Eastsider: Melissa

11 01 2009

zzThis time for our Eastsider series, in which we ask East Austin residents a few questions, we have Melissa who just moved to the area not too long ago and has become one of the many people who have fallen in love with the neighborhood. Her goal is to eat, sleep and party in East Austin and we have to agree since it’s something that we have done ourselves.

EA: Do you live in East Austin? If so, how long have you been here and why did you move to this neighborhood in particular?

Yes, indeed, I do live in East Austin. MLK and Chiconish to be more exact. I moved here with my girlfriend about a month ago because the house we found is bike central, meaning it’s less than a mile from downtown and the bus stop I use to commute; our house is cheap as hell; and I wanted to live in the heart of the city. And the choice was partially a social experiment (but I don’t mean to suggest our neighbors are lab rats). I want to explore all the isms around me by living smack in the middle of them. I’m learning a lot.

EA: Which are your favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

Well, aside from my backyard, Longbranch is cool. So is Rio Rita. I like shows at the Scoot Inn. I still need to get out a lot more. I want to find the been-here-forever places.

EA: There have been a ton of new places that have chosen East Austin as their new digs. The Good Knight, Shangri La, Kemestry Salon, Birds Barbershop, Karibu and the list goes on. How do you feel about this?

Selfishly, I love it. As a pseudo hedonist, food and alcohol are two of the most important tenets in my life. I don’t ever want to have to go downtown again. I want the eastside to develop into its own independent colony that I never have to leave.

At the same time, I’m concerned about the “g” word, basically rents and property taxes being pushed so high that the longtime residents get pushed out. (And that hoity-toity refurbished portion of 11th Street scares me, though I really want to try Blue Dahlia.) I have no idea how to reconcile these two feelings. It’s a daily conversation. A small way would be for the newcomers like me to make sure to seek out and support the businesses that got here long before we did.

EA: Is there one thing in particular that you think we need in our neighborhood? Whole Foods? 24 hour diner?
Heh. Not Whole Foods. Well, more of my friends need to move here, for one thing. All of them, in fact. Besides that, I really want an Indian restaurant on the eastside. And a Hobby Lobby or its local equivalent. And Flip Happy Crepes. Bring your Airstream goodness to my corner. And fewer ice cream trucks. And a crack/community health clinic at 12th and Chicon.

EA: So what do you do? (Could be anything.. hobbies.. work)
To pay my cheap ass rent, I write and edit publications. The rest of the time, I like to ride my bike around, have four-hour long Saturday morning breakfasts in my backyard with my girlfriend, try new food, hoard vintage furniture and typewriters, decoupage stuff, hangout with friends on porches, and read news and fiction.

EA: How did you hear about us?
Do I have to say it? Myspace. Through the ATXBS page.

EA: Anything else you want to say about yourself or East Austin?
Move here. It’s rad. And hedonism and social responsibility do not have to be mutually exclusive.

-JF

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4 responses

11 01 2009
kristen

I think we could all use a closer hobby lobby.

great interview! i’m getting ready to move here (end of february) and my boyfriend and I are scouring houses on the east side. unfortunately so much of it is too far east and just not close enough for biking distance to work and the places I love.

11 01 2009
JF

Yeah… it’s really nice to be able to ride to downtown since parking is ridiculous on the weekends. Not sure what you’re budget is.. or if you are willing to live in a loft condo, or how far biking distance is for you.. but this is on 6th.. .a few blocks from a lot of stuff.. (birds barbershop and benos aire’s is opening up soon too) on east 6th..right next to the peacock lounge. other than that.. there doesn’t seem to be much for cheaper than 1000 on this site..

http://austinhomesearch.com/Search/Details.aspx?li=85495&or=2&cp=1

11 01 2009
Melissa

Kristen,

I lucked out and found my house on Craigslist. But we also found a lot of other places that weren’t quite as cheap, but were still in the $700 range, by locating a neighborhood we liked and driving around and calling the numbers on the signs in the front yards. There’s a lot of houses in my area that are owned by independent landlords who just have a couple houses here and there. They don’t advertise, just stick a sign in the ground and hope for the best. Best of luck finding a place.

-Melissa

12 01 2009
DD

Melissa! Welcome to you and your ladyfriend to Austin!

Loved this: “I want the eastside to develop into its own independent colony that I never have to leave.” Let’s do it!

Kristen! Also try realtor.com and search under “rent” for 78702 for east austin kinda south of Manor Rd. and then 78722 for the Cherrywood/French Place area… I just found 22 under $1500 in 78702 and 7 listings in 78722. Lots of cute stuff!

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