalized an individual idea of My Austin , doesn't mean there isn't an objective ideal Austin. 

 

I propose cities are best at 500-700k or so.  Which Austin has grown out of, into this awkward phase where it's not a proper Big world class city, but is instead an overcrowded mid sized city.  It's Puberty Austin.

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The correct answer is old Austin dies every single year. 
 

For me Austin at its greatest lasted from 91-96 when I went to UT. Dollar beers, dollar shots, cheap food,  cheap tuition, no cover ever, and many a night watching music at black cat, jack and coke and playing pool at hondos, tequila shots at touche’s, flaming Dr Pepper and Jell-O shots at daiquiri factory, great shows at Liberty lunch, etc. Those days are gone and will never return. Just like your greatest days in Austin are gone and are never to return. 
 

A city can stagnate and die off or it can move on. Austin has always chosen the latter. 
 

 

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The truest answers were on page 1: approximately 5 years after you got here and/or around the time you turned 30.

That being said, Austin kept evolving but always seemed to be about being Texan, albeit the weird brother in the Texas family. During the tech/etc. industrial boom gradually between 2005 (maybe earlier?)-present, Austin seemed to try to identify less as Weird Texan and more an image of hip that would appeal to West Coast folks.  Jiggy-Z’s sentence about so many “Austinites” leaving and being replaced by two outsiders. At least one of those are Californians. I believe when I met people in 1998-2005, the most common answer to “where are you from?” was Dallas or Houston. Now in my neighborhood the most common answer is Los Angeles/SoCal. 

Edited by Murfdogg21

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