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.

Recent entries:
“Paid my bills for the month. Anyone have any good recipes for water?” (12/6)
“Knock, knock.” / “Who’s there?” / “Diploma.” (12/6)
“Once I got a job, I realized mom was right. We do have food at home” (12/6)
“Once I started spending my own money, I realized mom was right. We do have food at home” (12/6)
Entry forthcoming (12/6)
More new entries...

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Entry from July 30, 2008
“Houston is Los Angeles with the climate of Calcutta” (Molly Ivins?)

Entry in progress—B.P.


Wikipedia: Houston, Texas
Houston (pronounced /ˈhjuːstən/) is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city within the state of Texas. As of the 2006 U.S. Census estimate, the city has a population of 2.2 million within an area of 600 square miles (1,600 km²). Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area—the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of around 5.6 million.

Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was incorporated on June 5, 1837 and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston—who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located.

Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters. Commercially, Houston is ranked as a gamma world city, and the area is a leading center for building oilfield equipment. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. The city has a multicultural population with a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits—attracting more than 7 million visitors a year to the Houston Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and is one of few U.S. cities that offer year-round resident companies in all major performing arts. 
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Climate
Houston’s climate is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa in Köppen climate classification system). Spring supercell thunderstorms sometimes bring tornadoes to the area. Prevailing winds are from the south and southwest during most of the year, bringing heat across the continent from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

During the summer months, it is common for the temperature to reach over 90 °F (32 °C), with an average of 99 days per year above 90 °F (32 °C). However, the humidity results in a heat index higher than the actual temperature. Summer mornings average over 90 percent relative humidity and approximately 60 percent in the afternoon. Winds are often light in the summer and offer little relief, except near the immediate coast. To cope with the heat, people use air conditioning in nearly every vehicle and building in the city; in fact, in 1980 Houston was described as the “most air-conditioned place on earth”. Scattered afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 109 °F (43 °C) on September 4, 2000.

Winters in Houston are fairly temperate. The average high in January, the coldest month, is 63 °F (17 °C), while the average low is 45 °F (7 °C). Snowfall is generally rare. The last snowstorm to hit Houston was on December 24, 2004. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 23, 1940. Houston receives a high amount of rainfall annually, averaging about 54 inches a year. These rains tend to cause floods over portions of the city.

Houston has excessive ozone levels and is ranked among the most ozone-polluted cities in the United States. Ground-level ozone, or smog, is Houston’s predominant air pollution problem, with the American Lung Association rating the metropolitan area’s ozone level as the 6th worst in the United States in 2006. The industries located along the ship channel are a major cause of the city’s air pollution.[

Wikipedia: Kolkata
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. When referred to as “Kolkata”, it usually includes the suburbs, and thus its population exceeds 15 million, making it India’s second-largest city and urban agglomeration.

Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed intense political violence, clashes and economic stagnation from the years starting 1954 and continuing till this day. However, since the year 2000, economic rejuvenation has led to a spurt in the city’s growth. Like the other metropolitan cities of India, Kolkata continues to struggle with urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.

Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist and trade union movements.
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Climate
Kolkata has a tropical wet-and-dry climate (Koppen climate classification Aw). The annual mean temperature is 26.8 °C (80.2 °F); monthly mean temperatures range from 19 °C (66.2 °F) to 30 °C (86.0 °F). Summers are hot and humid with temperatures in the low 30’s and during dry spells the maximum temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) during May and June. Winter tends to last for only about two and a half months, with seasonal lows dipping to 9 °C – 11 °C (54 °F – 57 °F) between December and January. The highest recorded temperature is 43.9 °C (111.0 °F) and the lowest is 5 °C (41.0 °F). On an average, May is the hottest month with daily temperatures ranging from a low of 27 °C (80.6 °F) to a maximum of 37 °C (98.6 °F),while January the coldest month has temperatures varying from a low of 12 °C (53.6 °F) to a maximum of 23 °C (73.4 °F). Often during early summer, dusty squalls followed by spells of thunderstorm or hailstorms and heavy rains with ice sleets lash the city, bringing relief from the humid heat. These thunderstorms are convective in nature, and is locally known as Kal baisakhi (Nor’westers).

Rains brought by the Bay of Bengal branch of South-West monsoon lash the city between June and September and supplies the city with most of its annual rainfall of 1,582 mm (62 in). The highest rainfall occurs during the monsoon in August—306 mm (12 in)). The city receives 2,528 hours of sunshine per annum, with the maximum sunlight occurring in March. Pollution is a major concern in Kolkata, and the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) level is high when compared to other major cities of India, leading to regular smog and haze. Severe air pollution in the city has caused rise in pollution-related respiratory ailments such as lung cancer.

Memory Archive
Snow in Houston, 1958, by Randy Summers
From MemoryArchive
Who: Everybody at Pershing Junior High School
What: Snow on Lincoln’s Birthday
When: 1958
Where: Houston, Texas
(...)
Let’s face it: Houston has a very hot and humid climate; except for these raw and freezing days, with a sky somewhere between white and gun-metal light gray, off and on, between New Years and Washington’s Birthday, Houston is hot and humid most of the time. The azaleas will come out in late February. There may be some real fair, merry-month-of-May days of spring around St. Patrick’s Day. But, by the real May, and sometimes all the way to October, it is hot and humid in Houston. Hot as in hot, and humid as in humid, as you haven’t felt before, unless you are someone who grew up within a thousand miles of the equator. To say Houston has the climate of Calcutta is not quite fair; on really bad days in Calcutta, you could say Calcutta has the climate of Houston.

Google Books
The Hospital
by Jan De Hartog
New York, NY: Atheneum
1964
Pg. 3:
Why Houston, of all places? Didn’t we know that it had the climate of Calcutta, and the highest murder rate in the US?

16 February 1964, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, TV Key Previews, pg. A11, col. 3:
TWENTIETH CENTURY.
“Deep in the Heart of Houston.” An enlightening report on the fastest growing city in America—one that Lloyds of London claims will some day be the largest in the world. The fact that it has the climate of Calcutta and logically shouldn’t exist at all, obviously doesn’t matter in Houston.

The university universe; As in Boulder, Madison, Cambridge, Ann ...
$3.95 - New York Times - Nov 10, 1974
Houston is solely for greed. It’s built on a malarial plain, has the climate of Calcutta and its air is full of insects and chemicals. Austin is sensual. ...

22 November 1992, Denver (CO) Post, “Pace yourself to enjoy long day of discovery at Texas space complex,” pg. 6T:
From June to mid-September, even locals joke that Houston has the climate of Calcutta; temperatures of 90 to 100 degrees are common.

7 December 1993, Charlotte (NC) Observer, “Cold War Still on at Our House” by Becky Moser, pg. 1:
In Houston, which has the climate of Calcutta, we usually put on a light sweater for Thanksgiving.

New York (NY) Times
Watch It, New York! Houston’s Desperate
By SAM HOWE VERHOVEK,
Published: June 8, 1994
(...)
Instead, though, Houston has been the butt of too many jokes, its clogged freeways, unending sprawl and torridly humid weather often lumped together in a biting dismissal of the place as “Los Angeles with the climate of Calcutta.” No mountains and no beach, either.

The Nation (November 17, 2003)
[Also: Google Books.]
Is Texas America? The fact is, the state that George W. Bush calls home is a damned peculiar place.
by Molly Ivins
(...)
Houston is Los Angeles with the climate of Calcutta, Dallas is Dutch (clean, orderly and conformist), while San Antonio is Monterrey North.

New York (NY) Times
Saying a Spirited ‘Nay’ to Houston’s Naysayers
By CHRISTOPHER SOLOMON
Published: December 12, 2004
FOR years, snarky dismissal - “A few days in Houston isn’t a getaway; it’s a sentence” - has pretty much been my response to any mention of the nation’s fourth-largest city. Never mind that I’d never seen the place save once, as a blur framed by a rental car’s windows as I headed elsewhere, fast.

But this fall, a curious newspaper article caught my attention. David Thompson and Randy Twaddle, partners in a Houston marketing firm called Ttweak, had started an unofficial campaign to boost their city’s image by laughing at the realities of this city on the swamp. The Web site tumbles through 20 of the things that make Houston, uh, memorable - “The cockroaches; the flooding; the no mountains.” - before finally arriving at the thumbs-up message: “Houston. It’s Worth It.”
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No. 496: “It’s an international city: the traffic of L.A. and the climate of Calcutta!”

Like most legends, tales of Houston’s congestion and humidity are false, somewhat. Average highs in off-summer months are in the 60’s and 70’s. Traffic wasn’t so horrific, either, so long as I didn’t violate a self-imposed no-drive buffer around rush hours. Still, walking is the way to meet a city, and in this, Houston thwarts the pedestrian. The place is simply too diffuse and too auto-oriented. It’s also not easy to find reasonably priced lodging that both has character and is in a place where a wanderer can ramble from the front door.

Alphabridge
Thursday, February 28, 2008
H is for Houston
Like L.A., with the climate of Calcutta - Molly Ivins

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, July 30, 2008 • Permalink