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’.

Tuesday/ the northern lights

Posted by Tim Durkan @timdurkan on Twitter: Some beautiful Aurora borealis over Seattle tonight.

He says the further out of the city, and to the north, the better, for pictures like this. It needs to be clear and dark (places like Whidbey Island, Anacortes).

The camera that he used is a Fujifilm GFX 100S medium format* mirrorless camera (with a monster 102 MP 43.8 x 32.9mm BSI CMOS Sensor, able to catch faint variations in color in the night sky).

*Medium format means larger than the standard 35mm film format, which is 24mm x 36mm (864 mm2 of film surface). The Fujifilm GFX 100S’s sensor size is 1 441 mm2. By comparison, the new iPhone 13 Pro’s built-in camera (that takes spectacular pictures, by the way) has a sensor that is all of 35.2 mm2, which is 40 times smaller than the one in this medium format digital camera.

Sunday/ it feels like fall

It was only 56 °F  (13 °C) when I went out for a walk at 6 pm today.
Still not scarf & glove weather, though. I’d say those are for 45°F  (7°C) and below.

This is 17th Ave East here on Capitol Hill. The leaves are falling, the way they always do this time of year. When fall comes, the green chlorophyll of summer breaks down in leaves and its nutrients go back to the trunk and roots. These leaves turn yellow. The leaves on some trees turn red, and botanists are still not 100% sure why they turn red.  The red color is due to a new pigment in the leaf called anthocyanin, which has to be made afresh as autumn takes hold. It may contain antioxidants to help against harsh winter conditions.

Friday/ another U District run

Wow, the U District station has served me well just in its first week after opening.
I made another run up there to today on the train, to get to my doctor’s office for my annual check-up. And I got my flu shot today, as well.

I am very happy to see the Neptune Music Company on the corner of Brooklyn St & NE 45th St is still there. It’s basically right next to the U District light rail station. The large basement is overflowing with collections of vinyl, CDs, DVD movies, VHS tapes, the works.
And just around the corner, the Neptune Theater is open as well. The Neptune is a performing arts theater with about 800 seats. It opened in 1921 so it’s 100 years old. (Google says The Front Bottoms are an American folk punk band from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. I don’t think I will like their music. ‘That’s not my bag’, as Austin Powers would say).

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.

Sunday/ the new U District & Roosevelt stations

The light rail train was much less crowded today, and I went to check out the new U District and Roosevelt stations.

Capitol Hill station, just boarded. This is a new Siemens S700 car, with the blue light lining the closed door. The light strip is green when the door is open, and starts flashing as the door is about to close, and amber at the close. This sign above the door is not animated to show the train’s current location, but there is another overhead LCD panel in the car that does that.
U District Station, just arrived. The art installation on the wall by the southbound track (by Lead Pencil Studio) is called Fragment Brooklyn: ‘an imaginary streetscape of building parts’. One of the streets bordering the station is called Brooklyn Street.
U District Station. An element of the Fragment Brooklyn art installation. (Could that be an 80s Dunlop Maxply wooden tennis racquet in the window?).
U District Station. More of the Fragment Brooklyn art installation. Nicely done, the faux air conditioners, window frames and canopies.
U District Station. One more of the Fragment Brooklyn art, this part with a classic New York City fire escape ladder. (The copper wires are not part of the art installation! Those are for the trains.)
U District Station, outside. I know my way around U District, but it’s still disorienting to come up from below and suddenly be outside on the street, because the immediate area around the station had been closed to the public for so long.
U District Station, outside. I cannot read Chinese characters, but I am 99% sure the mat says ‘Welcome’. I like the teal color scheme. I learned later that following the teal from the platform up to the street, gets one to this exit on 43rd Street.
U District Station. Going down to the platform again, to catch the next train to Roosevelt station. Following the orange markings on the escalators will get one to the north exit of the station on Brooklyn St.
Arrival at Roosevelt station. Here’s the explanation of the moose symbol for Roosevelt station on the station name signs & light rail maps.
Roosevelt station. A southbound train arriving as I take the escalators to the street. Yes, that’s the hindquarters of the moose in the previous picture.
Roosevelt station. Glancing up towards the top of the escalators leading to the exit.
Roosevelt station. A little public space with a large art installation (Pascal’s triangle of sorts, a mathematician might say). I did not make a note of the artist.
Roosevelt Station. I walked a block to this entrance on the south side of the station, on  65th Avenue.
Roosevelt Station. Ticket stations just inside the south entrance, with retro neon sign artwork overhead.
Roosevelt Station. Heading down to the platform. One of several sculptural mural art installations by Luca Buvoli. This one is a cyclist on an 1880s Penny Farthing direct-drive bicycle.
Roosevelt Station. Waiting for the train.
Roosevelt Station. And here’s the southbound train that will take me to Capitol Hill in 10 minutes. Cannot beat that, not even if I had a Tesla Model S Plaid.


Saturday/ three more stations

Today marked the opening of the 4.3-mile extension of the Seattle area’s Link light rail system towards the north, with three new stations: U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. These are the final stations in the system that was proposed to voters in 1996. So it took twenty-five years to get it all planned and built, a lot longer and much more expensive than planned, but it’s here at last. The price tag for this last phase was $1.9 billion.

Central Line is now called Line 1 with its 19 stations. Line 2 to Bellevue is under construction and will open in two years in 2023.

Bryan, Gary & I made a run to Northgate and back. (I will stop at the Roosevelt and U District stations some time later and take some pictures. These latter two are both underground).
Here’s the elevated platform of the Northgate station. There are escalators and stairs to street level, and a connection to a new, large pedestrian/ biking bridge across Interstate 5 to the Seattle North College campus.
Roosevelt and U-District are underground, and Northgate is above ground. Construction to the north continues, with the extension to Lynnwood slated to open in 2024.
The Kraken Community Iceplex (the training facility for the Seattle Kraken) is nearby Northgate station. The Northgate shopping mall is getting a make-over, and some 4,000 new apartment units are under construction as well.
Northgate station is elevated above street level. Changes to existing bus routes have been made to stop at the three new stations.
A new train with four cars entering Northgate station. Sound Transit has started to purchase these newer technology train cars from Siemens Mobility (they entered into service in May 2021). The model name is S700, and these cars cost around $4.5 million each.
The new John Lewis Memorial Bridge (pedestrian/ biking bridge) across Interstate 5 to the North Seattle College campus spans some 1,900 feet.
This weird rotary-dial phone was set up as a curiosity (I think), at the entrance of the bridge.

Tuesday/ grocery run

I made another run to the Amazon Fresh store tonight.
Every time I go there, they give me a voucher for another $10.
So will I have to go back again :^).

These paper bags work better in my high-tech cart than my heavy canvas bags (that cannot stand up, opened). Amazon Fresh gets bonus points from me for carrying my hard-to-find Irish oatmeal. Shockingly, though, they were completely out of plain whole milk tonight. (Got milk? No.) So I settled for a half-gallon of Amazon brand lactose-free Happy Belly Whole Milk. I am sure my belly will be happy. 

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.

Thursday/ required: proof of vaccination

Health officials here in King County are clearly worried that the pandemic will get even worse, now that summer is over.

Beginning Oct. 25, customers will have to show proof of vaccination— or a negative COVID test— at most establishments and events here in King County.

It’s not clear at this point, if any smartphone apps* will be available to help with the process, or if businesses will get any help or compensation for enforcing the rules.
*I registered months ago for the MyIR (My Immunization Record) Mobile app, but it still says the link to the State Health Department is not in place.

Wednesday/ awaiting the rain

The Puget Sound area had less than 0.1 in of rain the last 90 days.
Rain is finally on the way.

My lavender asters with their golden buttons are in full bloom here at the end of summer.
The rain will start on Friday, and continue through the weekend (1-2 inches in the city). The mountains will get the most, and above 6,000 ft there will be snow. 

Tuesday/ the store is closed

I ran out to the little second-hand LEGO store called Bricks and Wheels, in Bellevue, only to find it closed as I got there. It’s closed on Tuesdays.
That was actually a good thing.
1. There was no urgent reason to buy LEGO bricks TODAY.
2. I can use this little excuse some time soon again, to drive out there. 🙂

Here’s a still picture from my car’s dash cam video today, on the way to Bellevue on the east side of Lake Washington.
I’m eastbound, on the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge towards Mercer Island. It’s a floating bridge that takes Interstate 90 across the lake. Construction started in Jan. 1939 and was completed in 1940.
On the left is the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge with westbound traffic (also a floating bridge). This bridge was completed in 1989, and named for Hadley in 1993.

Sunday/ Pridefest on Broadway

There was no gay pride parade in downtown this year in Seattle. (It is held on the last Sunday in June every year).
A separate organization puts up an event called Pridefest in June—on Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. They postponed their event instead of cancelling it, and it was held today.

It turned out that the pandemic is very much with us, even though it is the end of summer. I was not too keen to rub shoulders with everyone out there.
Even so, I walked down to Broadway this afternoon, put my mask on, dodged the people in the street, and took a few pictures. The street was not very crowded, and many people were wearing masks as well.

This cute inflated unicorn was at Olmstead restaurant on Broadway. The weather is still fine,  and warm enough to sit outside (75 °F/ 24 °C today).
The stall of T Mobile, wireless network operator, outside their storefront on Broadway. Further up is BECU, a credit union originally established to serve employees of The Boeing Company, but now open to everyone.
Here’s the stall of Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group and LGBTQ political lobbying organization in the United States. We have come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to do. LGBTQ Americans still face high levels of discrimination in public places, in school, and in the workplace.
Several vendors had stalls as well, selling artwork, clothing or flags.

Friday/ Flowers in U District

I like the weather-beaten lettering on the Flowers Bar & Restaurant in U District.
The new U District light rail station is just around its corner. It is underground, and opens on Oct 2 .. and I will be sure to go and check it out!

Flowers Bar & Restaurant at the corner of University Way NE and NE 43rd St. The sign in the window advertises margaritas, mojitos and mint julep, each for $5.
A separate sign says ‘Irish Car Bomb $8’ : a bomb shot of Irish cream and whiskey, into a glass of stout (thanks, Wikipedia). Do not order it in Ireland or in the United Kingdom, for that matter. It refers to the car bombings of Ireland’s Troubles. The name of the drink offends many Irish and British people, and some bartenders there refuse to serve it.

Saturday/ Shilshole Bay Marina

The sky was still hazy today, but it will clear out tomorrow.
Bryan, Dale and I drove out to Shilshole Bay Marina after dinner, to catch the sun as it was setting.

It’s 8.05 pm and sunset today was officially at 8.22 pm. We are looking west, across Puget Sound and Bainbridge Island in the distance. Shilshole Bay Marina is in the foreground. Soon after I took this picture, the sun disappeared behind the (invisible) Olympic Mountains lying further to the west of Puget Sound. [Photo taken with iPhone Xs]

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).

Tuesday/ rain, already

A few rain drops fell on the tennis courts at Woodland Park tonight, and there was thunder and lightning overhead.
There was a little bit of rain in the city as well, but none was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma airport. Today was day 50 without rain there (longest on record is 55, in 2017).

Gorgeous pinks and grays, in this twilight picture by Seattle photographer Tim Durkan @timdurkan on Twitter. 

Monday/ ‘clean up the mess’

“These people need to get down to business and clean up the mess in this city,” said Joe Howard, a Black 48-year-old financial trader who lives on Capitol Hill and decried the “disorganized nonsense” of the protest zone. “I understand you want to open up society, you want a fair and equitable society, but just being airheaded about things behind a liberal ideology is not going to achieve that.”
– Gene Johnson reporting from Seattle for the Associated Press

Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkin is stepping down after a tumultuous year of handling the Covid pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone that drew national attention.
Gun violence has become an even worse problem in Seattle in recent months, as it has in many other major cities. And then there are the encampments of homeless people in the city’s parks and on the sidewalks and under freeway overpasses that need urgent attention.

So there is a 15-way race underway for Mayor of Seattle, and Seattleites are electing two candidates in tomorrow’s primary election. The top two will face off in a general election in November.

I for one, and for once, cast my vote for more moderate or conservative (gasp!) candidates— for mayor, as well as for each of the two city council positions that were on my ballot.

Cartoon from the online edition of alternative Seattle newspaper The Stranger at The caption reads:
We spy with our stoned little eyes: Jenny Durkan hobnobbing with cops, Jessyn Farrell testing out some innovative childcare infrastructure, Andrew Grant Houston posing with a constituent, antifascists schooling Bruce Harrell on the field, Lorena González netting a can of tear gas, Colleen Echohawk constructing some housing, Casey Sixkiller sweeping up someone else’s personal property, and a city emerging from a pandemic to confront yet another summer of smoky skies. [Illustration by JAMES YAMASAKI]

Monday/ new mural on 17th Ave

I stumbled onto this mural that wraps around the brick building at 1633 17th Ave on my walk tonight. It features the young poet Amanda Gorman, that read her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ during President Biden’s inauguration. The artist is Gretchen Leggitt. Sadly, there is already some vandal’s graffiti on the artwork. Zero respect.

From Gretchen Leggitt @g2legit on Instagram:
– Amanda Gorman

This is my latest mural in Seattle, WA located just blocks away from the #CHAZ. In 2020, protesters claimed this as an autonomy zone to fight for human rights through art, words, peace and unfortunately some with violence. I do not care to make any comments about this autonomy zone, but I do want to comment on the respect I have for the brave people who have passionately sparked and fought for the 21st century civil rights awaking. @blklivesmatter

I do not endorse violence or destruction. Instead I endorse voices of reason and peace. @amandascgorman was that voice for me when she shared her poem The Hill We Climb with the world. Her words spoke of perseverance, resilience and hope for ALL humans, which inspired this mural.