Aside from the stereotypical American streets of wide roads and tall blocks, downtown Austin differentiates from your typical Manhattan. The streets are lined with boutiques and cafés, where residents support local businesses to keep Austin weird in the best way possible.
The community librarian illustrates her love for the weirder side of town in her book, Keep Austin Weird, originally written as a tribute to personal expression, to stop Austin moving away from its ‘funkier roots’.
The heart of the city is marked by the Texas State Capitol on Congress, a detailed, historic feature home to the Governor’s office. The dome itself is twelve feet higher than the national capital and during its completion was polished inside with the Texan five-point star at the highest central point. The star reflects onto the burnished floor directly underneath, reminding the residents of the distinctive city they call home.
South Congress is full of the creative expression Austin is famous for. The walls are painted with bold colours and heart-warming quotes that remind the passers-by of the tender, loving community the city represents. Watching tourists and residents alike form a line in order to take a snap next to the, ‘I love you so much’ quote was eye opening. My subconscious took me back home, reminding me of when I would grimace in disapproval at the disjointed letters that when spoken aloud, exposed a threatening tone as the train pulled into London Liverpool Street.
After my recollection, I refused to class Congress’s sentimental scribble as graffiti. It was an engaging embellishment that symbolised Austin’s vibrant culture and was the first time I had seen writing on the wall that wasn’t a form of unsatisfying graffiti.