Many people wonder why I live and work in the downtown. I love it. Houston is a vibrant city with all the energy of any major metropolis. The University of Houston-Downtown provides its students, faculty, and staff with a major opportunity. You can walk down the street and and do so many things: listen to jazz or blues; eat at a fabulous restaurant; watch the Astros in Minute Maid Park; go to a play, the symphony, a concert-- or just kick back and have coffee at a sidewalk cafe. On the weekends, the club scene starts and the downtown looks different, as young people line up to get into the hot spots.
The Pros Play Here! The Rockets play just down the street. I can hardly wait until the NBA season starts. And, if you want to go to a museum or to Reliant Stadium to see the Texans play pro-football, you just hop on the MetroRail. On Saturdays, you can ride down to Miller Park and watch a Broadway show or musical in the amphitheater or bring a blanket or chair and sit back on a grass-covered hill, free of charge! During the day, when the heat get bad I often go underground. Much of the city is inter-connected by tunnels, with shopping, food, even credit unions, dentists, massage therapy, and beauty salons.
Few colleges offer such opportunities. Many of our students work downtown in restaurants, hotels, a theater, or one of the many companies that are headquartered here. They take classes after work, study in the library, play basketball or work out in the gym. And, if they want to, they can go with their friends for pizza and a drink or walk to a baseball game. Most universities are located away from the city. They have sports teams on campus. We don't. But our students can watch the pros play. And, the campus buys discount tickets so students, staff, and faculty can attend a game together.
I love the excitement of a baseball game: the fans doing the wave or singing, "We will, We Will Rock You..." and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the Seventh Inning Stretch; washing down hot dogs and nachos or peanuts with a cold beer; and, watching everyone having a great time--win or lose. Since I arrived in town, the Astros are winning. In fact, they're doing pretty good.
And, Minute Maid Park is a great venue. It has a retractable roof and air conditioning. They pull back the roof for fireworks after Friday night games. And, it's where UHD holds its graduation ceremonies. Can you imagine? Being a student receiving your diploma, seeing yourself on the JumboTron! The parents and family members go wild.
Houston is also a relatively safe city. I've lived for short spells in other cities. I love New York, the Bay Area, L.A., Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris, and Mexico City. Each has its splendor. But, Houston grows on you. And, Houstonians are much friendlier than are New Yorkers.
So I enjoy the city at night. I listen to jazz, eat great food. And, I am thankful to be here.