Thursday/ a sunset stroll

We had 75 °F (24 °C) in the city today, a record high for the day on the calendar. I made it out of the house just as the sun was setting at 8 pm for a walk around the block.

Here’s the view from 14th Ave & Thomas St, looking west towards the Space Needle with the sun below the peaks of the Olympic Mountains.
We’re losing one of the neighborhood’s grocery stores on April 24, the QFC on 15th Ave. It is owned by Kroger Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kroger is the United States’ largest supermarket by revenue, and they cited the $4-per-hour hazard pay surcharge for grocery store workers (that the King County Council had enacted), as a reason to close the store. Capitalism at its finest?
Nice to see that the outdoors space at the Rione XIII restaurant on 15th Ave has a number of customers. Here in King County indoor dining is now allowed at 50%. Three counties in Washington State were moved back to Phase 2 (25% for restaurants) just this week, due to their increase in Covid-19 case counts.

Wednesday/ at Harborview Medical Center

At 7.45 am, I joined the social-distanced line of a dozen of so, outside the nondescript little building at the back of Harborview Medical Center— thankful that I was wearing my padded jacket (47 °F/ 8 °C).

By 8.00 am I was in the door. Hey, you and I have the same birthday, said the young woman that checked me in. I filled out a form with a few questions, and then went to one of the 5 stations with a nurse, for my shot. (I got Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, not Moderna’s).

Three weeks to tick by, and then I can get the second shot. It feels good to have the first one.

The Facilities & Engineering building on Terrace Ave (on the right) is where the Harborview hospital’s vaccination clinic is run out of. I had just exited down the stairs.
One of the hospital’s delivery gates. I’m making my way back to the big parking garage overlooking I-% and downtown Seattle.
I love the Art Deco detail on the buildings. The construction was completed around 1931.
The entrance off Eighth Avenue. Harborview Medical Center is the only level 1 trauma center* for Washington State. *Capable of providing complete, life-saving care for the most seriously ill or injured patients, through rehabilitation.
The roof of the parking garage off Eighth Avenue, across from the entrance to the hospital. Last year in November I thought the PEACE letters was for the holidays, but looks like it has became a permanent installation (and why not). That’s Columbia Center (cpl. 1985) and Seattle Municipal Tower (1990) in the back.

Tuesday/ a stroll to Pike & Pine

We had 59°F (15°C) here in the city today, and I took a stroll down to Pike and Pine.
The little green space called Williams Park, by Safeway on 15th Ave, still have a few homeless campers. The little bit of grassiness there has taken a beating, but overall it is tidier and cleaner than it has been in months. The City of Seattle should find housing for these campers, though, and force them to move, if they have to. The city’s parks and green spaces cannot be used for homeless encampments.
That’s the Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Campus on the left (medical center).
‘BE PREPARED TO STOP’ says the street sign: not something America is willing to do anymore, regarding the pandemic. Last night 38,000 baseball fans crowded into a stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the season-opener game there. Easter Weekend traveler numbers at many airports were up 3- or 4- or 5-fold from this time last year. Meanwhile, hospitals & clinics still report 65,000 new cases every day, and 700+ deaths.
I like the lightning bolt by the entrance at Sunset Electric Apartments, and the ‘Healthcare Worker The Superhero’ artwork (I made up the title).
On the left edge of the picture is the cement block barricade & fencing around the East Precinct police station. It is supposed to come down soon, but I suspect they are going to wait for a verdict in the George Floyd case. All hell is going to break loose (by way of street protests) here in Seattle again, if a ‘not guilty’ on all counts is found for the defendant Derek Chauvin.
Towards the street corner the windows  are still boarded up, but hopefully those will come down in the months to come, as well.
The Black Lives Matter paintwork on East Pine Street made it through the winter months and still looks decent.

Monday/ the Bulldogs lost

The Gonzaga Bulldogs lost in their bid to win the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball title, 70-86. Congrats to the Baylor Bears.

I could not watch the end of the game and went for a quick walk. This is 8.00 pm on 15th Ave & Mercer St (sunset is now at 7.45 pm). The Canterbury Ale House sports bar on my right is still closed, which is surprising. (Bars can be open, with restrictions). The Olympia Pizza House with its outside seating (behind me, not shown in the picture), was noisy and had a good attendance.

Wednesday/ fair weather & a ferry

We got to 61 °F (16 °C) here in the city today.
Late afternoon I braved the rush-hour traffic on I-5, to get to West Seattle for a little doubles tennis.

It’s now optional to play with a mask — outside or indoors (at Amy Yee Tennis Center). I decided to keep mine on until I get vaccinated.
The governor announced today, that here in Washington State, from April 15th on, everyone 16 & older will qualify for the vaccine.

I had a little time on my hands before the tennis, and stopped at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal to check out the action there. Here is the 5.15 pm ferry (the Issaquah), just departing for Vashon Island.

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!

Monday/ the many meanings of corona

co·ro·na
/kəˈrōnə/

From the Latin word corona, mid-16th century, meaning ‘wreath, crown’.
Architecture: a circular chandelier in a church, or a part of a cornice having a broad vertical face.
Astronomy: the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars.
Biology: the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or narcissus flower.
Medical: coronavirus is any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins.
Physics: the glow around a conductor at high potential.
Smoking: a long, straight-sided cigar.


It was only 45 °F (7 °C) for my late-afternoon stroll around the block today, but hey, now there is an hour more of sunshine.

Daffodils (genus Narcissus) at the corner of 18th Avenue & Republican St. The cup-shaped structure at the center of the flower is called the corona. Yes, the term has come to have decidedly negative connotations, I guess. Maybe it’s best to just shrug it off. We even have apartment buildings in the city called Corona Apartments and Corona Lofts.

Sunday/ Denny Way & 5th Ave

I went on a beer run today to track down some of my favorite German beer. (The grocery store was out of stock, and my own supplies were running dangerously low).
On the way back there was a break in the rain, and so I stopped at Denny Way and 5th Avenue to take a few pictures.

Nice to see that Fat City, the ‘German car clinic’ is still there, at Denny Way and 5th Avenue. (They’ve been there since 1972). The Space Needle is not far away (on the right).
There goes the Seattle Center Monorail train, doing its 0.9 mile run from the Space Needle, and running along 5th Ave to Westlake Center in downtown.
The new Seattle Spire condominiums on Denny Way, officially at 600 Wall Street, has 41 storeys. (The building does not taper to the top; the vertical lines are just bent by the wide-angle panorama shot).  The two light gray towers on the left are those of the Insignia Towers condominiums (also 41 storeys), completed in 2016.
Here’s a little skyline of Amazon’s buildings, seen from the corner of Battery St & 6th Ave. The big square building with the ‘key slot’ in the middle is Amazon Nitro North, the black one in the back, to its right, Amazon re: Invent, and the tall rectangular towers on the right are Amazon Day 1 and Amazon Doppler behind it. There’s a whole lot of Amazon buildings downtown, and I don’t know the ones in the middle, such as that light blue one. I  will have to find out, so that I can annotate my picture. The blue Porsche is a 911, I think. (I’m no Porsche expert).

Thursday/ maybe it will be May, for me

Washington State has published new dates and target groups that qualify for getting the vaccine. I’m not making the cut, yet.

President Biden has promised that there will be enough vaccine doses for all Americans by the end of May*.  It takes a lot of logistics to get that vaccine injected into people, of course.

*For example, Merck and Johnson & Johnson will collaborate to ramp up vaccine production, with the help of the federal government.

Descriptions of the groups that qualify next for the vaccine. I’m not sure how if or how it will be verified that a person has two or more comorbidities.
And here is Washington State’s timeline for Covid-19 cases. We’re down to about 1/3 of the highs in December, but still double where we were in September of last year. The state has now crossed the 5,000 mark as far as recorded Covid-19 fatalities. A little bit of good news: so far, this is the mildest flu season in the 25 years that records have been kept. Of course, it kind of should be: people are wearing masks and not congregating in large numbers.

Monday/ R Place to lose its place

I saw only today (it had been announced in early February), that the gay bar called R Place will not be able to renew its lease at its 619 East Pine Street location, after 35 years there.  Apparently it’s not due to the pandemic. The owner of the Pine Street building had died and the estate did not renew R Place’s lease.

The managers of R Place vowed to find a new location, but the loss of the four floors at the Pine Street location is a very big one for the LGBTQ community.
It feels similar to the loss of the beloved CC Seattle complex’s entertainment venue and bars, at the corner of Madison & 15th Avenue. (This was in Sept. 2010, to make way for the office building called the Bullitt Center).

The R Place location at 619 East Pine St. I took this picture a year ago, in Feb. 2020.
The building dates back to Capitol Hill’s auto row and is believed to have been a Ford Model T showroom, complete with a car elevator, the remnants of which can still be seen inside the four-story structure. The building must date back to say, 1911, or a little later. At that time, 31 of the city’s 41 car dealers were located on either East Pike Street or Broadway, joined by dozens of businesses catering to an entirely new class of consumers:  motorists. [Information from ‘Pike/ Pine Auto Row’ by John Caldbick at https://www.historylink.org/]

Friday/ Paradise is snowed in

There is a lot of snow on the slopes of Washington State’s mountains this year, in some places already 10% above normal.

These pictures of the Paradise visitor center at Mt Rainier were posted on the Twitter account from the National Weather Service (Seattle) @NWSSeattle.

JULY This picture is dated Jul 17, 2017. It’s high summer, but late in the day with the long shadows, which is probably why there are not many cars in the parking lot.
FEBRUARY This snapshot was recorded this morning, Feb 26, 2021. The US Dept. of Agriculture snow telemetry report says there is 16 feet (4.9 m) of snow on the ground there as of today, and that the air temp. has averaged 25°F (-4°C) the last few days.

Thursday/ earthquake alerts

My phone got the test alert this morning. I expected it, but the sound still startled me.

On Sunday, it will be 20 years since the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake that occurred here in the Puget Sound basin, on Feb. 28, 2001.

We’re soon getting a smartphone ‘shake alert’ system that will produce as much as a 30-sec. heads-up, that earthquake tremors are on the way (see diagram below). Thirty seconds or less — so this is not the time to panic and freeze.  

My plan is to duck under my dining room table — or to run into the smallest room (the guest bathroom). The upstairs bathroom would be the plan for the second floor.

And if you’re driving?
US Geological Survey (USGS) recommends :
– Move your car as far out of traffic as possible.
– Do not stop on/ under a bridge or overpass or under trees, light posts, power lines, or signs.
– Stay inside your car until the shaking stops.
– When you resume driving, watch for breaks in the pavement, fallen rocks, and bumps in the road at bridge approaches.

Earthquake early warning systems like ShakeAlert® work because an alert can be transmitted almost instantaneously, whereas the shaking waves from the earthquake travel through the shallow layers of Earth at speeds of one to a few km/ sec (0.5 to 3 mi/ sec).  When an earthquake occurs, both compressional (P) waves and transverse (S) waves radiate outward from the epicenter. The P wave, which travels fastest, trips sensors placed in the landscape, transmitting data to a ShakeAlert® processing center where the location, size, and estimated shaking of the earthquake are determined. If the earthquake fits the right profile a ShakeAlert® message is issued by the USGS. The message is picked up by ShakeAlert® partners (cell phone service providers) which could be used to produce an alert to notify people to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On and/or trigger an automated action.
[Image created by Erin Burkett (USGS) and Jeff Goertzen (Orange County Register) and updated by Robert de Groot (USGS)].

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. Apartments.com 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.

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.

Sunday/ the snow has stopped

There was more snow this morning, and into early afternoon (maybe an inch), but that was it.
The official tally for the city, for Saturday, is 8.9 in.
Temperatures will now stay above freezing, even tonight, and slowly rise every day. The snow on the ground has already started to melt.

Sunday, 1.20 pm. Still a little snow sifting down. Look for the snowman in the picture. My neighbors across the back alley cleared the snow around, and from their little blue car. Mine is still kind of stuck in the garage, with a lot of snow outside. That’s my out-of-use phone landline to the house, across the garage. For a brief time, it touched the thick blanket of snow on the roof.
Sunday, 4.15 pm. I had just run out with my regular-issue shovel (got to get a snow shovel, those wide plastic ones), to clear the walkway to my house, and the sidewalk in front of the house (not visible in the picture), as best I could. Not that I expect any visitors! .. but now the mailman can put junk mail in my mailbox, and Amazon can drop packages on my porch.

Saturday/ it’s snowing dude, for real

Here are some snow pictures from today.

Hellooo .. snow, and lots of it, by my back door on the deck. We almost never get this much snow in the city.
Let’s see how much we have (this is Sat. 2 pm): 11 in., just about. This does include the little bit of snow from Thursday which was no more than 1 inch. So we’re well over the 4-8 inches that Seattle was projected to get, and we may very well end up with a foot of snow in the city. That would be a top three value recorded, ever. There were 10″ and 20″ events on two separate days in Jan. 1950, and 14.9″ on Jan. 27, 1969. However, these are dwarfed by the legendary Big Snow of Jan. 1880, which lasted a whole week, and had snowfall that measured several feet (there is no official record of the exact amount).
The snow is soft and powdery. The footwear I have on here, is woefully inadequate. Help! I need snow shoes, or Wellington boots!
This is 16th Avenue at 10 am this morning.
15th Avenue (at 10 am) looked a little more solid, just because a few more intrepid drivers negotiated it this morning. The city does not have many snow plows, but hopefully they will get to the arterials such as 15th Ave. at some point.

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/ the 1920’s and the electric home

There were no cars in front of The Parkhurst apartment building on 14th Avenue, as I walked by, just before dark.
So I snapped a picture, to check up on its history at home.
Here is what I found.

The Parkhurst apartment building on 14th Ave. It was built in 1929 by builder & developer Gardner J. Gwinn (inset picture). A native from Nova Scotia, Canada, he moved to Seattle in 1909 at the age of 21. At the time the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition (a world’s fair) was underway (on the site now occupied by the University of Washington), and the city was booming.
Gwinn was a prolific home builder, and was selected by the Electric Club of Seattle to promote and market ‘Electric Homes’. In the very beginning, homes were wired with only the basics for electric lighting. ‘Electric homes’ had electric outlets & more extensive wiring for electric appliances in the kitchen and elsewhere in the house. [From the Seattle Times Archives, Sept. 24, 1922].
It’s 97 years later, but both of the homes pictured above in the 1924 Seattle Times, are still standing. This picture of the top one is from Google Streetview.
From the same Seattle Times supplement from 1924, an article that promotes the ‘modern home’ that has electricity. Vacuum cleaner, washing machine, 6-pound flat iron, toaster, percolator, stove, sewing machine .. who could resist? The nationwide electrical grid was still under construction, though. In 1925, only about half of homes in the US had access to electricity at all.

Saturday/ cleaned out

Superb Cleaners dry cleaners on 15th Avenue has gone out of business.
No wonder, right?
In a stay-home-pandemic, people do not need much dry cleaning — not for business trips, not for the opera, and not for a Saturday night dinner party at a fancy friend’s house.

2021: Permanently closed, Superb Cleaners on 15th Avenue. Time will tell if another dry cleaning business will be operated in that space, or if another kind of business altogether will set up shop.
1955: The Hill Top Cafe, Philco Radio & TV shop, and Superb Cleaners with its original scaffolded sign. ‘Complete Plant’ simply means the dry cleaning is done right there on site, and not sent out somewhere else for cleaning. 
P.S. That stylish wagon with its white-wall tires and wood trim is a 1955 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon. 
[Source: Seattle Before and After at http://octopup.org/]