West Seattle, Washington
Hizzoner was at the track today. I suppose in honor of the marquee race of the day, the “Seattle Handicap” — had to have some authentic Seattle-ness on hand, since the track itself is in Auburn. We heard him announced but didn’t personally see him; we did, however, actually see a local TV celebrity (Dan Lewis from channel 4) hanging out with some horse owners in the area where they show off the contenders before each race. First time we’d been to the track in a couple years; didn’t win a dime, but it was good times hanging out in the fresh air and trying to pretend we have a clue about the difference between a “trifecta” and an “exacta.”
-First day of the new season of the West Seattle Farmers’ Market. I won’t make it there this week but if you see this before 2 pm, there’s still time for you to check it out!
-The Water Taxi hits the bay tomorrow. The official celebration’s not till next Sunday, but the WSB clan can’t wait to climb on board for the Maritime Festival next Saturday (which includes great freebie secrets that few people seem to catch on to, including free harbor cruises and free admission to the underattended Odyssey Maritime Museum).
-This one is West Seattle-related only because every Starbucks in the country, WS and elsewhere, has been promoting it: Akeelah and the Bee is actually a very good movie. Wonderful cast. No matter how cold-hearted and cynical you are, it will grab you. (Local aside, looks like our regional spelling bee was just a month ago. The champ came from the Eastside. I can’t find any evidence we’ve ever had one from our side of the pond.)
A WSB reader just left a comment here saying the new Junction joint Talarico’s is 21-and-up only. If that’s indeed so, it’s unfortunate. I believe that’s also the case with Matador — at least as far as I could tell from one walk-by. West 5 manages to have a vibrant bar and all-ages restaurant co-exist in close quarters; why lock out families unless you’re truly doing something adults-only in your place, such as, oh, say, stripping? A lot of kids I know are better diners than a fair amount of immature adults. I’ve got nothing against 21-and-over taverns, but if you’re going to bill yourself as a restaurant, it doesn’t make sense to me to shut out the kids. Seattle already has a pathetically low percentage of households with kids — and this won’t help. (rant off)
Interesting story this morning with some West Seattle stats — a city scheme to allow more development with less parking. Very nice of them to do that after our big chance at rapid non-bus transit died a miserable death.
What no one seems to ever realize about all this is that it’s not a matter of people being lazy — it’s a matter of time. Workdays now run way past 8 hours. Kids’ activities are now intensely scheduled. We all spend time hurtling frantically between all the places we “have to be,” trying to make the times we “have to” be there.
The world HQ of WSB, for example, is in a pure residential neighborhood without a single business within a mile in ANY direction. I enjoy walking to some of those businesses — WHEN THERE’S TIME. When there’s not, the closest bus runs on a very inconvenient schedule, never more than once every half-hour. All this means — gotta use the car whether I really WANT to walk, or not. Do these new policies mean I’m supposed to sell the house and move into a business-close condo? Or that I have to tell my bosses I CAN’T work a 10-hour day, I need those two extra hours to walk back and forth to the store? Or will Ron Sims’ “buses every 10 minutes everywhere” plan really come to MY neighborhood?
What’s your take on all this?
Sounds like an ugly crash late last night, the one along Alki that killed two people. I love going to the beach at night and looking out at the lights across the bay … but especially as the weather warms up, things do get a little out of hand. Sad way to start the warm-weather season.
Drove thru the Junction tonight — looks like the new Talarico’s pizza joint in the old New Luck Toy space (sign flashes PIZZA/LOUNGE/PIZZA/LOUNGE) is open already! Just a few hours earlier, someone had passed by and reported to us that “someone was in there stocking the bar …” wow. Don’t know if this was opening night or not; gonna have to check it out posthaste and report to y’all.
Don’t have a link yet but I hear the Seattle City Council is going to take a grudging look at whether the third option — tear down the viaduct and do NOT build a new one OR a tunnel — might fly.
… free ride … as that ’70s band once sang … You all know what water taxi nuts we are. Postcard just came today from Councilguy Dow — the big season-starting celebration is Sunday 5/7, with FREE RIDES ALL DAY!
Some days back, WSB visitor Kathleen enlightened us as to the fate of the woman I remembered as “the bird lady of Beach Drive.” Now I’ve finally figured out what happened to a woman I could correspondingly call “the travel lady of California Avenue” — She runs a business called Cruises by Kay, which until a few years ago was housed in a house on the east side of Cali Ave, just south of the Morgan Junction biz district. Then she moved to a smaller house on the other side of Cali Ave; the previous house went down, condos went up. Now the house that used to bear her signs is also targeted for the wrecking ball (backhoe), and the building permit site says townhouses are going up. Rooting around a Web site for her agency, I found an address that suggests she moved to Bremerton. I hear that’s a hot neighborhood for real-estate gentrification too …
I’m not deeply into live music, so all I can say is, just don’t ever try mixing the music festival with the Fourth of July again … that happened at least once in the late ’90s, and I remember being at the beach and trying to reconcile the splendor of the fireworks with the grungy dirge of the 10 pm stage act … yii.
… so are the days of our West Seattle Lives?
Don’t know if “Days of Our Lives” is even around or, if it is, whether it still starts with something like that. Inspiration is this blog entry by somebody who seems to be mulling the creation of a soap set in West Seattle.
In my neighborhood, it wouldn’t be sex and other sassiness, it would be people slugging it out over hedge-trimming and obnoxious pets …
The trilling of birds outside my window reminds me that one of the joys of spring/summer is upon us … watching and hearing a variety of little beauties as they emerge from winter hibernation and/or return from migration. I am no expert but I know the names of the main players — especially the gorgeous Steller’s jays that love to hop around our tiny yardspaces, the great blue herons that turn up along the Beach Drive shores during low tides, and the flickers (woodpeckers) with their splashes of red. And of course, we have eagles. My great fear is that these birds’ visibility and viability will dwindle as has been the case with sea life; when we moved to WS more than a decade ago, it wasn’t hard to spot sea lions on almost any given day, including their fin-waving “rafting” group behavior on occasion, but now it’s a rarity.
Anyway, enjoy the birds. Looks like the real “pros” have identified this as prime time too.
The Elliott Bay Water Taxi home page now links to the full array of info for this year’s sailing season, which starts a week from Monday. Can’t wait. But we notice at least one change … note the line “The Water Taxi does not issue [Metro] transfers.” In previous years, a crew member has gone around during the trip and offered transfers, which sometimes meant a cheaper ride back, if you were only going downtown for an hour or so — maybe that was the problem.
While checking out the Cupcake Royale/Talarico’s Pizza progress in the Junction the other night, we noticed some remod is going on in the former Urban Fitness space. Just looked up construction permits for that address — and one permit is for Super Supplements! Checked out their site, and sure enough, the vitamin megastore is coming soon to that spot.
As much as we love Alki’s own Statuette of Liberty, spending time debating which way it faces seems just a bit out o’whack.
However, if you’re wondering about our viewpoint, we vote for east. The Mayans built their temples so shrines would face that way, since that’s where the sun rises. So what the heck. Let’s build the statue a pyramid pedestal too. Then someday tourists will marvel over the mystical ruins of Alki, and … OK, sorry, got carried away there.
Tomorrow night (Thursday), Madison Middle School here in West Seattle is the site of the first hearing on the latest Seattle Public Schools closure plan-in-the-works. From the sound of articles like this, more SPS parents are resigned to the idea of closures. Why aren’t we putting pressure on higher-up leaders for more school $ instead? Why are our city and state leaders running around wasting even one iota of breath on a whiny sports team that wants hundreds of millions of dollars, when schools are so deeply in need? Reminds me of the poignant old bumper sticker that said something like, “It’ll be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the military has to have a bake sale to build a bomb.” Let’s make a new version: “It’ll be a great day when schools have all the $ they need and sports teams have to have bake sales to get new stadiums.”
Stroll through the Junction and you can get a good closeup look at what’s going on inside the ex-Ben-&-Jerry’s-turning-cupcake-joint and the ex-New-Luck-Toy-turning-pizzeria. The former isn’t really much more than a ripped-out shell, though a flyer on the window promises a “mid-May” opening; the latter has made much more progress, and the past two nights, windows fronting on Cali Ave have been so wide open, you could literally stick your head in and watch crews working into the night. Looks like it’s going to be gorgeous in there, BTW. Which reminds me, the very last paragraph of this Seattle Weekly article has a report about who’s behind the pizzeria, in case you missed it.
Oh goody, a new transportation tax idea.
The reason many of us don’t take buses to work is NOT the fact they don’t run every 10 minutes. My challenges alone include safety, odd scheduling, and route quirks (unless you work downtown, you have to deal with some kind of transfer). And then, as the afore-linked article mentions, there’s the little problem of, where will the buses go once the Viaduct goes …
I just know this will all eventually turn into a water-taxi ride followed by a very long walk. Which STILL will likely get me to work before a Byzantine series of bus-route transfers, twists and turns.