- By Eric Webb American-Statesman Staff
I’m 28. Among friends my age — squarely in the millennial camp — Dallas typically comes up in conversation two ways. (Neither of them involve J.R. Ewing.)
1. “Dallas is boring.”
2. “I’m moving to Dallas.”
Anecdotally, it seems to me that many of these Dallasite peers would actually rather live in Austin than the Big D, if given the choice. There’s something a bit cooler about the land of South by Southwest and breakfast tacos than the home of a highway knot called the “mixmaster.” However, something has drawn a not insignificant number of my fellow twentysomethings up to the northern hinterlands of Interstate 35, and I don’t think it’s Six Flags. One might want to look at a Wednesday post from the Dallas Morning News, which says the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex was one of the top destinations for millennials on the move last year.
Austinites, you’ve certainly heard that one before about your own town. This time, the Morning News cited a Mayflower Moving list that ranks DFW at No. 7 on a list American cities attracting fresh blood. Houston landed at No. 9; financial sieves New York City and San Francisco settled in at No. 6 and No. 1, respectively. Seeking explanation, the Morning News pointed to their city’s recent 120,000-job employment boom.
Despite our own population and economy booms, Austin’s not on the list, y’all. But we know a thing or two about lists, don’t we?
A casually spiteful Google search for “Austin millennials” reveals more than enough internet detritus to decry our exclusion from this particular millennials-on-the-move list. There’s Forbes, which just loves to put people, places and things in sequential order, and their ranking of Austin as the No. 2 city for millennials. There’s the list from a financial firm that says young Austinites make more money than any of their U.S. peers. (What, you don’t make $72,442 a year, fellow kids?) Online news outlet Mic in 2013 tried to answer “How Austin became the best millennial city in the U.S.” It had something to do with taco trucks and swimming holes. You know the drill. And just last year, Elite Daily said Dirty Sixth was one of the “5 reasons millennials are heading to Austin after graduation.” What better way to celebrate a degree than a voyage on the vomit sea?
It’s not just internet lists that think Austin is a hive swarming with the M-word. Marriott is building a millennial-minded hotel on the Drag called Moxy. “At the Moxy we don’t make excuses,” the hotel’s website reads. “Because we don’t make any rules.” Are fire codes rules? Millennials also like not dying, in my experience.
Then, there’s a flip side. Yeah, the money. According to Curbed Austin, 79 percent of millennial renters in Austin say they cannot afford to buy a house, despite that $72,442 they’re supposed to be raking into the ol’ direct deposit. In 2014, the Washington Post pointed to study that called Austin one of the least affordable cities for the generation raised on Capri Sun — more pricey than even New York. Outside the world of questionably authoritative studies cited by people looking for page views — this writer said, looking in the mirror and shedding one perfectly crystalline tear — Austin’s movers and shakers rallied behind an “affordability agenda” earlier this year. However, the proposed action plan to realize that agenda was shelved by City Council last month.
So, all that’s to say: East Sixth might be more fun on a Saturday night than Deep Ellum. You might rather see a show at the Mohawk than House of Blues. Willie Nelson might make a better Halloween costume than Tom Landry. But when my friends who are two years younger than me buy a house and I’m in a studio apartment, frequent trips to Six Flag start to make proximity to Barton Springs Pool look like less of a draw.
We all had a bad week
El Arroyo, a Tex-Mex restaurant in downtown Austin but also the city’s collective id, loves a good sign. Their signature marquee weighs in on everything from clown epidemics to the presidential election to the perfect Christmas gift with a pithy zinger. After a banner week for public gaffes, then, it would have been shocking if the restaurant had not managed to squeeze Pepsi, United Airlines and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on to one marquee message.
On Wednesday, El Arroyo tweeted a picture of a sign that read: “Pepsi: No one can do worse. United: Hold my beer. Spicer: Hold my Pepsi.” Not the most original joke — versions of the same gag appeared all over Twitter last week. But one must admit, it’s a winning formula.
For those not keeping score at home, Pepsi, United and Spicer all battled bad press last week. The soda company pulled a Kendall Jenner-starring ad that was widely seen as insensitive to social justice causes and protest movements. The airline weathered mass backlash following the release of a video of a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane after not voluntarily giving up his seat. While discussing the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Donald Trump’s press secretary said Tuesday that genocidal dictator Adolph Hitler did not use chemical weapons on his own people during World War II. During the Holocaust, Hitler systematically murdered Jews using gas chambers.
Buttermilk signal boost
After a Nevada teen gained viral fame with his efforts to win a year’s worth of chicken nuggets from Wendy’s by getting 18 million retweets, an Austin woman is trying to do the same — but with Kerbey Lane pancakes.
Morgana Daniella, or @Momosaymkay on Twitter, asked Austin restaurant Kerbey Lane Cafe how many retweets it would take to win a year’s supply of pancakes, and fortunately for the pancake-lover, the restaurant said she needed 100 retweets to win a gift card.
She had only gotten 40 retweets as of Thursday morning, but the free pancakes are within reach. After all, the viral Wendy’s teen has already gotten 2.7 million retweets by the same time. There’s also a guy who’s trying to win a year of free Pluckers with 1 million retweets, so apparently this fad is catching on.
— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff
Not all heroes have beaks
Every Austin resident knows grackles are fearless. They’ll walk or fly in front of your car while you’re driving, they’ll try to steal your food if you’re eating outdoors and they’ll also bravely fend off snakes while your children are playing, apparently.
Austinite Victor Trac shared a YouTube video of a grackle confronting a snake at Northwest District Park on April 2. Trac said he kept kids off the playground until the snake “eventually slithered into the woods, unharmed.”
“The grackle was screwing with the snake for a good 5-10 minutes before this video,” Trac wrote in his post on Reddit’s r/Austin. “The snake was curled up in attack position, out in the open, while the grackle would swoop down and take a peck at it.”
— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff