Buffalo Bayou showcased its new look this weekend. After touring the development we have to say we’re “Buffaloed.” There’s something about the modern design that produces an odd mix of emotions. You want to love it because it’s mod…but like modern homes, it lacks warmth, intimacy, grill-smoke, and community. The Riverwalk in San Antonio bridges that gap brilliantly and still offers plenty of non-tourist jaunts. Buffalo Bayou shouldn’t be the same as The Riverwalk…but it could go a little more in that direction.
The walking-trails on the Bayou-level deliver a quiet, eerie, uneasy stroll through a land that time forgot. It’s like Jurassic Park without the dinosaurs. Suddenly there are severe structures rising right out of the Bayou, reaching for the sky to suspend walking bridges that emerge from a thick jungle on one side and disappear into another jungle on the other side. The small-dot-people way up in the air only add to the discomforting emotions that arise from an architectural style so last-century…so proletarian…and so joyless. There are no lovers lanes in this new dystopian take on the Bayou. But Bird Watchers…?…this is your dream come true. And there’s a drop-dead brilliant Dog Park where dogs run free and splash each other in the world’s biggest bath tub for dogs while their owners mingle the way dog lovers do. This a home run plain and simple. So there are successes here for sure. Maybe there are more to come…
Like The Kitchen at The Dunlavy which will open for Breakfast and Lunch. Maybe it’ll be a fun hangout in spite of its cold steel and polished concrete. When it finally opens, we’ll be there early and often to enjoy the haunting beauty of Buffalo Bayou…it does possess a strange allure.
We can’t help wondering if the designers had it in their minds that the built environment on Buffalo Bayou would minimally impinge upon the natural environment. If so, they have succeeded…but for us, it evokes a feeling that leaves us almost forlorn…but nothing a Shipley’s Donuts and a great Coffee shop wouldn’t cure. And Tacos.
Buffalo Bayou October 3rd 2015 Dark-thirty.