Friday/ Climate Pledge Arena opens

The new home of the Seattle Kraken (ice hockey team) opened today, officially. There was a concert tonight: the first live performance of Coldplay’s brand-new album, Music Of The Spheres. This was the band’s first arena show in nearly five years.

The crews now have 12 hours to turn the arena into an ice hockey rink for the first home game of the Seattle Kraken (against the Vancouver Canucks).

The new Climate Pledge Arena with the intact roof and windows of the old Key Area (architect Paul Thiry; built for the 1962 World Fair). Private equity groups invested some $1.15 billion in the facility’s make-over. The arena will use on-site solar panels and off-site renewable energy power to be powered 100% by renewable energy.
[Picture Credit: Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times]
Workers dug an extra 15 feet downward to form a new arena floor some 53 feet below street level. In addition, the steeper seating grade now makes for double the seating capacity that the Key Arena had.
[Picture Credit: Oak View Group]
The ice rink will not have the traditional center-ice scoreboard, but dual scoreboards, one on each end, and high enough not to interfere with the sight line of the spectators.
[Picture Credit: Daniel Kim/ Seattle Times]

Wow. This wish-I-was-there picture of tonight’s Coldplay ‘Music Of The Spheres’ concert, tweeted by Ross Fletcher@RossFletcher1 on Twitter.

These are stills from the live-stream. The ‘spheres’/ planets and the lighting looked great.
[Source: Amazon Prime Video livestream]
Coldplay front man, vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and pianist Chris Martin (44 yo). Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1996.
[Source: Amazon Prime Video livestream]
South Korean boy band BTS (make that SUPER-boy band), also known as the Bangtan Boys, also beamed into the concert.
[Source: Amazon Prime Video livestream]

Wednesday/ sights along Minor Ave & Broadway

I had my biannual eye check-up at the ophthalmologist today.
I walked there along Minor Avenue from the No 12 bus stop on Madison Street, and back along Broadway.

This is the Southwest Tower of Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus. It opened in 1976 and was designed by architecture firm NBBJ. It may be an example of form of Brutalist architecture (my opinion; I could not verify it explicitly)— with its exposed poured concrete and its straightforward structure. The Brutalist movement started in the 1950s; has had severe critics, and was largely over by the late 1970s and early 1980s [Wikipedia].
Looking west from Minor Avenue, towards 707 Terry Avenue: two, 33-story towers with 440 apartment units above a 3-story podium. That skybridge should provide bird’s-eye views of the city and the Sound.
A nice turquois (teal?) Ford F-150 truck. Surely it’s a custom paint job. I cannot imagine Ford selling them in this color. ‘I brake for farm stands’ says the sticker in the window.
On Broadway, near Madison Street: the Museum of Museums is a contemporary art center (opened in 2019), created and managed by curator, artist, and entrepreneur Greg Lundgren. This is a three-story mid-century medical building, also designed by NBBJ, on the Swedish Medical Center campus.
The neon artwork is by Dylan Neuwirth and is called ‘All My Friends’.

Wednesday/ U District to Capitol Hill in 6 mins

It was nice to have the U District train (instead of the No 48 bus) to take home today after my visit at the doctor’s office.

The 22-story UW Tower (completed 1975) is a nice beacon to use, to navigate to the new U District train station on Brooklyn Ave (teal canopy to its left, on the street). The UW Tower house the head offices of the University of Washington.
Here’s the station’s entrance. I would call the color of the lining of the glass canopy turquoise, but it’s officially teal. (Between teal and turquoise, teal is the darker one).
Inside the station at the platform level, looking at the Fragment Brooklyn art installation. The woman in the window is doing embroidering.
Here comes the south-bound train. This train has the older train cars from Kinki Sharyo Co., Ltd. (also known as Kinkisharyo, one word), based in Osaka, Japan. It’s a 6 minute ride from here to Capitol Hill station. I think the No 48 bus to Capitol Hill takes 3 times this time (it has many more stops than the train, to be fair).
Outside the Capitol Hill station two stops down from U District, I can catch either the No 8 or the No 10 bus to take me the 8 blocks up the hill close to where I live. This electronic board with the next arrivals that are due is new, and a nice addition to this bus stop.

Friday/ got my bookstore fix

It was lovely outside today (76°F /24°C), and I walked down to the Twice Sold Tales bookstore on Harvard Avenue.
I browsed around in the store but did not buy anything this time. (It’s just fun to look at all the books, so mission still accomplished).

Sunflowers (Helianthus, from helios, Greek for sun) is a genus comprising about 70 species of annual and perennial flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Before blooming, sunflower plants tilt during the day to face the sun in order to gain more sunlight for photosynthesis, a response called heliotropism. Sunflowers are thought to have been domesticated 3,000–5,000 years ago by Native Americans who would use them primarily as a source for edible seeds. [From Wikipedia]
The plywood boarding is still in place at Twice Sold Tales, a little curiously. Maybe the owner likes the artwork with the cats on. (The cats inside are still there, as well). I like the T-Rex sign, myself. The sign on the door says that the store is not buying books right now. Seattle fire marshal ordered the store to stop piling up so many books inside. (It makes it harder for fire fighters to navigate the inside, and for customers to get out).
The little plaza by the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station is in good shape: no graffiti and no trash lying around.
This 20-foot tall public art sculpture of silent speakers in the shape of an X (or a positive sign on its side) is part of the artwork commissioned for the AIDS Memorial Pathway (AMP) project, a tribute to the missing narratives of women and Black people lost to the AIDS crisis. It is called ‘andimgonnamisseverybody’.
The artist is Christopher Paul Jordan (b. 1990), and he used bronze, aluminum and stainless steel.

Sunday/ Denny Triangle walkabout

There was a break in the rain today, and I walked around the Denny Triangle (in downtown Seattle) to check on the construction projects there.

Broadway in New York City reopened this past week, and the Paramount Theater here in Seattle is, as well. ‘City and Colour’ is the alias under which the Canadian musician, singer, songwriter and record producer Dallas Green (40 yrs old), records under.
The $1.2-billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center has been three years in the making, and will be completed in summer 2022. Interstate 5 is just on the other side. The 10th-floor ballroom will provide views of Puget Sound.
The Cornish College of the Arts building on Boren Ave (constructed 1915, traditional Norwegian Style, architect Sonke Englehart Sonnichsen), holding its own between the Seattle Children’s Research Institute: Building Cure at the back and The Ayer on the right, a new 45-story luxury apartment tower.
The two apartment towers of 1120 Denny Way are complete, two stacks of white floors going up 41 stories. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for the appearance of the black & copper structure in the middle – and not quite succeeding.
A brand new Porsche 718 Cayman T* on Denny Way, waiting at the red light. (*I say it is a Cayman T because the double tailpipe & wheels match the picture of one on Porsche’s website). Even though the Cayman is sometimes called ‘the poor man’s Porsche’, this model starts at $70k. What a beautiful car, but it burns fossil fuels. Come on Porsche— make haste, and make it electric.
Now I’m in the Cascade district north of the Denny Triangle. This is the skeleton of the old Seattle Times building where the newspapers used to be printed. Two office blocks, 16 stories, and 18 stories tall, will be built here. The three apartment towers at the back with the curvy sides are all on Denny Way.
Looking west from Thomas Street and Boren Avenue North, and using my telephoto lens. Look for the golden elevator cage going up to the observation deck, in the middle of the Space Needle.
The Gold Bar on 9th Avenue serves up cocktails and small plates & tacos. Kudos to them, for opening up their pandemic street space as soon as the rain had stopped. (That’s an active bike & e-scooter lane running along the pavement: something that patrons and the servers have to keep an eye on).
There’s the sun, peering through the leaves in Denny Park alongside Denny Way.
I took this picture (on the pavement by Denny Park) to remind me to look up/ determine how long the lever would have to be, to move Earth, in this famous statement from Archimedes.
A discussion on provides the answer. The principle of a lever in balance is that on the one side, distance times weight, is equal to distance times weight on the other side: d1.W1 = d2.W2. Earth weighs 6×10^24 kg. Let’s make the load arm length (opposite of Archimedes’s side) 1 m long, and assume he can push down with the force needed for 60 kg of weight. Say that gravity where he stands, is equal to that of Earth’s, and that Earth’s weight is concentrated where it meets the load point on the lever. Then the lever’s force arm length (on Archimedes’s side) would have to be 10^23 m. That is a distance of some 10 million light years. (About 4 times the distance between our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest one to us).
If Archimedes pushed down on this intergalactical, perfectly rigid lever for 3 or 4 feet, Earth on the other end (10 million light years + 1 m away), would move by the diameter of an electron.
Snapping a picture while crossing Westlake Avenue near Denny Way, and looking south towards downtown ..
.. and the McKenzie luxury apartment tower nearby is a cylinder of blue, gray and white tiles.

Monday/ the No 10 bus to downtown

I took the No 10 bus to downtown to go to the dentist this morning.
Here are a few pictures.

Looking south on 15th Avenue. Coastal Kitchen restaurant is open but only Wednesday through Sunday. (The combination rainbow-transgender flag needs a little straightening out, but that’s OK). The former QFC grocery store building on the far left has been deserted & boarded up for a few months now. There is a non-scalable fence around the parking lot. The guy on the electric scooter is using the street (not the sidewalk: good), and wearing a helmet, also good. There are three e-scooter operators in the city: LINK, Wheels, and Lime.
There are new signs at Westlake Center, for locals and tourists alike. The 1929 Macy’s building was sold in April for $580 million. The new owners plan to renovate the 85,000 sq ft-ground floor, mezzanine and second floor to accommodate new retail stores. Amazon is leasing the upper floors, but I doubt there are any workers in there. Amazon pushed back a return to the office for its workers to 2022.
I love the Pacific Northwest artwork at the Arc’teryx outdoor equipment & clothing store by Westlake plaza. The moon is my favorite. (I could not find the name of the artist).
On the left would be Mount Rainier, and that has to be an orca fin in Puget Sound, on the right.
And finally some salmon. That’s a sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) on the left, also called red salmon. Salmon are anadromous fish: spending most of their adult lives at sea, but return to fresh water to spawn. Catadromous fish (example: the North American eel) spend most of their lives in fresh water, then migrate to the sea to breed.
Lastly, I had to go check out the completed $600 million Rainier Square Tower with its sweeping step-up side on 5th Avenue. Floors 39 to 58 at the top are ‘residences’ (apartments). The 1 bed -1.5 bath 896 sqft units start at some $4,400/ month. I’m sure a 2 bed 2 bath would be about double that. (Eek).
Right across the street from Rainier Square Tower are the straight lines of this 1996 building that used to be a Red Lion hotel. I sat in its ball room in 2011, listening to my firm’s partners drone on about the value that a good brand brings to a firm (bottom line: you can charge more for your product or service than your competitors can). Then later that year in 2011, the Red Lion was sold. It was sold again in 2014, and a makeover made it into ‘Motif Seattle‘, now owned by Hyatt. Google Maps says there is a Tesla destination charger in its parking garage down below. (Destination chargers are installed by businesses and land owners for public use, but have a slower charging speed than superchargers).

Friday/ a walk along Pine Street

Four weeks had gone by, and this morning it was again time for my little rental car to go back to Hertz, on 8th Avenue in downtown Seattle.
The pictures are from my walk back, along Pine Street, and up to Capitol Hill.

The construction of the Washington State Convention Center expansion can probably pick up its pace, now that the weather is better. Hopefully most of the workers have been vaccinated. The Paramount Theater bill board says ‘May you rest in power -George Floyd- May 25th 2020’.
Today in ‘Model 3 spotting’: a matt black one. The matt black is not paint, but an after-market film wrapped onto the car (cost: about $5,000). This car has chrome trim on the door handles & windows. (Looks like the owner put some black on the door handles). The 2021 Model 3’s have ‘chrome delete’ trim (black trim, no chrome).
The stainless steel cladding on the convention center extension’s east side is coming along. Hopefully, its shine will not be tarnished by the Pacific Northwest weather.
There is new artwork on the Sugar Hill bar’s wall on East Pine Street: a Black Lives Matter organizer’s check list, of sorts. (Cute little doggie at the corner of the building).
The Porter apartment building at 1630 Boylston Avenue was built in 1917. Its style is called ‘Vernacular’: architecture characterized by the use of local materials & knowledge, usually without the supervision of architects (source: Wikipedia). The brick building has an open center bay and terra cotta lintels on the main windows.
The oak trees by Seattle Central College on Broadway have their new leaves. On the left, across the street, is 1812 Broadway, a new 7-story, 133-unit apartment building.
A streetcar on the First Hill line, at the end-of-the-line stop called Broadway & Denny. These are Czech-made, model name Inekon121-Trio. This car has a battery, for ‘off-wire’ operation (a section of the First Hill line has no overhead electrical cables). 

Sunday/ halfway there

I went down to Denny Way and Stewart St to check up on the construction there, this afternoon.
I counted 22 floor slabs for the two apartment towers at 1200 Stewart St. That is just about half of the 45 storeys they will each have at their completion.

The two apartment towers at 1200 Stewart Street sit on a three-story podium. Red Tesla Model 3 on the street below. Nice car :). The tower on the right is 2014 Fairview Avenue, another apartment tower.
Here’s a closer look at the 2014 Fairview Avenue building with the Denny Substation behind me. It will have 42 storeys, and by my count this is it. Its construction has topped out.
Here’s a view after I had walked up along the Denny Way overpass over Interstate 5, from the elevation provided by Bellevue Avenue. It’s amazing that those two towers on the left will still get built up with another 20 floors. Added together, these new buildings will add 3,000 new apartments along Denny Way.

Monday/ around South Lake Union

Here are pictures from Sunday, from my walk around South Lake Union.

Out of the big hole that there once had been, a big building is rising. I was snapping the Washington State Convention Center’s expansion, seen here from the corner of Howell St and 9th Ave, when this Tesla Model 3 drove into my picture.
Walking by Spruce Street School‘s brick building on Virgina Avenue, on the way to South Lake Union. The private school educates kids from kindergarten, through fifth grade ($28,650 per year per student).
Here’s the Cornish College of the Arts (brown building), getting squeezed by new 44-storey glass-and-steel apartment towers on two sides, but still holding its own. The building was designed by architect Sonke Englehart Sonnichsen in the traditional Norwegian style. Constructed in 1915, it was used for Seattle’s Norwegian cultural and fraternal organizations until 1948. It hosted the City Beat disco club from 1974, which became Boren Street Disco. In the late 80’s it became the home of The Timberline: a country western & mainly gay dance club, renowned for its 25c beers, free peanuts (with shells thrown on the floor), Wednesday lube wrestling tournaments, country line dancing, and its Sunday Tea Dance. Sadly, the Timberline closed in 2003. (Information from
A sign at the corner of Denny Way and Fairview Avenue. There is construction all around, and it will go on for at least two more years.
Here is the 2014 Fairview Avenue apartment tower, a 42-story structure with its languid ‘S’ corner line, offering 437 apartment units and retail space at ground level. It’s a far cry from the little Denny Square strip mall and dry-cleaning joint that had been demolished to make room for it.
I spliced together two pictures to catch all of the S E A T T L E   T I M E S lettering. This used to be a 3-story building, occupied by the Seattle Times newspaper from 1931 to 2011. All that remains is the façade. Two office towers (16-story and 18-story) are to be constructed here, but the work has not yet started in earnest.
A cluster of parking instructions. You have to pay, and the assumption is that you have a smartphone to do it with. There are no parking meters! Better to just catch public transport, or your Uber or Lyft ride right here.
Here’s another brick building with a long history. Now called Amazon Van Vorst (it’s at 426 Terry Ave N), it was built in 1909 for the Club Stables, and had room for 250 horses. The building was then a furniture outlet, a transfer & storage facility, and from 1941-74, it housed the C. B. Van Vorst mattress factory. Then it sat empty for two decades, before it was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. (Information from HistoryLink).
Here’s the minimalist lobby of the Moxy Seattle Downtown budget hotel. ‘Nice to See You’ says the floormat, and ‘There is Nowhere to Go but Everywhere’, proclaims the artwork on the wall. (Well. Maybe in 2023, but not just yet).
All right. Finally I arrive at my intended destination, the new-ish building called Google Valley, the tech giant’s new Seattle offices, on the shore of Lake Union.
The view from Terry Avenue. Look for a reflection of the Space Needle in one of the window panes, and for a white image of The Bugdroid, also called Andy, the mascot of the Google Android smartphone operating system.
The entire lobby wall of the Helm apartment complex in the same building is decked out with traffic mirrors.
And another one, put to real use to see oncoming traffic on Mercer Ave, at a construction site. (And put to use by me for a selfie picture).
Making my way back now to where I parked my car, and walking by the Tesla dealership on Westlake Avenue. This all-black Model Y is getting a trickle charge from a regular 110 V wall outlet. It’s only getting 3 or 4 miles per hour added to its battery, but that’s OK. It might be all it needs for the test drives it is used for by potential buyers.
Once upon a time some 15 years ago, I had Firestone tires put on my Toyota Camry in this old Firestone Auto Supply and Service Building from 1929. The 2-story building’s outer walls, with their distinctive Art Deco style, are kept, but not much else. A 15-story office building will be constructed on the inside.
Here’s the courtyard between the Amazon Houdini North and Houdini South buildings. There’s an Amazon Go store tucked into the corner (the store where you check in with your Amazon app, walk around and put what you want in your basket, and walk out the door. You still pay 🙂 – the store knows what you had taken.
Looking up, in the courtyard.
The Houdini buildings are located on the site of the 1929 Troy Laundry Building. The brick façade of the old building is still there, showcasing a few items in the entrance lobby off Fairview Ave North.
A peek into a ground floor meeting room from the lobby. I guess those chairs around the table are waiting patiently for squabbling, animated humans to come back. A Zoom meeting is a poor substitute for a rowdy in-the-flesh conference room meeting, no?
Nice turquoise colors on the outdoor seating area for El Grito Taqueria. Hopefully the restaurants and eateries can hang on for just a little longer.
And here are the two apartment towers at 1120 Denny Way (41 stories each) that are now nearing completion. It is the city’s largest-ever apartment building, with a total of 1,179 apartments.

Saturday/ another rental car

I found a great deal on a rental car for four weeks, and went down to Hertz on 8th Ave to go pick it up.  I hope to get my new car early in June. These pictures are from my walk down to Hertz on Friday.

NOT my rental car! .. an all-black Tesla Model 3 parked on the street. Looks like a 2020 model, with the chrome door handles and trim. The 2021 model has ‘chrome delete’ trim (black door handles, black trim). This car has no front license plate, possibly because the owner feels it would spoil the car’s sleek look. Washington State law DOES REQUIRE a front plate, so the driver risks getting ticketed.
The beautiful orange daisies are out, catching the little bit of rain that fell on the last day of April. This April turned out to be one of the driest ones on record:  only 1.03 in (26 mm) whereas the average is 2.7 in (68 mm).
Here comes the powder blue Seattle street car, plying the tracks along Broadway.
Lots of green frames in the Pine Building at 400 East Pine. It was built in 1914 and renovated in 1985.
The rain washed away the dirt on the crosswalk on  the corner of Melrose & Pine St. The new construction on the right, at 1208 Pine St, is an 8-story, 71-unit apartment building with office and retail.
Construction continues on the Washington State Convention Center expansion. The Seattle Tattoo Emporium is conveniently nearby, so attendees can swing by for a mountain lion tattoo, or any other that they might want!

Monday/ walking up along Pine Street

I took my rental car back this morning. The plan is to go carless for a week or so, and then get another one. There is still a good number of weeks to go before I get my new car.

It was a pleasant day, and I could walk up, up along Pine Street to get to the other side of Interstate 5, and to Capitol Hill where my house is.
It’s about 30 mins of walking with no stopping, but I took my time, and took some pictures as I went.

This is the Hertz rental car center on the 6th floor of a garage on 8th Ave in downtown. There’s the counter in the distance where I had dropped my car’s keys. These are basically all the cars they have; the five floors below are eerily empty. (Hard to know if all the floors had been filled with cars pre-pandemic, though). There’s definitely a shortage of rental cars right now, with people starting to travel again. In places like Hawaii, the fee for a small sedan is $195/ day. That is crazy, and 4 times or 5 times the ‘normal’ rate.
I like the signage in the elevator lobby. I was tempted to stop at every floor to see what 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 looked like, and what colors, then thought, no! just go all the way down.
The upscale Grand Hyatt hotel on Pine Street is still closed. Many years ago, I had cocktails with friends in the lobby bar. One of them was from Houston, and he could not stop talking about his Continental Airlines frequent flyer miles. (Continental Airlines is no more. It merged with United Airlines in 2010).
Corner of Pine St & 9th Ave, looking northeast. Dough Zone dumpling house Chinese restaurant on the right, Washington State Convention Center expansion construction zone on the left. That’s the No 10 bus from Capitol Hill, coming into downtown.
The Paramount Theater is still shuttered as well, of course. 
‘Justice for Daunte Wright’ says the sign, the 20-yr-old African-American man that was fatally shot on Apr. 11 by police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop & attempted arrest for an outstanding arrest warrant, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
The US Treasury Department was “taking steps to resume efforts” to put the abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill (left of the picture), but nothing new has been announced of late.
Ticket booths at the main entrance of the Paramount Theater. The theater has 2,807 seats for the performing arts, and opened in March 1928 as the Seattle Theatre.
Looking back at the Washington State Convention Center expansion, from the Pine Street overpass over Interstate 5. Maybe there is a little money left in the budget to also fix up that rusty lamp post on the far right.
The Baltic Room nightclub & bar with its art deco ironwork is still boarded up, but not permanently closed, as far as I can tell.
This space at 300 East Pine St houses attorney’s offices now, but some 15 years ago it was called The Chapel, a fancy wine & cocktail bar, filled with beautiful people on a Friday night, and a place for which one would dress up a little (in a city that had made grunge bands and grunge wear famous).
The artwork on the alley side of the Sugar Hill eatery & bar at 400 East Pine has been there for a while, but is holding up. Sugar Hill bills itself as a ‘loungey, vinyl-fueled eatery/ bar for craft cocktails, Thai street food & late-night DJs’.
I had left Pine St, and made my way to the new apartment buildings on Broadway by the Capitol Hill light rail station. This is the brand new plaza on the inside. I love the pastel colors of the art installation, with the brighter yellow & orange in there as well. I really hope it stays like this for a while: clean and graffiti-free.

Friday/ the Ellenbert apartments

The Ellenbert Apartments building at 915 East Harrison St on Capitol Hill. It was built in 1928 in the the Jacobethan style, during the neighborhood’s pre-Depression apartment building boom.
Architect Max A. Van House (1877-1966).

I have walked by the Ellenbert Apartments many times, on the way to Broadway market’s grocery store, and finally looked up its history today.

The architect is Max A. Van House, a Minnesota native (born in Moscow, MN). He spent time on Vashon Island as a youth, and picked up on-the-job experience by working for a variety of architectural firms, including a stint at one in Tacoma.

Invitation in the Seattle Times of Sept. 23, 1928 for viewing of the new Ellenbert apartments. Frigidaire refrigerators, hardwood floors, central heating by Ray fuel oil burner, Muralvox radio in every room. One block from the street car line. Downtown is 10 mins away. Sounds good to me!

Tuesday/ a Hermanus house, then and now

I knew the house in this picture from long ago was in Hermanus, South Africa .. but what would it look like today? I wondered.
I did not have the address, but that outline of the mountain in the background was all I needed to track it down. Here is what I found.

1964. That’s my brother and me (on the right), on the lawn of a rented beach house in Hermanus (a 90 min. drive from Cape Town, to the east).
And what magnificent machine would that be in the garage? It’s my dad’s 1959 Ford Fairlane (it had a V8 engine). The name is derived from Henry Ford’s estate, Fair Lane, near Dearborn, Michigan.

2021. So, some 57 years later. New roof & new paint on the house (of course), The brick chimney is still there. The hydrangea, ivy and big tree are all gone, but at least there is another tree or two. [Google Street View, Sept. 2010].
And here’s a Google Earth view of the area, looking northwest. I added some annotation. The house was just about three blocks from the beach. The ocean water is frigid, though. The shores here catch some of the cold Benguela Current from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The main road that runs through Hermanus is Route 43 (R43). On the right of the picture is a vlei (a shallow, minor lake, mostly of a seasonal or intermittent nature) that is now part of a nature reserve. [Picture generated with Google Earth].

Monday/ ten-oh-five East Roy

Here’s the apartment building called 1005 East Roy, here on Capitol Hill.
It was designed by Fred Anhalt (1896-1996), officially a developer and never an ‘architect’. Anhalt moved to Seattle from the Midwest in the early 1920s.
This apartment building was completed in 1930 (one of about 40 by him), and the first one in Seattle to feature an underground parking garage.

One of the ground floor residents has two Sphynx cats (the hairless ones). They sit in the window and check you out as you walk by.

1005 East Roy has 25 unique apartments. lists an open one at $2,995 p.m. for 2 beds, 1 bath, 1,195 sq ft (yes, that’s expensive, on a par with similar-sized brand new apartments in the city).
A view of the building from 10th Avenue. Anhalt’s buildings have been referred to as ‘Castles in Seattle’. They incorporate Tudor and Norman elements, such as turrets, stained-glass windows, and spiral staircases.

Sunday/ coming through! .. the whole house

There was a spectacle at 807 Franklin Street in San Francisco this morning: an entire house that was moved to its new location 6 blocks away. (The basement of the house was left behind).

The move cost a whopping $400k ($200k for multiple city agency fees to facilitate the move, and $200k for the move itself).  The house was built in 1882 in the Victorian style, reportedly with wooden beams from 800-year old trees. (Sounds like California redwood. Sadly, only 5% of the original California redwood forests remain today— protected, of course).

Anyway, I checked its Franklin Street valuation on Redfin: in the order of $5 million. One wonders how much the valuation will change with the slight change in the location of the house. Probably not much. Where the house was, an eight-story 48-unit apartment building will rise.

Workers pass a Victorian home as a truck pulls it through San Francisco on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. The house, built in 1882, was moved to a new location about six blocks away to make room for a condominium development. According to the consultant overseeing the project, the move cost approximately $200,000 and involved removing street lights, parking meters, and utility lines. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Wednesday/ scenes from downtown

It was back to the dentist for me this morning, to have him replace a filling in one of my teeth (n.o.t. fun).
It’s still very quiet downtown, and I just parked on the street close the Amazon biospheres — only $1 for two hours.

The cute Hotel 5 on 5th Avenue used to be an office building.
The biospheres seen from 6th Avenue. I’m sure the greenery inside are flourishing in its controlled climate. On the very left edge of the picture is the Amazon Day 1 building, and on the left is the new Amazon re: Invent office tower. In the distance behind the spheres is the Cirrus apartment tower.
I like the giant artwork displayed in the public walkway inside the Day 1 building. I did not get the name of the artist.
Looking northwest along 6th Avenue, towards the Space Needle in the distance.
This is the corner of 7th Ave & Bell St. A little bit of the new Amazon Nitro North building is visible towards the top right. Good to have that LOOK left and right sign for the new bicycle lane. (Look everywhere, for that matter. That cyclist straight ahead was heading towards me).
The new 24-storey Amazon tower called Nitro North. The walkway at the bottom right goes to Nitro South (8 storeys). Hey, should have named them Nitro and Glycerin instead, joked someone on a discussion forum.

Tuesday/ Denny Way construction update

It was dry and warm enough (49 °F/ 9°C) this afternoon, for a nice walk down to Denny Way, to take my customary pictures from the Interstate 5 overpass.

Looking west along the Denny Way overpass. The 1200 Stewart St apartment tower in front, just left of Denny Way, still has some 30 floors to go (of the 45). Behind it, the 2014 Fairview Ave apartment tower seems to be complete (42 floors). The twin towers (on the right) of the 1120 Denny Way apartments have topped out, and are just about complete on the outside. (Will these apartment towers be filled with work-from-home renters, that never go to a corporate office?) The blue & white bus is the Community Transit bus from Snohomish county to the north, and the red & yellow one is a Rapid Ride bus from King County.
Now I’m walking up, east, along Denny Way. There’s the Space Needle between the two apartment towers of 1120 Denny Way. The No 8 bus is approaching, just barely visible in the distance. Normally I would hop on, but not today — and not for a while. No public transport for me, for now.
Approaching the Denny Way & Olive Way intersection. No 8 bus turning onto Denny Way. A little snow on the sidewalk, still. The blue sky is a welcome sight.
Here’s the Broadway & John St intersection with the new apartments at the Capitol Hill light rail station. Hey, I see ‘Oranje Blanje Blou’ I thought: Orange, white and blue, the colors of the old South African flag (in use from 1928 to 1994).
Here is the No 10 bus on Olive Way. Starbucks is open, but sadly quiet. It would normally be packed with people just camping out there for the day, until it closed at midnight. Behind Starbucks is the 1924 Biltmore apartments.

Tuesday/ cold – but not Chicago’s cold

It’s 37 °F (3 °C) here in Seattle, and only 10 °F (-12 °C) in Chicago.
I mention Chicago, because I’ve been using Google Earth & Google Maps all day to annotate a Chicago picture — one that I had taken in 1990 from the observatory of the John Hancock Center.

Just for fun, I also created a simulated ‘2021’ view with Google Earth, from more or less the same spot and elevation. The forest of skyscrapers is now a lot denser.

The year is 1990, and the NBC Tower (center left in the picture) and the Swissotel (to its left) are both brand new. I had no idea that I would actually work in the Wrigley Building (center right in the picture), in 2006, some eleven years after my 1995 arrival in the United States. The Aon Center in the middle of the picture obscures the famous Hilton Chicago hotel (opened 1927, refurbished in 1985).
Now in 2021, 31 years hence, many more condominium towers have been added. (That neighborhood on the left bordered by Michigan Avenue, the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Millennium Park is the New Eastside). The St. Regis Chicago hotel on the far left has 101 floors. The most ignominious tower of them all, would be the Trump International Hotel & Tower, completed in 2009. (The second impeachment trial of its disgraced namesake started in the US Senate today).
The Wrigley Building was Chicago’s tallest structure, and first building with air-conditioning, at its completion in 1922. I took this picture from the 16th-story patio in June 2006, looking south along South Michigan Avenue. The building with the green pyramid top is the Metropolitan Tower (1924). The black high-rise structure closer on the right, is the Carbide & Carbon Building (1929), in classic Art Deco style.

Monday/ around Westlake Avenue

I went to the dentist this morning. At 7.30 am on a Monday morning, there was virtually no traffic on the way in. That explains why local TV stations are still not bothering with providing traffic updates like they used to.

After my appointment, I walked around Westlake Avenue, to take a few pictures of the deserted street blocks and offices and store fronts.

The two-story Streamline Moderne-styled building of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is at Ninth Ave. & Lenora St. It was previously a Dodge dealership, the anchor of Westlake Avenue’s long-departed auto row. Streamline Moderne is an international style of Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s.
Westlake Ave. & Seventh Ave. Here comes the South Lake Union Streetcar. It’s empty. ‘Experience the virtual world of Minecraft like never before‘, says the lettering on the side. Hey, that’s OK. I’ll pass. Wild enough to experience the pandemic world of Covid-19, like never before.
I like the inside-outside seating area that had been set up across from the Amazon biospheres. There is an impressive extraction fan system in the green enclosure, for sucking out wayward SARS-CoV-2 virus that may be suspended in the air.
This brown office building on Eighth Ave. off Westlake Ave. is now called Amazon The Summit. The lights are on in a few offices in the middle, but the rest is dark.
This self-reflecting tower next door to The Summit is called Amazon re:Invent (520 ft tall, 37 floors, completed 2019). That’s the Cirrus Apartment building reflected in the bottom of the picture (440 ft tall, 41 floors, completed 2015).
Another view of the Cirrus apartment building on the left, and the Amazon re: Invent on the right.
Here’s Urban Triangle Park, with one of several 6-ft high aluminum Holding Hope signs, a new art installation now on display in several locations throughout downtown Seattle.
I was supposed to take a selfie there, and post a picture with the tag #HoldingHopeSeattle on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I guess my blog does not count. For every post, the Downtown Seattle Association will make a $10 donation to the Pike Place Market Foundation.

Sunday/ a mini-architecture tour

There was a welcome break in the rain today, so I went down to Second Avenue to check out the completed Qualtrics Tower.
My visit turned into a mini-architecture tour, once I started walking.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is gone, and its Seneca Street off-ramp as well. So now one can see all of the $392 million Qualtrics Tower from this below-Seneca Street vantage point. The Tower was designed by Connecticut-based architecture firm Pickard Chilton. The podium facing First Ave. is 19 stories tall with a landscaped rooftop deck. The main tower behind it rises 38 stories above street level, with its own rooftop terrace and amenities.
The red brick building is the early 1900’s Diller Hotel. It is one of downtown’s few remaining buildings from the 1890s, built after the Great Fire of 1889 as a luxury hotel. Today, the lobby of the erstwhile hotel is a bar with vintage decor, called the Diller Room.
The public passageway and street level space is made larger by V-shaped columns that support the upper floors. The columns also provide 85 ft (26 m) of space up to the overhang. The columns were manufactured in Canada: steel tubes in a rebar cage, all encased in precast concrete.
The 11-story Federal Office Building of Seattle on First Ave. opened in 1932. Its Art Deco detail is being restored. There is a banner on the side of the building, from none other than the now-infamous U.S. General Services Administration*.  It says ‘Preserving Seattle’s first federal office building for future generations’.
*It was the GSA that dragged its feet to acknowledge Biden as President-elect, and approve funds for the Biden transition team.
This could be a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie. (Oh wait, it’s actually the Covid-19 apocalypse). I am on the Marion Street Ferry Walkway, looking back along Columbia Street. Flanking Columbia St. at the top are the steel & glass F5 Tower (compl. 2017, 44 storeys), the Seattle Municipal Tower (compl. 1990, 62 floors) and the Columbia Center (compl. 1985, 76 storeys, still Seattle’s tallest skyscraper).
Here is Alaska Way South, seen from the Marion Street Ferry Walkway, with the entrance to the ferry terminal and the construction at Colman Dock on the left. It was two years ago in Feb. 2019, that the demolition of the 1953 Alaskan Way Viaduct (double-decker highway) started in earnest. The Viaduct has now been completely gone for a little more than a year.
Ivar’s Fish Bar is open for take-aways, but Ivar’s Acres of Clams flagship restaurant next door, is closed (due to the no indoor dining restrictions).
The Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59, on the Elliott Bay waterfront, opened in 1977 (now temporarily closed). I’m looking down towards the waterfront from Western Ave.
View of Elliott Bay from Victor Steinbrueck Park by Pike Place Market. On the left is the Tacoma, that had just left for Bainbridge Island, and on the right is the Kaleetan, coming in from Bremerton.
I did not get to see the sun set, as I had hoped. The park was empty. A construction fence keeps the public away from the rail that overlooks the Viaduct space below. (There are construction workers below).
Rainier Square Tower (left) is just about complete. At 850 ft (260 m) tall and 58 storeys, it is the city’s second tallest skyscraper. On the right is the 1977 Rainier Tower (41 storeys, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the World Trade Center in New York City, as well). The new 10-story building on the southwest corner is 400 University Street. It will open later this year.
The doors at the entrance to the Hotel Monaco on Fourth Ave. (constructed in 1969 as the Pacific Northwest Bell office building). The hotel is closed, for now.