Happy 2006! Here are some completely random highlights of 2005 on the west side:
*Continuing mallization of Westwood Village: The new wings with Barnes & Noble and Pier 1 opened. The real highlight of B & N: the desserts in its cafe — from Cheesecake Factory. (Get the cheesecake, without the big meal tab! Yee-ha!)
*Death of the monorail: I’m personally puzzled as to why even West Seattle turned against it in the end. Yeah, the folks running it made some mistakes. Ultimately, though, they would have worked it out, and we would have had true mass transit. Take a look at the old trolley photos outside the train store in the Junction; sigh and know we won’t see anything like that again in our lifetimes.
*Monorail property moves: West Seattle Herald takes up a much more visible spot, in the Admiral Junction. I gather they’re bitter about being forced from their old headquarters, but honestly, this is a better place, and might help more locals wake up to the fact that we actually have something resembling a community paper.
*Mondo condos: Wherever zoning permitted, single-family homes came down, and condo/townhouse buildings went up. Most notably, ex-monorail board member Cindi Laws’ old garden house site in Alki. I do miss the morning glories. Runner-up for most notable site, the condo building that’s almost done, just south of Caffe Ladro. I didn’t really believe all that bluster a couple years ago about Trader Joe’s, but nonetheless, this is a bit of a relief.
*SW Community Center improvements: The basketball court is nice, but why couldn’t they have allocated a few bucks to expand the changing facilities for the pool? Check out other city pools and you’ll realize just how pathetically cramped this site is. Well, atÃ‚Â least we still have a pool. Two, in fact, when summer arrives and Lowman Pool opens for its mini-season. (Is it May yet? Hurrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeee ….)
*Greg Nickels re-inaugurated: We’re not likely to have such power concentrated here in WS, once he’s gone, unless Dow Constantine decides to go for it (go, Dow, go!). Although I wish he would just make peace with his plus-size body — watched him a few minutes ago on the “New Year’s at the Needle” broadcast telling the anchor-clones he’s hoping to lose weight in ’06. Look, Greggie, we love you just the way you are. Really.
*Speaking of food: My New Year’s resolution is to find out what all the pho fuss is about, now that the Than Brothers have arrived in our part of town.