(It was Heathercrest then, called Sixth Street West now).
I lived there from January 1985 to June 1988. My apartment was small and cramped and there were roaches (this seems to be a theme in my early Austin residences). I sadly don’t have any antique photos, so all I have are these more or less recent shots from Google Streets.
Those big hills at either end of the parking lot were kind of cool. During ice storms—and especially during the big snow of January 1985—cars were wiping out all over the place! (That snow was magical—I went for a wonderful walk past all the stalled or wrecked cars down to the Deep Eddy).
The ravine—a problem. The people on the second floor of the unit next to me were too lazy to take their trash to the dumpster, so they just tossed bags of trash out their window. There were bags of trash dangling from tree branches and busted on the ground spewing all sorts of nasty shit and attracting rats and raccoons and various vermin.
One night I was leaving with a friend to go see the True Believers and just as we went out the door a bag of trash shot out the upstairs window and tumbled down through the branches to the ground.
“Why are they doing that?” DY asked.
“Assholes don’t need a reason,” I said. One of the few philosophical truisms I’ve ever uttered.
I complained about the trash to the apartment manager, who said the trash was on UT property, so the trash was UT’s problem. I called UT, and whoever I talked to told me that the trash was coming from Heathercrest, so it was Heathercrest’s problem.
The trash tossers eventually moved out and were replaced by a couple of nice young women, Zoe and Caroline (?? I think). One time we were up all night being bad and I was complaining about the trash, and Zoe said—“Let’s go pick it up!” And so we went out at about 430 in the morning and filled five or six bags of trash and took it to the dumpster.
Good citizens, we.
Heathercrest was crime-ridden.
Every now and then the Statesman would run a crime statistics story, and Heathercrest was always this red dot of violence in the middle of a safe part of town.
Domino’s stopped delivering pizzas there because the drivers got robbed so often!
And I got robbed one night. One evening I came back from the laundry room and literally bumped into some asshole who was leaving the apartment with my jambox.
“Hey!” I said.
“Fuck you,” the burglar said. He took off running.
I didn’t catch him. I called the cops. They came and looked around my apartment. “Wow,” one cop said. “They ransacked the place!”
“No,” I said. “It’s pretty much always like this.”
More crime, and worse: I got jumped and sucker-punched by some thug in the parking lot. Again—coming back from that fucking laundry room. Just some drunk thug. Damn. That hurt—cracked my jaw. I stumbled back to my apartment and got my deer rifle and sat pointing it at the door, but the thug never came after me. I never saw him again—not that I got a good look at him before he drilled me.
That was at the end of April 1988. I moved out in June. Good riddance.
Heathercrest Pros: Interesting traffic during snowstorms.
Hearthercrest Cons: Thugs, trash, robbers, roaches, no pizza delivery.
Verdict: Stay away.
You might be interested in my novel of Austin, That Demon Life....a novel of lust and laziness....
“That Demon Life has got Austin in its sway, or at least this novel's motley crew of characters. A horny judge, a defense attorney with an attitude, an entourage of petty criminals, a dating service maven, a self made internet porn star and a boy toy or two—they're all slouching toward Sixth Street and beyond. This is a fast-paced, hold-on-to-your-bar stool satire, a hilarious, stumbling romp through law and disorder, urban ennui and its after-hour antidotes, Texas-sized lust and doom.”
—Alison Moore, author of The Middle of Elsewhere and Synonym for Love.
Read That Demon Life now!