In this funky corner of northeast Austin, at the 51st Street/Cameron Rd. exit off IH-35, is the Windsor Park neighborhood. Here you will find bungalow and ranch-style homes built in the 1950s (west of Berkman Dr.), and larger 1960s homes (east of Berkman), all built on large lots with native trees. Studded within the area are apartment homes and duplexes. With its proximity to central Austin, and the relative affordability of the east side, Windsor Park is primarily home to young families, first-time homebuyers, and older residents from the neighborhood’s inception.
Although east Austin is now a vital and desirable area, that wasn’t necessarily the case 20 or 30 years ago. So residents who bought their homes here in the 80s tend to be adventurous of spirit, and strong advocates for the neighborhood. Windsor Park’s most recent demographic shift happened in the late 1990s after the Mueller airport became inactive. Without the noisy planes, Windsor Park and other neighborhoods that bordered the airport underwent a huge growth spurt as new residents flocked to these previously overlooked areas.
Today, Windsor Park is filled with a diverse mix of people. Here you are likely to encounter artists, musicians, xeriscaped lawns, funky chicken coops, and yard art. Windsor Park is bordered to the south at E. 51st Street, to the north at Hwy. 290, to the west at IH-35, and to the east at Manor Rd. At E. 51st Street, the PromiseLand megachurch occupies a good chunk of real estate. And right across the street, the brand new Mueller neighborhood is taking shape as it develops on the site of the old Robert Mueller airport.
The E. 51st Street corridor is sprouting retail stores and restaurants constantly. Windsor Park residents are able to take advantage of Mueller’s new retail (including a new HEB green concept grocery store planned for 2013), the proximity to Dell Children’s hospital, and the trails and parks of Mueller without the price tag. To the west is the bustling activity of Cameron Rd. The UT shuttle and the #37 bus run this heavily traf?cked, fast-food dotted route. Cameron Road has benefitted from a recent re-striping, which has made it safer for bikes, cars, and pedestrians.
Sandwiched between Cameron Rd. and IH-35 is the Capital Plaza shopping center which is anchored with a Target and a Walgreens. The neighborhood is bordered to the north by Hwy. 290 which gives excellent access to IH-35 and all points east and west. To the east is Manor Rd and its easy access to the University of Texas. Running up the middle in a north-south direction is Berkman Dr., serviced by the #300 bus. On the southern tip of Berkman at E. 51st Street, you will ?nd Bartholemew District Park – a large municipal park with baseball ?elds, trails, basketball courts, splash pad, a pool (currently under construction), covered pavilions, and a popular disc golf course.
Bartholemew is undergoing a huge renovation and is scheduled to have a dog run, new trails, and a new swimming facility in the next couple of years. At the north end of Berkman are shopping centers, churches, and Supermercado El Rancho – a large hispanic grocer with an attached restaurant/takeout area. Notable neighborhood icons include watering hole and brunch spot, Nomad Bar (corner of Cameron and Corona); the trashy, much loved music venue, Carousel Lounge on E. 52nd Street; and the often praised Cuban Sandwich Cafe on Briarcliff, which has been featured on TV’s Cooking Channel. There’s Paco’s Tacos on E. 51st Street, Pollo El Regio at 290 and Berkman, S-H Donuts on Manor, and plenty of taco trucks. Goods and services include dental offices, medical offices (near Dell children’s), and the Joyce Willet School of Dance, which has been a favorite of neighborhood children of all ethnic and economic backgrounds for over 40 years. There is also a recently renovated public library.
Windsor Park elementary schools are Harris and Blanton, and students feed to Pearce Middle School, and Reagan High School.