Friday/ inside the Summit 🏬

The amigos toured the new $2 billion Seattle Convention Center extension today. (Construction had started in August 2018).
The existing Convention Center is now named Arch, and this extension is called Summit.

There is a large below-ground space, and five sprawling floors stacked on top of it, with a ballroom the size of a football field at the top. (The height of the Center is the equivalent of 14 regular floors).
The planks of wood suspended from the ceiling in the ballroom, and used for paneling at the ballroom entrance doors are called ‘wormwood’.
The wood comes from salvaged, decommissioned log-booms (floating barriers in waterways to collect logs that had been cut nearby).
After some time in the water, larvae of marine clams (sp. Bankia setacea) attach themselves to the logs, and start drilling into the log’s interior, creating a network of tunnels.

‘Seattle faces a moment of truth to save downtown’ wrote the Seattle Times today, pointing a report from Downtown Seattle Association that had estimated in October 2021 that 500 street-level businesses had closed since 2019. Only  300 new street-level businesses had opened. The hope is that the Convention Center extension can serve as a catalyst to bring people back and fill the empty spaces of commercial real estate.

Monday/ at the library 📖

I checked into the central library in downtown for the first time since the start of the pandemic today, and did very well. 😁
I bought two books for $1 each (so: free) at the little store at the entrance, and
checked out two Der Spiegel magazines and The Case of The Shoplifter’s Shoe. (A Perry Mason detective mystery. He is a lawyer and his secretary’s name is Della, and his private detective is Paul Drake.  It’s easy reading and for old times’ sake. I had read them all a long time ago).

Thursday/ soaked ☔️

It’s a challenge to go for a run outside, or to play sport outdoors in the Pacific Northwest winter.
When it’s clear and dry, it may be too cold.
When it’s cloudy and milder, it may be raining.
There’s always skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, of course.

The beautiful new blue surfaces of the Miller Park Pickleball and Tennis Courts on 19th Ave. are soaked today.

Sunday/ downtown 🏬

Here are a few pictures that I took on my walk around downtown Seattle today.

The Seattle Convention Center expansion is nearing its completion. This part of the Convention Center is called Summit, and the existing part of the Center a block away is now called Arch.
The new entrance to Pacific Place mall off Seventh Avenue is complete.
Will the renovations inside entice people to come in and shop, and will people come and watch movies at the theatres on the top floor, now that the worst of the pandemic is over? Time will tell.
These pop art installations are on the second floor. I believe the woman’s face is Roy Lichtenstein’s art. Lichtenstein was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement of the ’60s along with Andy Warhol. The L O V E letters might have been inspired by Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE statue in Philadelphia. Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE
Here’s the corner of Sixth Ave and Westlake Avenue. The McDonalds right here has been replaced with a Chase Bank branch.
Is access to fast cash better than access to fast food?
Look for the Space Needle in the distance.
A look up👆
Here’s the newly installed (re-installed, in a different place) Pink Elephant Car Wash sign. It is the smaller one of two from the premises of the now-defunct Pink Elephant Car Wash off nearby Denny Way. (The carwash had been a fixture there since 1951 but made way for high-rise condos and office buildings). Maybe they should have changed the ‘OPEN’ on the sign to ‘CLOSED’ before reinstalling it here. Out-of towners with dirty cars might think there is a carwash nearby.
The ‘campfire’ installation at the Amazon Spheres lends a little warmth to the surroundings.
Look for scooters and bicycles when crossing the bike lanes!
Another new Amazon building called Amazon Frontier.
It’s impossible to tell how much of the building’s floor space is in use, with the holiday, and with so many employees still working from home.   

Happy New Year! 🥂

Revelers could gather at the Space Needle again (post-pandemic) to usher in the new year with the fireworks display there.
These pictures were sent to me by a friend— snapped from the rooftop of a condominium building.

Saturday/ the cold and damp 🌫

In restless dreams, I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
– From ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon & Garfunkel (1964)

I stepped out of my house into the cold to take a few pictures of the fog, late last night.

Monday/ sunlight ☀

Hey! The sun was out as I walked down to the Capitol Hill library to take my books back.

I stopped by the QFC grocery store— and had picked out a few things when the fire alarm went off.
We all had to leave everything on the spot, and go outside.
I waited for a while in the cold, and then gave up and left.
I am lucky to have plenty of food in the house, and a house that is warm inside.

Sunday/ International District ⛩

I took the light rail to Seattle’s International District station today, just as the gray sky was turning into black. (King Street Station for the inter-city Amtrak trains is nearby).
There will be dry weather and sun this week, but the highs will only reach 42°F (5°C).

Saturday/ rain ☔

Here are today’s pictures— a little bit of everything at a soggy Seattle Center. (I see the city got 5.15 in. of rain for November, so not too far off from the average).

The McDonalds building on 5th Avenue North has been demolished (it has been gone for a few months now).
The site will be used for a new 9-story office building .. or maybe not right away, now that the local economy has softened somewhat.


Sunday/ a ferry ride 🛳

I tagged along with Bryan for a trip to Hansville, today.

Downtown Seattle. Checking out the 1200 Stewart St apartment towers from Denny Way. Construction has almost ground to a halt, it seems. About 10 of the 45 stories are still completely bare, and all of the floors still need balcony rails.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The twin bridges connect the city of Tacoma with the Kitsap Peninsula and carry State Route 16 over the strait called Tacoma Narrows.
Route 307. This is just north of Poulsbo, driving north towards Hansville.
Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal.
On the Wenatchee ferry.  Departing Bainbridge Island. The Marine Vessel Wenatchee is a Jumbo Mark-II-class ferry that was launched in 1998, and has been doing service on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle route alongside the Tacoma.
On the Wenatchee ferry. A view of the Seattle skyline from inside the doors on the passenger deck. There is a bone-chilling windchill outside on the deck.
On the Wenatchee ferry. The view from the car deck down below.
Arrival at Seattle Ferry Terminal. 
Pioneer Square. This is the Sinking Ship Parking Garage, with the iconic 1914 Smith Tower behind it.

We drove south and around Puget Sound to get to the Kitsap Peninsula, and then took the ferry from the Bainbridge Island Terminal to get back to Seattle.

Saturday/ snow patrol 🌨

There was more snow on Friday night, with about 2 inches on the ground on Saturday morning.

I ventured out into the cold for a few pictures before the start of the USA-Netherlands World Cup match.
Congrats to Oranje for the win!


Friday/ cold and gray ☁️

Sunlight and heat were in short supply today (the high 38 °F/ 3°C), but I ventured out for a short walk before it was completely dark.

Looking west from 14th Avenue and East Thomas Street. The Space Needle has its ‘Christmas tree’ on.
The bright colors and lights of the Red Balloon Company toy store bring some much-needed cheer to 15th Avenue ..
.. as does the neon sign for Victrola Coffee nearby.
The remodeling at Coastal Kitchen restaurant is almost completed (a 63-year old drunk driver had crashed his vehicle into the entrance some seven months ago). The restaurant is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday Dec. 6 —for dinner and weekend brunch.

Wednesday/ snow on the ground ❄️

Parts of the city of Seattle had a little snow on the ground on Tuesday morning (the first of the season), and there was more on Tuesday night.
Rain and a 4°C high melted most of the snow today, but there may be more snow tonight, and during the next day or two.

Looking out from upstairs last night, just as I was heading to bed at 11.30 pm. I guess this is an inch of snow— not much more than that.
Look at this, reported by John Clarke for the Wall Street Journal:
Every year, Mr. Chevalier, 36, who works in digital marketing in the automotive industry, refrains for as long as he can from turning on his heat. Being thrifty, of course, factors in. Fuel is expensive this year and many people are cutting back. But beyond that, there is a flinty group that always tries to stare down thermostats come winter. Denying oneself decadent warmth for the noble suffering of being too cold is a proud tradition among austere New Englanders. “Are you a true New Englander? If your heat is already on, the answer is no,” the Boston Globe asked in a recent headline.

Sunday/ along First Avenue 🏢

We had sun and blue sky today, and I went down to Pioneer Square station to do a another little self-directed architecture tour.

I had the platform all to myself after hopping off the train at Pioneer Square station. 🤗
The Interurban Building on Yesler Way started out as the Seattle National Bank Building (1890–1899). It was built after the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, in the Romanesque Revival architecture.
There was a tour guide and tourists at the Merchant’s Cafe and Saloon, Seattle’s oldest bar & restaurant. Just then a confused and angry woman walked by yelling expletives for all of two city blocks. ‘It’s going to be downhill from here’ said the tour guide to his group, and I don’t think he was referring to the terrain. (Pioneer Square is nearby and is notorious for the street people hanging out over there. It was deserted and quiet there today, though).
All the way across Alaskan Way to the waterfront, now. This is the newly-opened waiting lounge for the Bainbridge Island and Bremerton ferries, five years in the making. The large windows offer views of Elliott Bay (Puget Sound) and the Olympic Mountains. Crews are still working on a new entry building along Alaskan Way and the elevated pedestrian connector to this new terminal building.
The city’s skyline seen from the north side of the waiting lounge. That’s the Leschi fireboat in the foreground, commissioned in 2007. Missions for its crew include firefighting, search and rescue, and responses to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) emergencies.
Here’s the view looking north along Alaskan Way from the temporary pedestrian bridge at Columbia Street. The new pedestrian bridge is up ahead. Roughly three years after the completion of the demolition of the double-decker Alaskan Way Viaduct, there is still a ways to go to tidy up and complete all the construction. To be fair, the massive Colman Dock ferry terminal project (on the left) had started in 2017, and is still slated to be completed on time in 2023 despite the pandemic and a 140-day long concrete worker strike earlier this year.
The renovation project on the beautiful 1932 Federal Office Building on First Avenue is now complete. There is a plaque on the northeast corner of the building that reads ‘The Seattle Fire started here on June 6, 1889. This tablet was placed by survivors of the Seattle Volunteer Fire Department’.
The chic 1901 Alexis Hotel is to the north of the Federal Office Building.
Construction on the Holyoke Building across the street had actually started just before the Great Seattle fire of 1889. It was completed in 1890 in the Victorian Commercial style with a few Romanesque touches.
Now we’re jumping ahead almost a century in time, to the 22-story condominium building called the Watermark Tower. Constructed in 1983, it has lots of square and rectangular elements on the exterior. The canopy at the entrance, and the window pane above it is much more interesting to me.
I have made my way to the corner of Seneca Street and First Avenue. The Colonial Grand Pacific Condominium building of 1902 has 37 units (remodeled and converted to condominiums in 1983). It is considered to be one of Seattle’s finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque commercial architecture.
I can now easily squeeze the Qualtrics Tower (formerly known as 2+U and 2&U), completed in 2020, into my picture frame with my phone’s wide-angle lens. (Confession: these are all iPhone pictures. I left my heavy DSLR camera at home).
Look! A beautiful piece of blue sky, and the waters of Puget Sound. The elevated Seneca Street off-ramp that used to occupy this space has disappeared along with the the Alaskan Way Viaduct.