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Tribeza Neighborhoods Issue June 2021

Our June cover features the inside of Wesley United Methodist Church in East Austin

During the few years I lived in London, I loved how wildly each region of the city varies: from Marylebone to Mayfair, Camden Town to Chelsea, turning the corner on any given street can usher the unwary pedestrian into an entirely different world. As an Austinite, I’d never really considered my hometown as divided into similar boroughs, but the past few years have given me a new appreciation for the distinguishing characteristics of each neighborhood. The more I explore, the more I feel a completely different sense of place between the shops on South Congress, for example, and the quieter corridor on North Loop.

On the one hand, you may forgive my initial oversight as the product of growing up in Austin: We often miss the treasures in our own backyard. Moving back, I first settled in Hyde Park—a natural choice for the returning London expat with its charming roundabouts, historic golf course and cafes on Duval. I frequented the Flag Store and loved walking to Quack’s, both beloved neighborhood staples that had been here all along, of course, just tucked into a pocket of the city I hadn’t explored as much in childhood. In this month’s Tribeza Talk, David Clough rounds up eight such hidden gems dotted all over Austin.

Tribeza’s Executive Editor, Hannah J. Phillips. Photo by Andrew Bennett.

On the other hand, so many of our go-to spots popped up in just the past decade. Even during the pandemic, brave, new businesses seemed to sprout like wildflowers in every nook and cranny of Austin. Laurel Miller highlights a recent addition to the South Congress neighborhood, Tiny Grocer, which already feels like a pillar of the community.

As Austin expands, neighborhoods are fighting harder than ever to identify and retain their individual characteristics—even while the city itself grapples with an evolving identity. Our cover story on East Austin churches explores that theme, highlighting five iconic institutions that have long stemmed the tide of development and gentrification. The feature was a dream collaboration between two of my favorite Austin creatives: Leonid Furmansky’s majestic cover shot of Wesley United Methodist captures the reverence of these spaces, while writer Graham Cumberbatch illuminates their vital role not just in these East Austin neighborhoods, but in the historic fabric of our city as a whole.

“Whichever Austin neighborhood you call home, we hope this issue will inspire you to get out and explore your own little corner of our great city.”

You don’t have to practice faith to cherish the architectural gems of your neighborhood. This is something I love about one of the city’s newest boroughs, Mueller, which appears cookie-cutter at first glance but leaves so much room to explore. In our “Friendly Giants” feature, Brianna Caleri interviews artist Dixie Friend Gay, the creator behind Mueller’s sculptural marvels. Long before you could jet to Heathrow or Honolulu with direct flights from ABIA, I remember taking off from the old municipal airport: Now I jog past the old airplane hangar, enjoy brunch at Halcyon and walk my dog beneath the steel arches of Friend’s towering spider in the Southwest Greenway. If I ever find myself missing the canopies of ancient trees in London’s Hampstead Heath, Friend’s soaring sculptures always set my imagination free to roam.

Compiling this issue, we strove to cover a wide geography, from Foreign & Domestic in the north to Living In Stereo in the south. Whichever Austin neighborhood you call home, we hope this issue will inspire you to get out and explore your own little corner of our great city.