A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 28, 2009
“The only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas”

The Texas capital city of Austin is more liberal than the rest of the state. “The only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas” is a saying that has been frequently used by Austin film director Richard Linklater (recorded in interviews in 2004 and 2006). The saying has been cited in print since at least 2002 and is of unknown authorship.


Wikipedia: Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock Metropolitan Area, with a population of 1,652,602 as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate—making it the 36th-largest- and 2nd-fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation.

The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods Market, and Freescale Semiconductor.

Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the “Greenest City in America” by MSN. According to CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 2 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America’s #1 College Town by the Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than 3 murders per 100,000 people annually.

Residents of Austin are known as “Austinites” and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname “Silicon Hills.” Austin’s official slogan promotes the city as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird”; this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.

BootsnAll Travel Network
Austin Travel Guide
There is an old joke that says that the only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas. I guess it depends on how you feel about the rest of Texas, but its capital city does seem to stand alone in many ways. The giant main campus of the University of Texas dominates the central part of the city and it gives the town the sort of heart that is missing in most other large Texas cities.

16 October 1994, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Californians here they come” by Julie Donnin, pg. F1:
One more thing: “The only bad thing about Austin is it’s in Texas.”

28 March 2002, Fort Wayne (IN) News Sentinel:
They have a joke that the only bad thing about Austin is it’s surrounded by Texas.

13 July 2004, Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel, “Love, life, cinema—a director’s trifecta” by Duane Dudek:
“We like to say, the only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.”
(Director Richard Linklater—ed.)

Austinist.com
The Real World: Austin (Episode: Return of the Angry Virgin)
(...)
Forrest tells the kids the band may be back for next year’s SXSW (if they aren’t already huge in Japan by that point) and that the “only bad thing about Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.” Good one, Forrest, you cad.
(...)
By matthewodam on October 12, 2005 2:37 PM

Salon Arts & Entertainment
“Slacker": 15 years later
Richard Linklater, the pap-smear girl, the JFK guy and others remember the little indie creation that could, and all that came after.

By Brian Raftery
July 5, 2006
(...)
Linklater: I like Austin more now. I think the mind-set’s still the same. The campus alone takes care of that: We’ve got 50,000 young people; a certain percentage of them are gonna be cool. As we say, the only thing wrong with Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.

LibraryThing
Message 6: Medellia
Jan 26, 2008, 8:14am
Thanks, Eurydice. You’re definitely right--Texas is a big place, and there are many diverse elements. DFW is not Houston is not Austin, etc. My husband and I were just not Southerners at heart, and… well, you know that saying about Austin: it’s a great place, except it’s surrounded by Texas.

Minnesota Mom
If Texas were to secede right now… November 4, 2008
Filed under: Bad Guy, Politics — minnesotamom @ 10:06 pm
(,,,)
COMMENTS
Charlie Says:
November 5, 2008 at 1:41 pm
Maybe Austin, TX. The “oasis” of Texas. I spoke with somebody who lived there and she said that the only bad thing about Austin is that it’s surrounded by Texas.

Austin (TX) CHronicle - Reader Comments
Basking in the anger. by 8goodyears
It’s still cold here in WI, but all this impotent Republican anger is like a warm day at the beach. Austin is a cool place, too bad it’s surrounded by Texas,(I know, old joke),but keep fighting the good fight. 02-14-2009

Facebook
James at 11:27am June 17 2009
Austin is great except for the fact it’s surrounded by Texas

The Daily Texan
Cyclists’ input left out of plan
Ben Wermund
Daily Texan Staff
Published: Monday, July 13, 2009
(...)
COMMENTS
Alonso A. de Araya
Mon Jul 13 2009 12:54
(...)
It is a common joke to say that Austin is a progressive city surrounded by Texas. I would say that UT is a backwards institution surrounded by Austin. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, July 28, 2009 • Permalink