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.

Tuesday/ open: Mukilteo’s new ferry terminal

The Mukilteo-Clinton crossing is 20 mins.

Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry system in the United States. The system operates 21 ferries across Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea (the body of water that crosses into British Columbia). The vessels ferry nearly 24 million people annually, to 20 different ports of call.

The new $187 million ferry terminal in Mukilteo opened today, without crowds or fanfare. The new facility replaces the old terminal and dock (constructed in 1957).

Just a few basics first. The dolphins (pillars) help position the ferry’s ‘bow’* in place against the wingwalls, so that the apron can be lowered to cover the gap between the end of the transfer span, and the loading deck of the ferry. (This simple terminal will have to load and unload pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and cars in sequence). 
Washington State ferries have double-ended hull designs: vehicles can be loaded on & off from both ends of the vessel. After loading, the direction of travel switches — so the ‘bow’ becomes the stern, as the ferry departs. [Graphic from]
This aerial view of the construction platform is from Feb. 2020. The new Mukilteo ferry terminal is just down the road from the old terminal (at the back; looks like the ferry was just departing for Clinton on Bainbridge Island). The new Mukilteo terminal will allow walk-on passengers & vehicles to board at the same time. [Photo taken by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times]
Here is an artist’s view from an arriving vehicle that has just left the ferry. [Artwork from]
And this is a rendering of the view of the terminal from the water. There is a new promenade to the left and to the right of the terminal, as well. [Artwork from]
Meanwhile, here in the city of Seattle there is another big ferry terminal construction project in progress: the upgrades to the Colman Dock for the ferries to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. It is only scheduled for completion in 2023, though.

Sunday/ the St. Ingbert apartments

There were beautiful soft grays and pinks in the blue sky today at sunset.
I made my way down all along Harrison Street, towards the Interstate 5 overlook by Melrose Avenue.
The St. Ingbert apartments is right there by Harrison and Melrose.

The St. Ingbert apartment building was constructed in 1928 with Art Deco detail. The architect is not known. St. Ingbert is a reference to the hometown of the builder (Ludwig J. Hellenthal), a town named Sankt Ingbert in Saarland, Germany. Sankt Ingbert is very close to the French border.
Look for the Space Needle in the distance, and the blue spires of Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral to its right, just above Interstate 5.
Art Deco detail at an entrance to the St. Ingbert apartments. I should have taken a closer picture of the very cool lettering on the glass, at the very bottom of the picture. I will do that when I walk by there again.

Thursday/ and .. what is that thing?

I drove down to the Beacon Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library today, to return a very overdue book.
(For some reason the Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library near me, does not accept books in its book depository).

Let’s see .. a thin column that punches through the overhang of the roof, and has a — what is that, on top? A sail boat? A flying fish? An abstraction? No. The elements do not come together, and the whole design of the building and its façade just does not appeal to me. (The construction of the $5.3 million Beacon Hill library was completed in 2004. It was designed by Carlson Architects, a firm that went under during the Great Recession of 2008).

Friday/ scenes along Denny Way

It was sunny and 54°F (12 °C) today. I walked down to Denny Way, to check on the construction across from the Denny Substation.

Hey! Giant round mirror for sale by Pretty Parlor in the 1925 Biltmore Annex building on Summit Ave off of Olive Way. On the right is the 1924 Biltmore Apartments, built by Norwegian home-builder Stephen Berg in the Tudor-Gothic style. Berg built hundreds of homes in north Seattle between 1909 and 1922.
The Reef Cannabis Store, on the corner of E Olive Way & E Denny Way, seems to be still going strong. It opened in August 2018. It used to be a pizza parlor, and a pub & grub joint before that.
Alright. Now I’m making my way down Denny Way to where it crosses over Interstate 5. This red building has been ‘living on the edge’ for at least 20 years. The graffiti that stays on for months on end always makes me think the building is about to be demolished. The doggy day-care center is no longer there. Right now it has a vaping products store, a tobacco shop and a couple of restaurants for tenants. I’m sure the restaurants are struggling.
Here’s what I wanted to see: the construction at the corner of Denny Way & Stewart Street. I am standing on the elevated viewing corner of the Denny Substation (to my right). On the left is 1200 Stewart St, with its twin 45-story towers (apartment units) starting to go up on a 3-story podium (retail stores). The 42-story tower (apartments) in the middle with the round corners is 2014 Fairview Ave.
P.S. Amazing that there is NOT A CAR IN SIGHT. It is 4 pm on a Friday afternoon. Normally, Denny Way would be PACKED with rush-hour traffic trying to make it to Interstate 5.
There’s a break in the 3-story podium. Hopefully the residents of the 41-story Nexus condominium tower (completed 2019, in the middle) have settled in, and can tolerate the construction activity on their doorstep. (Hey, a few cars showed up for this picture!).

Monday/ here comes the Colosseum

The completed LEGO® Creator Colosseum set. The structure is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. It could hold some 60,000 spectators.

Move over 2017’s LEGO Millennium Falcon (7,541 pieces) and LEGO Taj Mahal (5,923 pieces)!
The up-and-coming LEGO Colosseum (on sale this Friday) clocks in at a colossal 9,036 pieces, making it far-and-away the largest official Lego set ever.
And yes, it comes at a high price for that many bricks:  US$ 550.

Am I tempted to go for it? Well, I would rather spend that kind of money to buy bricks like I did for my Doon Drive House creation.
Maybe I can design and build a LEGO Castle of Good Hope  – the one in Cape Town, with its brick walls and five-pointed footprint. Now that would be a challenge.

The Colosseum appearing in the 1975 movie Mahogany, as seen by Diana Ross’s character Tracy Chambers, fashion designer in Rome ..
.. and here is my own encounter with the Colosseum. It was in the summer of 1981, during my very first overseas trip. I’m on the left; my mom & dad in the middle.

Friday/ Berlin’s new airport

Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt airport (code: BER) is finally, at last, open for business. Its opening this Saturday is 9 years late. Numerous scandals had devoured huge sums of money and ruined many a reputation.

I am eager to go and check it out, and I will definitely put the airport BER on my list of destinations to fly into, once this pandemic has subsided.

Architecturally, the airport is a three-wing complex with colonnades. Reviewers like its great viewing terrace, and lots of parking spaces and restaurants. Its destinations are somewhat limited, though, as are the power outlets in the waiting areas. (Ouch. It helps that more and more airplanes now have USB ports or power outlets in the seats of their planes). [Photo: Marcus Bredt/gmp]
Inside Terminal 1. There will be no fuss, no big party, no fireworks – just a small reception. The opening date has been pushed back so many times, and we are in the grip of a worldwide pandemic, after all. (Is that red artwork a network of blood vessels?).
[Photo: Markus Mainka/imago images]