The hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake attracts hundreds, even thousands of people every day. They walk, jog, bicycle, and use their wheelchairs. Some have dogs. This day was the first time I saw professional dog walkers, two women with some twenty leashed animals.
My wife and I (and our dog) were staying with friends not far from the trail, friends who have seen the value of their home and their property taxes soar since they bought their little duplex in the 1980s. To cope with the increased taxes, they demolished his stand-alone graphic-arts studio and built a bed and breakfast that rents for $250/night.
Many of our friends have moved to nearby communities with lower taxes and lower real estate prices. One couple was able to sell their home, pay off the mortgage on that old home, and buy a new, much larger home in San Marcos without a mortgage.
If Austin became the “Live Music Capital of the World” – a trademark owned by the city — it was because it had the lowest cost of living in the USA for similarly-sized cities. Living was cheap!
In the late 1970s, to give an extreme example, I shared an $80/month rent house in East Austin with friends. That house is now an upscale wedding venue with fancy french meals. The house looks much the same as when I lived there but now it is described as “equal parts Chateau Marmont, Parisian salon, and haunted New Orleans Victorian.”
That last part may be right. Originally, the place was the Morales Funeral Home. That was one reason the house was so cheap for us hippies renting it in the 1970s. Nobody else even wanted to go inside, much less live there.
I may have seen some ghosts while living there, just wispy emanations, but they disappeared when I tried to touch them. Happily, I was not in a horror movie or I would have been immediately possessed, my soul twisting in agony. Instead, on those few occasions when I might have seen something, after I tried to touch something like smoke and touched nothing, I went back to sleep.
Michelle C. [in Paris, France]
Good Lord, how and where do they do their business, or is just for exercise, sort of ha!
Ellen W. [taught photography in Austin, then for many years in New York City]:
There went the whole town. 😢 [DANNY REPLIED: Yes, in many ways a different town, but as I said elsewhere, I can still see a lot of old Austin in the new, and I love both, God help me!]
I love this pic. All those happy dog faces.
Ron M. [in Austin]:
I resemble these remarks. We’ve been at our Bouldin address for 32 years and the property taxes are more than four times the rent we paid when we moved in. I often feel like an idiot for helping make the neighborhood too nice. [DANNY REPLIED: Because Austin is so full of oddballs, you’d think the people with money would have gone elsewhere. Same for the Village of Arden, Delaware, where I live now. It is known as an artist community and a place full of theater people, it has no sidewalks or street lights, yet the price of homes keeps going up.]