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Henderson Avenue: A Cool Place to Live With Lots of Witnesses and No DWIs

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Just an interesting little moment in the life of the city, perhaps a cautionary tale: A couple weekends ago on a Saturday morning I get a distress call from an old friend back in town for the weekend who's apartment shopping with her kid. They are sort of well-known people here still, so I can't name them.

They moved to New York 13 years ago after a big flap at Dallas Independent School District, where both parents worked. Now they are happily ensconced at a prestigious private school in Brooklyn. There. Everybody who knows them can know guess who they are, and I still haven't named them. I walk the line.

So, the kid. Went to a big-name Northeastern college. Went to grad school. Lives in Boston. Loves the Northeast. Wanted to teach in a private school like mom and dad. Very smart, very charming, not snooty. Ideal candidate.

ZIP! Everything is shut down. Apparently private secondary schools are in almost the same place as the auto industry right now. Screwed but not tattooed.

So somebody in the family with Texas connections knows of some really good openings in the Dallas suburbs. Kid comes for interview. Gets job. Happy about job. Maybe not so happy about coming back to Texas. Tells me she saw a bumper sticker that said, "I'll keep my guns, you keep your Obama."

She says, "Among other things, it doesn't even make sense." I say, "Yeah, that's the tip-off."

But maybe -- just maybe -- if she could get a cool apartment in a livable place, according to her by now very high standards, then maybe the move back to Texas for the good job could work for a while.

But where?

Mom remembered Deep Ellum from a decade and a half ago. The call I get is sort of a very controlled wail. They have been looking at Deep Ellum, which looks to them like a movie about the day after a nuclear attack.


The kid says, "I have lived in New York and Boston. I know about streets. Empty is bad. What you want are lots of witnesses."

I agree. I offer my own opinion: Young people should seek what I call "No-DWI environments" -- places where you can walk from your apartment to fun places, not have your life ruined by a drunk driving ticket, and at least have a witness if you do get murdered." I suggest the Henderson Avenue to West Village region.

Fast forward to the end of the day Saturday. They have found a place close to the Katy Trail, close to West Village and reasonably close to Henderson, all of which the kid seems to love. I mean, love. Not like, love better than Boston. More love like, Dallas is where the jobs are; it's where the opportunity is; it's a good entry-level leg-up city; and you can actually live here because of the Katy Trail and walkable places nearby like Henderson.

If we want that "creative class" to come here and put down stakes, that's what it's all about. It will never have anything to do with tollways or Calatrava bridges. It will have everything to do with pathways and no DWI areas.

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