Rainey Street Is No More

Trendiness wins out!
Rainey Street is no longer a neighborhood

The Zapatas live here no longer

The Zapatas live here no longer

I enjoy the bars and eateries that line Rainey Street just as much as those who frequent Rainey Street do. Still, I can’t but feel pangs of sadness for what has been loss in Rainey Street’s — Austin’s — rush to trendiness. Rainey Street, once an historical district of some 31 homes, is now called by the New York Times, “Austin’s Hot Spot.” A national magazine recently featured it as an example of “Trendy Austin.”

Rainey Street House

Rainey Street Home

Rainey Street, once an historical district of some 31 homes, is now called by the New York Times, “Austin’s Hot Spot.” A national magazine recently featured it as an example of “Trendy Austin.”

Rainey Street For Sale

Rainey Street For Sale

It was Rainey Street herself that caused her downfall. She was far too charming not to be discovered. She sits too close to downtown, on the shore of Lady Bird Lake, with easy access from I-35; how could the Developers of the Fad not covet Rainey Street? Working class Rainey Street, with her 31 homes all built before 1934, was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1985. The City of Austin developed a plan to preserve her. Today that plan has morphed into a planed redevelopment of trendy nightspots. The original Rainey Street Historical Survey is buried in some dusty Planning Commission archives.

In Rainey Street we have lost a working class neighborhood, once populated by Eastern Europeans, many of them Jewish, and then latter, Latinos. We have lost, through own self-interest and greed, something of our collective Austin Story.We must face it, much of what once made Austin unique — charming and weird at the same time — has been lost and is in the ever-expanding process of being lost. Austin — those of us who call Austin “home” — is losing her heart and soul. Something trendiness will never — in fact, can never — replace.

Rainy Street in transition

Rainy Street in transition

frank

The transformation of space is always on my mind as I wander about urban neighborhoods. As I wander I try to be cognoscente of the inherent art and narrative of the space through which I move. The assumption that space = art + narrative raises all sorts of questions ,... Read more

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