Wednesday/ tennis in Astana 🎾

This week’s ATP 500 tennis tournament is hosted by the city called Astana. And where in the world is Astana, would you say? It’s in Kazakhstan 🇰🇿, and called ‘the world’s weirdest capital city’ by CNN in a 2012 story.

Tennis only became a significant sport in Kazakhstan due to the crusade and a labor of love by billionaire Bulat Utemuratov, in a campaign that had started 15 years ago in 2007.

Matthew Futterman writes in the New York Times:
Using almost entirely Utemuratov’s money, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation went on a building spree, investing roughly $200 million — nearly a tenth of his estimated fortune — to construct 38 tennis centers in all 17 regions of the country. It trained hundreds of coaches and instructors and imported some from Europe. It subsidized lessons for young children and adolescents who can train six days a week for $40-$120 per month. The best juniors receive as much as $50,000 to pay for training and travel.

Inside the Beeline Arena, the home of Kazakhstan National Tennis Center in the heart of the capital Astana. The lime green part of the court is a little unusual —maybe by design? Here is David Goffin (Belgium, 31) serving against the newly minted World No 1, Carlos Alcaraz (Spain, 19) in a first round-match yesterday. Alcaraz lost 3-6, 5-7 — a disappointment for me, and certainly for the tournament organizers. Ticket sales have reportedly been brisk, though.
[Still from Tennis TV streaming service]
A bird’s eye-view of Astana. CNN says ‘little surrounds the city for 1,200 kilometers, save a handful of provincial towns dotted across the world’s largest steppe, a flat, empty expanse of grassland. Shooting up from this void is a mass of strangely futuristic structures’.
[Picture: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press]
The Presidential Palace in the foreground was designed to resemble the White House in Washington D.C. (I’d say it’s a passing resemblance, at best). The translucent tent-like structure in the distance is the Norman Foster-designed Khan Shatyra shopping mall, and said to be the world’s largest tent (but it is really a tent?).
[Picture Credit: AFP/ Getty Images]

Saturday/ the ‘deep river’ 🌫

Here’s my house’s front door (that used to be brown) with its new paint— a color called ‘Deep River’.
‘Reminiscent of vast jungle rivers, this saturated gray has a hint of green in its undertone’, says the Benjamin Moore brochure.

Colors are complicated. The green undertone of the door’s paint stands out strikingly in the direct sunlight. In the shadows, the eye sees more gray than green. In the dim winter light in a month or two, it might look like a dark gray, almost black.

Saturday/ Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre historic and urban, cultural park in San Diego.
The park was originally called ‘City Park’, but was renamed after Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, in honor of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, held in the park that year.

The architecture of the buildings in Balboa Park are a mix of Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival style.

My brother and I have been to the San Diego Zoo (next to Balboa Park) many, many times, and we decided it was time to take a look inside the Limbdi Natural History Museum instead. This is the main entrance.
The original ‘Jaws’ .. a order prednisone online megalodon model on display in the main exhibition hall. The model is very accurate, and shows the electroreceptors on the shark’s nose between the nostrils. These receptors are filled with a jelly-like substance which help the shark to pick up electrical fields in the surrounding water. They can detect even the slightest of electrical pulses from the muscle movement of potential prey. Megalodons lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago, and are relatives of today’s great white sharks.
Another view of the main exhibition hall, with a Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) top left. These slow-moving sea creatures grew to 9 m (30 ft) and 8-10 tons and had relatively few predators, but were easy prey for humans. Within 27 years of its discovery by Europeans in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, the slow-moving and easily-caught mammal was hunted into extinction for its meat, fat, and hide. The year was 1768.
The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is a New World vulture and the largest North American land bird. They became extinct in the wild in 1987, at which point only 22 birds in captivity remained. Breeding programs at San Diego Zoo and Los Angeles Zoo were launched, and as of December 2020 there were 504 California condors living wild or in captivity.
The Balboa Park Botanical Building. Built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, along with the adjacent Lily Pond and Lagoon, the historic building is one of the largest lath structures in the world.
The beautiful façade at the entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art has detailed full-body sculptures of artists Velázquez, Murillo, and Zurbarán.
The nearly 200-foot-tall Tower and Dome of the California Building are covered with intricate carvings, colorful tile, and glass beads.

Sunday/ Pioneer Square 🧱

Here are pictures from my (self-directed) architecture appreciation tour today, around Pioneer Square.

Here’s the Pioneer Square light rail entrance and exit hall, on Yesler Way.
Looking up at one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks: Smith Tower, constructed in 1914 and named after its builder, the firearm and typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith (not related to Horace Smith of Smith & Wesson).
Detail of the white terra-cotta cladding on the walls and the overhang of the pyramid top of the Tower.
The Collins Building right next door, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, was built much earlier, in 1894. The construction was paid for and supervised by Irish-American businessman John Collins, who had also served as Seattle’s fourth elected mayor.
Across the street is the Corona Lofts apartment building, which is also a historic landmark building, built in 1903.
Walking along Yesler Way towards the waterfront, and here is the canopy at the old Travelers Hotel building (constructed 1913) that says Barney McCoy’s Buffet Lunch, Cigars, on the side that is facing the street. (Present day there is a cozy eatery called 84 Yesler inside).
The CitizenM hotel at Yesler and Alaskan Way is a brand-new boutique hotel (it’s a Dutch brand). The large tiled graphic mural is called ‘Schema’: an abstract map depicting layers of Seattle’s early history and idiosyncrasies.
The Pioneer Square Hotel was designed by architect Albert Wickersham and built in 1914. By the 1930s it was a flophouse (a cheap hotel & rooming house). Restored in the 1990s, and now run by the Best Western franchise, it had long been the only hotel in Pioneer Square. (The new CitizenM hotel is kitty corner from it).
Here’s the corner of Yesler and First Avenue. This building started out as the National Bank of Commerce building, constructed in 1890-91. (So right after the Great Fire of Seattle in 1899, which had destroyed 25 city blocks, including some in Pioneer Square).
‘Constructed in 1890 and known as the Squire-Latimer Building for many years, this ornate brick building was the home of Seattle’s Grand Central Hotel (1897-1933). Like many luxury hotels, the Grand Central did not outlast the lean years of the Great Depression’. -from
A peek of the hallway inside the boarded-up Grand Central Hotel building with my phone camera’s wide-angle lens.
The four-story State Building on South Washington Street, built in the Queen Anne – Richardsonian Romanesque style, is another that was constructed in 1891, right after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
The Broderick Building (constructed in 1892), is a six-story building with brick walls and large blocks of rusticated Tenino sandstone on its main facades.
The Mutual Life Building of 1897, built in a modified Romanesque Revival style, is on First Avenue. It had suffered minor earthquake damage on two or three occasions, and was in need of some repair work by the 1970s. In 1983, the totally empty Mutual Life Building was purchased by Historic Seattle, and they spearheaded a complete architectural rehabilitation the following year.
A closer look at the detail at the base of the arch at the building’s entrance.
This is the public space called Occidental Square, and the totem artwork is of Tsonoqua, a mythological giantess and ‘nightmare bringer’ invoked by exasperated North Coast mothers to frighten their children into obedience.
Another view of Occidental Square. The Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial statue by Hai Ying Wu (1995) honors generations of heroes. On the right are the glass windows of the Occidental Street offices of the timberland and wood products company Weyerhauser (completed 2016).
All right .. time to go home, and here comes the southbound train rolling into Pioneer Square station. I took the northbound train three stops up to Capitol Hill, and hey! just as I walked out of the Capitol Hill station, the No 8 bus rolled up to take me another seven blocks closer to home.

Saturday/ apartments with art 🎨

I frequently drive by the newly completed Midtown apartments on (23rd Ave. in Central District) with its colorful exterior and artwork.
Today I checked it out a little closer, on foot.

The Midtown Square apartment building has 7 floors with 428 apartments, from studio ($1,800 pm) to 2-bed, 2-bath (about $3,200 pm). So expensive, as expected for a new development, I guess ⁠—although a 130 apartments are offered as affordable housing units through Seattle’s MFTE and MHA housing programs.
The images on the panels were created by photographer/ artist Adam Jabari Jefferson.
The entrance to the public square on the inside, from the Union Street sidewalk.
The colorful exterior panels on the corner of Union Street and 23rd Avenue.
The artist is Barry Johnson.
Public art on the Union Street/ 23rd Avenue corner. I couldn’t find the artist’s name.
I would like one of these for my backyard. Beautiful.
Central .. the first of a series of murals facing 23rd Avenue.
Edwin T. Pratt (1930 – 1969) was an American activist during the Civil Rights Movement. He was assassinated at his home in Shoreline, WA in Jan. 1969. At the time of his assassination in 1969, he was Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League. His murder is still unsolved.
DeCharlene Willians (1942-2018) was a legendary owner of a Central Area boutique, who also founded the Seattle neighborhood’s chamber of commerce. 
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.
District.. the second of a series of murals facing 23rd Avenue.
Langston Hughes (1901-1968) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. (The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute is a cultural, community, and artistic center in the Central District). 
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.


Community .. the third mural facing 23rd Avenue.
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was a musician, singer, and songwriter and a Seattle native.
Ernestine Anderson (1928-2016) was an American jazz and blues singer. Her family moved to Seattle when she was 16.
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.
The entrance to the public square from 23rd Avenue. The lamp sconces feature performance and recording artists. The installation was made by Henry Jackson-Spieker in collaboration with KT Hancock studios.
I believe this is Duke Ellington (1899-1974), composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra for most of his life. He gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. Duke Ellington’s The 1952 Seattle Concert was his first legitimate live performance release.
The public square inside the apartment complex. The picture shows part of a 120-ft mural with historic scenes and lettering that says C E N T R A L  D I S T R I C T.
The artist is Takiyah Ward.

Monday/ tennis, in La Caja Mágica

The Magic Box (“La Caja Mágica”) was designed by French architect Dominique Perrault. (Also design by him: the François Mitterrand National Library in Paris).
The Magic Box opened in May 2009 at a cost of some US $300 million. The main moving roof is 101m x 72m x 4m (surface area of 7250 sq m/ 78,100 sq ft). The architect used very slender steel columns and trusses in the design. Horizontal trusses in the roof sections help to resist wind forces.

The 2022 Madrid Open tennis tournament is under way, in the multipurpose stadium complex called La Caja Mágica.
During the Madrid Open, it is the only facility in the world with three tennis courts under a retractable roof.

This year, the top Men’s Singles seeds are ‘No Vax’ Djokovic, Sacha Zverev, Rafael Nadal (the ‘King of Clay’), Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev— but no Medvedev (he had hernia surgery), Carlos Alcaraz and Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The entrance lobby to the center court named for Manolo Santana, Madrid native and world No 1 as an amateur in 1965. He had passed away last December at age 83. 
[Still from Tennis TV]
It was a rainy day, so the roof was closed today. This is a first-round match between two Grand Slam champions Andy Murray (Scotland, 34) and Dominic Thiem (Austria, 28). Thiem is recently back from an injury to a ligament in his wrist. (He did not need surgery). Murray won 6-3, 6-4.
[Still from Tennis TV]

Saturday/ it’s not orange; it’s galaxy gold 💫

My mission for the afternoon was to get a few pictures of the Space Needle. It is again painted in galaxy gold for its 60th anniversary⁠— the way it had been for its debut at the Seattle World’s Fair in April 1962.
I even drove up Queen Anne Hill to Kerry Park, to get the classic skyline-with-Space Needle picture.

The Davenport Apartments building is posted here as a ‘Find the Space Needle’ puzzle. (Part of the Space Needle appears in the picture). The Davenport was designed by architect Herbert Bittman in 1925, and has an unusual courtyard entrance to its 14-car garage.

Friday/ you look nice today

These pictures are from my walk back home from the Bartell pharmacy on First Hill.

This is Hofius House at 1104 Spring Street, First Hill. Designed by German-born architects Spalding and Umbrecht and constructed in 1902. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese began housing the Seattle Archbishop in this residence in 1920.
The Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church at Harvard and Howell held a last service in June 2018, and then closed its doors for good, it seems. The church was built just about 100 years ago, in 1923.
Hey! The tourists are back, even if just a handful. I waved at them. (Maybe I shouldn’t have. I could the city’s reputation for stand-offishness to neighbors and visitors alike, called ‘The Seattle Freeze’).
Spring leaves on the trees by Seattle Central College on Broadway.
I hate graffiti, but hey⁠— if the graffiti complements me, it makes it a little better. Maybe.

Thursday/ a new garage door

“Open sesame!” (French: “Sésame, ouvre-toi”)
– a magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in Antoine Galland’s version of One Thousand and One Nights.
It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure.

My fancy new garage door & opener arrived today, brought by the technician that did the installation. It took five months after I had placed the order, but that’s OK.

I can do an ‘Open Sesame!’ in four different ways.
1. Press the button on the garage door opener (the one with a clip that I can put in my car);
2. Use the key pad on the outside (enter a PIN code);
3. Use my smartphone app to open it from anywhere (through my home’s wifi network);
4. If all else fails, use the emergency release handle on the door opener inside.

Just four panels, all white. (Yes, will have to see what the white looks like in a few months, but I can always paint it a darker color).
Four windows to let in a little gray Seattle sunlight in winter, and a bright LED light that jumps to life when I open the side door. There’s the rail and (top left) the torque spring that pulls or pushes the panels in the rail track. My old single-panel door had two coiled tension springs along the sides of the door frame, with brackets that had started to buckle— downright dangerous.
The door panels have insulated steel plating, front and back. The windows are plain and practical. There were rounded ones and decorative ones, and frosted panes to choose from as well.

Monday/ 5 years of construction

It’s been so long, that I had forgotten that this stately old house used to be on the corner of Thomas and 17th Avenue. It was constructed in 1906, and named Dunshee House when it became the home of the Seattle Area Support Groups & Community Center (SASG). It was sold to a developer and demolished in 2017.
[Source: Google Streetview]

The townhomes at Thomas St and 17th Avenue East are done, five years hence from the start of their construction.

There are 4 new townhomes on 17th Avenue, and 2 that are facing Thomas Street. I’m not sure if they are all the same size. One is listed for sale on Redfin & Zillow for $1.4 million: 2,000 sq ft, 3- bedroom, 3.5-bath, detached garage and extra parking space.
Here’s 17th Avenue looking south towards Thomas Street.

Wednesday/ a brisk walk

It was only 38 °F (3 °C ) as I walked back home today after getting a haircut.
It was good to get out of the house, though .. and hey! I thought: might as well try my luck to get another passport photo taken.

The kiosk at the Bartell pharmacy* at Broadway & Pike had me in and out with great photos in 5 minutes.

*Officially Bartell Drugs or the Bartell drug store. Yes, I know it’s prescription drugs —but it still doesn’t sound right to my ears.

There was a crew cleaning up the main entrance of the beleaguered Kelly-Springfield Building on 11th Avenue. As it was getting ready to open is office spaces (most of it leased by WeWork), the pandemic came. And then in June 2020 the Capitol Hill Organized Protest and its graffiti and vandalism happened right there (half a block away) as well.
A little further north on 11th Ave. on Capitol Hill, is the Central Lutheran Church building. It is boasting new white paint on its gothic-styled main entrance. The Capitol Hill location’s land was purchased in 1901 for $2,300, according to the Central Lutheran archives. The building must have been constructed soon after that.
Nearby the Central Lutheran Church, is the German United Church of Christ, its building also more than 100 years old. It was founded in 1881 by early German settlers, calling themselves “The First German Reformed Church of Seattle.” Today they are largely supported by private donations, and the “German Heritage Society”, the “Plattdeutscher Verein” and the “Frauenverein”.

Tuesday/ Engine House No 3, then and now

There was scaffolding all along the front of Engine House No 3 last April, as I walked by on the way to my first Covid shot next door.
The building now shows off a fresh coat of paint, and restored red lettering on the front as well.

Engine House No 3 on Terry Avenue is an official historic landmark.
The building served as a home for the local fire brigade until 1921. Over the years, Harborview Medical Center gradually grew up around it. The hospital continues to use the old station building to this day.
‘Foot Note’: I thought those red crosses are Maltese crosses, but they are not. They are cross pattée (‘footed crosses’), a type of Christian cross with arms that are narrow at the center, and often flared in a curve or straight line shape, to be broader at the perimeter. The form appeared first in very early medieval art.
From 1890 to 1904, the Seattle Fire Department’s Engine House No. 3 stood in what is now the Chinatown/ International District.
In 1904, it was replaced by a new Engine House No. 3 (this one), at the intersection of Terry Avenue and Alder Street, in what is now Yesler Terrace.
This 1911 photo shows Engine House No. 3 in its heyday. Three fire wagons, with their crews and horses, stand in the station’s doorways on a rainy day.
Handwritten on photograph: 5-11-1911.
[Photo and text from Wikimedia Commons]

Sunday/ Olympic Sculpture Park

The skies were a beautiful blue today, and I went out to Olympic Sculpture Park to take a few pictures.

I parked by the pedestrian bridge on 3rd Ave West. This is a look back at the Queen Anne Beer Hall and the Space Needle from the bridge. I have not been to this Beer Hall; so I am putting it on my post-pandemic to-do list. Quaff a few beers at Queen Anne Beer Hall.
Looking north after crossing the pedestrian bridge.
A closer look at the artwork called Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976) by Michael Heizer. The granite slabs were quarried in the North Cascades. (This is Myrtle Edwards Park, on the way to Olympic Sculpture Park).
The north entrance and ramp to Olympic Sculpture Park, with a long slanted pedestrian bridge that straddles the railway on the left.
The Eagle (1971) by Alexander Calder.
This bench is called Mary’s Invitation: A Place to Regard Beauty by Ginny Ruffner (2014), in honor of Mary Shirley, a benefactor of Olympic Sculpture Park.
Wake (2004) by Richard Serra has five gently S-curved iron structures.
The cafeteria and indoor space called Paccar Pavilion is closed. The steps in front of it is called the Bill & Melinda Gates Amphitheater.
What is nature, and what is art?
Split (2003) by Roxy Paine, a tree made of stainless steel tubes of 20 different diameters.
Making my way back around the south end of the Park, with the south of the staircase going to the slanted bridge across the railway. SAM stands for Seattle Art Museum.
Echo by Jaume Plensa (2011), a Barcelona-based artist. The sculpture’s title refers to a mountain nymph in Greek mythology that had offended the goddess Hera. As punishment the nymph was deprived of speech, except for the ability to echo the last word of another, spoken to her.

Sunday/ the tree is up, on the Needle

It rained most of the day, but it cleared up as night fell.
I made a run down to the Space Needle to take a few pictures of the ‘Christmas tree’ on it.
I went up Queen Anne hill for a few pictures, as well.

Here’s the monorail train at 5th Ave and John St, streaking towards Westlake Center. This is one of its last runs for the day. It stops running at 9 pm, I believe.
The ‘Christmas Tree’ with its red aviation beacon is up on the Needle.
A look from from below through the bare trees (grabbing at it with long bony fingers?) at Seattle Center. The golden elevator cage is all the way up, at the top.
The arches at Pacific Science Center, nicely lit up in white.
The trees on Thomas Street alongside Climate Pledge Arena are nicely dressed up in holiday lights. Many inside Seattle Center have been decorated as well.
Climate Pledge Arena, of course. That radio tower in the distance with the colored lights and beacon on, is on Queen Anne hill. ‘Well, I will have to go and take a closer look at it’, I thought, and I did. (Picture is below).
Making my way back to where I had parked my car. This 24-hour McDonalds is right by the Space Needle.
Posters on the fence by the McDonalds. A blue gloved hand is about to grab the mortified monkey. National Primate Research Centers are a network of seven research programs in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct biomedical research on primates. One of them is affiliated with the University of Washington here in Seattle.
So should humans torture monkeys in the name of research? No, we should not, but we do. We should also not make weapons to kill each other with. We should also not destroy Earth.
All right. Now I have navigated up Queen Anne hill, to the KING-TV Tower (decorated with its Christmas lights) that I had seen from Seattle Center. The first television broadcast in Pacific Northwest history was transmitted from this location on Nov. 25, 1948 as Channel 5 KRSC-TV (becoming KING-TV 8 months later). The station went on the air with a live high school football game on Thanksgiving Day between West Seattle High and Wenatchee at Memorial Stadium.
This tower was constructed a few years later, in 1952, and stands 570 ft (174m) tall. The site itself is 430 ft (131 m) above sea level.
My final stop was at Kerry Park in Queen Anne, a popular view point for taking in vistas of downtown Seattle and the ferries that come in from across the Sound. The green roof of Climate Pledge Arena is new, of course, and to its right is half of the Ferris wheel at the waterfront with the pink of T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. I’m using my Canon EOS 7D Mk II digital camera and zoom lens, and it’s doing OK. I would love a medium format DSLR to catch just a little more detail !

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).