West Seattle, Washington
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a Day of Service for many – among them, thousands of volunteers organized via United Way of King County. Dozens of them are helping out at WestSide Baby‘s regional headquarters in White Center – including a big group of Starbucks workers, many of whom brought along their own kids.
WestSide Baby relies on a lot of volunteer help to “process gently used donated items and prepare them to be distributed to children in our community … quality checking clothing items, getting clothes on our shelves and filling actual orders from hundreds of social workers who help local low-income families.” Among the items they’re quality-checking, car seats:
The MLK Day of Service also points out that “WestSide Baby is the only social service agency in West King county area that collects, inspects and distributes free diapers, clothing, cribs and safety gear for babies and children. More than 114 local social service agencies, including shelters and food banks, rely upon us to provide critical necessities for low-income families.” WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland says they have an ongoing need for volunteers, especially with car seats.
Contact WS Baby if you can help – here’s how.
No calendar-highlights list today because of the overnight windstorm, but if you check the calendar itself, you’ll see a few events including this – the West Seattle Rainbow Girls‘ annual Christmas tree recycling event at the Masonic Center in The Junction. We just went over to be sure the storm hadn’t changed their plans and confirmed they ARE there in the parking lot (40th/Edmunds), taking trees by donation until 1 pm (that’s an earlier cutoff time than announced) – that’s Laurel in our photo. Unlike curbside recycling, you don’t have to cut your tree into sections to drop it off.
Now that the holidays are over, so is the 10th season of West Seattle Lights. Received tonight from the music-synched light show’s creator Jim Winder:
I would just like to thank everyone in and around the West Seattle area for coming to see West Seattle Lights and for donating to our two charities, The West Seattle Food Bank and Northwest Parkinson Foundation. Because of your generosity, we were able to deliver to the West Seattle Food Bank over
300660 pounds in foodstuffs along with $402 and another $402 to NW Parkinson Foundation!! Thank You! Thank You!! Thank You!!! for a great holiday season!!!!
(If you enjoyed WSL this year, you can still donate to its charities online.)
The West Seattle Lights display (which we showcased on Christmas Eve this year) is at a home where friends of Jim’s live. He also now runs a show in Maple Valley.
15 minutes before hundreds ran in and out of Puget Sound for this year’s Alki Beach New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim, organizer Mark Ufkes hollered that the water was warmer than the air – 46 degrees and 36 degrees respectively.
Did you notice the fireboat in the background in that clip? Here’s what it did after most were out of the water:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 1, 2019
Of course there were plenty of sights on the beach – hats and masks, for example:
Or declaration of Rose Bowl allegiance:
Organizer Mark sported closer-to-home college gear (plus the pink trunks he explained in his announcement of the event):
He also brought TSA-auction-bought corkscrews again for pink-wearing swimmers:
But for many, it was all about the thrill and the chill …
… with a bonfire awaiting some as a reward.
P.S. This year brings a second “polar” swim to Alki – as we reported last month, the Special Olympics of Washington Polar Plunge fundraiser is returning to West Seattle waters for the first time since 2011. February 9th is the date and they’re hoping for a sizable enough turnout to set a record.
2018 2019! Here’s information you might find helpful on this New Year’s Day, interspersed with photos from the midnight fireworks (THANK YOU to everyone who sent photos!)
NEW YEAR’S DAY WALKS: Emerald City Wanderers are hosting 5- and 10-kilometer walks in West Seattle, sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association, noncompetitive. Start any time between 9 am and noon from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. Routes go through North Admiral, with 10K walkers heading down to Jack Block Park. Hot soup and snacks! (3050 California SW)
NEW YEAR’S DAY ALKI POLAR BEAR SWIM: 10 am sharp on the beach across from Duke’s – you’re advised to be there by 9:45. Here’s the original announcement. (57th SW/Alki SW)
NEW YEAR’S DAY FITNESS: Yoga and Nia classes this morning! See our Holiday Guide for info.
RESTAURANTS THAT TOLD US THEY WOULD BE OPEN TODAY: Here’s our list – with the annual caveat that some establishments may have changed their plan since we called, so if you discover a discrepancy, please let us know – thank you!
TRANSIT/TRANSPORTATION INFO: Sunday schedule for Metro today … No Water Taxi service … Sound Transit Express buses are on Sunday schedules … Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on its regular weekday schedule … No charge for street parking in neighborhoods where the city has pay stations.
TRASH/RECYCLING: No pickup today, and everyone’s schedule slides a day again this week, same as last week.
SEATTLE PARKS FACILITIES: Here’s the list from Parks – what’s closed, what’s open.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND OTHER INFO FOR TODAY/TONIGHT … see the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
First, the final sunset of the year:
Thanks to Chris Frankovich for that photo. Next one is from Susan Romanenghi:
As we observed while tweeting a different view earlier, looks like Mount Rainier is wearing a party hat. And speaking of party:
West Seattle Junction venues with New Year’s Eve specials have gold balloons outside to entice you in – see the list here, and have a great (safe) celebration! Thanks again to everyone who shared photos, tips, reader reports, and more this year … 206-293-6302 or firstname.lastname@example.org any time!
Happy last day/night of 2018! What you need to know for the next 12-plus hours:
NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER AT ITTO’S: Itto’s Tapas (WSB sponsor) is taking reservations online for 5 pm and 9 pm seatings with a special prix-fixe dinner tonight. (4160 California SW)
OTHER RESTAURANTS: Our holiday list now contains the West Seattle restaurants that told us they would be open New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day. See it here, and please remember that it was compiled in advance, so there’s always a chance an establishment has changed its plans – 206-293-6302, text or voice, if you have an update to share; thank you!
NEW YEAR’S EVE WALKS: Emerald City Wanderers invites you to walk a 5K or 10K route from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church – start any time between 4 pm and 7 pm:
The New Year’s Eve 5 kilometer route winds through the holiday lights in the Admiral neighborhood and Junction. The 10 kilometer route also enjoys neighborhood holiday lights, heads down to Alki and features the lights on and around Puget Sound, Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle. Flashlights helpful.
This event is hosted by the Emerald City Wanderers and St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, and is sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association. Information about volkssports will be available.
No fee; hot soup and snacks! Noncompetitive. (3050 California SW)
NOT-SO-SILENT NIGHT PARADE: All welcome to the traditional neighborhood noisemaking parade in Highland Park – meet outside HP Improvement Club at 6 pm. Optional – stay for the New Year’s Eve party inside HPIC afterward! (1116 SW Holden)
NEW YEAR’S EVE FAMILY PARTY: Want to celebrate 2019 early? You can do it at South Park Hall:
We are having our 6th annual Family Party at South Park Hall from 7-9 pm. $10/person over 2 years old. Each kid gets access to the hot cocoa bar and a gift bag. We will have a countdown on the big screen with the East Coast, and music.
(1053 S. Cloverdale)
REMINDER – FREE NEW YEAR’S EVE RIDES ON METRO: 7 pm-4 am. Details here.
NEW SPACE NEEDLE LIGHT SHOW 2 HOURS BEFORE THE FIREWORKS: If you’re planning on spending part of your New Year’s Eve looking at the Space Needle – as noted here over the weekend, there’s a new 10 pm laser light show this year in addition to the midnight fireworks.
PREVIEW 2019 … via our complete calendar!
This seems new. pic.twitter.com/dKnvcT7Gdw
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 30, 2018
We tweeted that after being somewhat startled to see the Space Needle come into view from Alki earlier tonight with those huge pink lights burning bright. Well … huge magenta lights. We figured it had something to do with T-Mobile‘s sponsorship of the upcoming New Year’s Eve fireworks, but that’s still two days away. Subsequent discussion on Twitter, and research, led to this announcement – with news that NYE will include a 10 pm light show from the Needle as well as the 10-minute fireworks display: “Cutting-edge lighting equipment installed throughout the structure will emit brilliant colors and beams of light across the tower and the Seattle night sky …” The Needle will be illuminated in magenta tomorrow night as well as Monday night pre-show, the announcement says. Will it be those big lights we saw tonight or a subtler glow? Guess we’ll see soon enough.
The New Year’s Eve/Day section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide continues to grow – from New Year’s Eve dining (including the special dinner at Itto’s Tapas [WSB sponsor]) through New Year’s morning fitness – plus we’ve just added another tree-cycling option for the first weekend of New Year’s. Browse it all here – and if you have an event, New Year’s holiday hours, etc., to add, please let us know!
Next Tuesday night’s forecast looks OK, so why not plan to be outside for a while? Both of these free activities are from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which we’re continuing to update for New Year’s Eve/Day (not too late to send YOUR listing):
WALKING: As announced by Emerald City Wanderers again this year, a 5K walk through Admiral and Alaska Junctions, starting from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church (3050 California SW) any time you choose, between 4 and 7 pm. Full details in our guide, and info on their New Year’s Day walks too!.
PARADING: The classic neighborhood all-ages noisemaker Not-So-Silent-Night Parade at 6 pm kicks off the Highland Park Improvement Club‘s New Year’s Eve party, which has a prom theme this year and launches HPIC’s centennial celebrations. Gather in the HPIC parking lot, with or without your noisemaker of choice – drum, rattle. Afterward, stay for the party if you want to – or head somewhere else if you don’t. (1116 SW Holden)
From Seattle Public Utilities: No huge rush to get your Christmas tree, wreath, and other holiday greenery out for recycling this year:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) invites Seattle residents to compost their Christmas trees and other holiday greens for free through January 31, 2019. Residents should place trees or bundled greens next to their food and yard waste cart on their collection day. Apartment residents may place two trees next to each food and yard waste cart on each collection day. Trees must be cut into lengths of four feet or less and all decorations, lights, tinsel, and other decorations must be removed.
In addition to curbside collection, Seattle residents may drop off trees and other holidays greens for free at SPU’s north or south transfer stations through January 31. Stations will accept up to three trees per vehicle.
Composting Christmas trees is just the beginning when it comes to holiday recycling. Many common holiday items can be recycled or reused. Customers can find out how to cut down on the amount of holiday waste that ends up in the landfill by checking SPU’s Where Does It Go tool.
P.S. Reminder that except for Monday customers, pickup is delayed one day this week and next since there was no pickup on Christmas Day and won’t be any on New Year’s Day.
Of course our Christmas Day lights spotlight would be West Seattle’s brightest display. Thanks to Robert Spears for sharing these photos of the Menashe Family Lights from earlier this season. You’ll find them at 5605 Beach Drive SW as the holiday season continues.
You can see all the lights we’ve showcased this year by scrolling through this WSB archive (and prior years if you keep scrolling!).
Merry Christmas! We as usual start the holiday by presenting info you might find helpful:
TRANSIT CHANGES/TRAFFIC INFO: Metro is on a Sunday schedule … No Water Taxi service … Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is on a regular weekday schedule … Sound Transit holiday-schedule info is here … Check traffic cams here, travel times here.
RESTAURANTS THAT TOLD US THEY’LL BE OPEN TODAY/TONIGHT: Go here for the list (caveat: sometimes venues change their plan after our call, so if you find a discrepancy, please let us know – 206-293-6302 text or voice – thank you!).
GROCERY STORES OPEN TODAY: The three local Safeways are open 8 am-5 pm. Other West Seattle supermarkets are closed.
CHRISTMAS DAY CHURCH SERVICES: Three churches that shared their holiday schedules have Christmas Day services; that list is also in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
FREE CHRISTMAS DINNER: The Christmas People invite anyone who needs somewhere to go for a free Christmas dinner to join them noon-4 pm today at Alki Masonic Center. Buffet and live music. And/or if you can donate homemade cookies – drop them off starting at 9 am. (4736 40th SW)
TRASH/RECYCLING PICKUP/ETC. CHANGES: No pickup today or New Year’s Day, so Tuesday collections (and the rest of the week) slide a day this week and next.
GOING TO THE MOVIES: Admiral Theater (2343 California SW) is open today, starting at midafternoon.
WHERE TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TONIGHT: See the Holiday Guide.
Breaking-news tips? Lost/found pets? Traffic alerts? WSB continues to operate 24/7/365 – so the best way to reach us is 206-293-6302, text or voice. Have a wonderful day!
For tonight’s Christmas-lights spotlight, we visited West Seattle Lights, the music-synched display that’s in its 10th year at 3908 SW Charlestown. Since Jim Winder created West Seattle Lights in 2009, it’s inspire thousands of dollars (and thousands of pounds of food) in donations, plus it has a spinoff in Maple Valley. Since it’s Christmas Eve, the show’s running until midnight tonight (tomorrow too) – here’s the schedule. (To see other lights we’ve spotlighted, scroll through this WSB archive category.)
Three Christmas Eve views:
Barb spotted that at Alki this morning; below, a scene we happened onto in The Junction this afternoon:
Musicians from Vashon busking at Junction Plaza Park. pic.twitter.com/XsjH961hi3
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 24, 2018
And if you missed it … it was a glorious sunset. Several sent photos, including Marc:
He watched the sunset from the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook area on Beach Drive. Thanks as always for sharing photos – email@example.com or, if texting is easier, 206-293-6302!
Maybe you’ve seen this house, driving SW Morgan from Morgan Junction to High Point? It’s on the southeast corner of 37th/Morgan. As usual, the photo captures just part of the spirit … the star is animated, and both street-facing sides of this corner house are brightly lit. Scroll through this WSB archive category to see what we have featured – and check the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for ongoing light shows like West Seattle Lights – running until midnight on Christmas Eve!
Our annual list of restaurants that told us they’ll be open Christmas Eve and/or Day and/or New Year’s Eve and/or Day (at least one of the four) is here. It’s also linked in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which is where to go for the info we have on wrapping, shopping, churchgoing, groceries, coffee, lights … and we continue updating it until pretty much the last minute, so if you have something to add (including Christmas Eve retail hours for shoppers), please e-mail us ASAP, firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
This year, we are particularly susceptible to charming outdoor trees and stars in light displays … and this house in Gatewood has both. It’s one of several nice displays you’ll see on SW Portland; this one is on the south side of the street, west of 41st SW. Still a few nights until Christmas, so we appreciate suggestions – email@example.com – and you can see what we’ve featured so far by scrolling through this WSB archive category.
Photos can’t adequately capture the brightness of Wyatt‘s display on the northwest corner of 40th and Charlestown – two sides, with the Seahawks tribute (and some moving lights) on the south-facing side, and traditional Christmas symbols (including trees and Santas) out front:
Wyatt is just a few doors west of West Seattle Lights (the music-synched show at 3908 SW Charlestown), and some neighbors on 40th are well-lit too, so if you’re out to see a lot of lights without going to multiple streets, this is a good spot. Thanks to Wyatt for emailing us! See the lights we’ve already featured by scrolling through this WSB archive.
Again this year, Metro is offering free rides on New Year’s Eve. Here’s the announcement:
For the second year, King County Metro will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve. Rides will be free from 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, to 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, including DART and Access service. In addition, Metro will add buses to its night routes. The Seattle Streetcar also will be free on New Year’s Eve, and Sound Transit will extend the operating hours of Link light rail service between Angle Lake and the University of Washington.
“As we ring in another new year together, we are glad to again offer free rides on Metro to help keep the celebration safe for everyone,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We appreciate all our customers, and hope folks who give transit a try during the holiday season will join the half-million daily Metro riders who depend on our safe, friendly, and reliable service all year ’round.”
“Access to safe and reliable transportation is a cornerstone of Metro’s mission and New Years Eve is no exception. We hope existing and future riders will utilize Metro to help them celebrate the New Year this year,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who proposed the idea in 2017.
King County Metro will operate reduced weekday schedules on New Year’s Eve on some routes, with extra buses on several routes serving destinations such as Seattle Center, Capitol Hill and downtown. New Year’s revelers can take advantage of Metro’s recently expanded Night Owl network, with added service on major routes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Sound Transit will operate extended Link light rail service with trains running until 2 a.m. pm New Year’s Eve. The last trains to leave Westlake Station depart at 2 a.m.
The Seattle Streetcar will operate until 1 a.m.
Metro routes with added trips as needed will include 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 24, 32, 36, 40, 41, 62, 65, 70, 101, 106, 120, 124, 150, 255, RapidRide A, B, C, D and E lines, and ST 550 and ST 554. The fareboxes and ORCA card readers on Metro buses will be covered to remind customers not to pay. A regular valid fare will be required on Sound Transit Express buses.
This announcement as published on the county website also includes holiday service-change info for Christmas/New Year’s.
For everyone who’s been asking/wondering about this – Mark Ufkes has just sent the announcement: The West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim is on again, January 1, 2019, at Alki Beach:
There is no better way to wash away the complexities of 2018 and usher in the unlimited possibilities that 2019 holds for each of us than to run into Puget Sound, while holding hands with our family and friends and screaming like crazy.
We go into the water at 10 am sharp! Don’t be late.
We gather at 9:45 am on January 1 in front of Duke’s on Alki. We spread out east and west along beautiful Alki Beach in a long line. There will be 10-minute, 5-minute and 1-minute warnings, and at 10 seconds, together, we all begin counting down; 10-9-8-7 . . .
We then yell “Happy New Year,” hold hands with those next to us, and run into the water. It is all over in less than a minute.
Last year, well over 500 participated and a huge crowd cheered us on.
Again this year, all are encouraged to wear something pink into the water. You can wear pink for whatever reason you want; be it to honor your spectacular mom, to honor a dear friend who is fighting cancer, or to celebrate that finally, in 2019, girls will be able to become Eagle Scouts too (Yeah!). For me, I will be wearing pink for all these reasons and because for the first time in U.S. history, a state house legislative body, in Nevada no less, will have a women-majority legislature.
Whatever your personal reason, if you wear something pink into the water you will earn a gift. The first 200 people who wear something pink into the water will receive a free airport-confiscated wine bottle opener corkscrew that I won at a TSA auction. And hey kids, if you wear something pink, your parents must take charge of your free corkscrew and offer you something in trade. After the swim, there will be a table at the beach full of every kind of corkscrew you can imagine. Every swimmer wearing something pink can chose one as a gift.
What you should bring: Good water shoes, a large towel, a change of dry clothes, and your hopes and dreams for 2019.
What you should leave behind: Your fears, your inhibitions, and your self-doubt.
(See our 2018 video/photos here.) Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide‘s New Year’s Day section along with the New Year’s Eve/Day walk info that’s also just come in – if you have something open to the community that’s happening in West Seattle/White Center/South Park between now and New Year’s Day, there’s still time to send it – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Just a reminder with days to go until Christmas that the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide has helpful holiday info, including the newly added link to our list of which restaurants told us they’ll be open Christmas Eve and/or Day and/or New Year’s Eve and/or Day. Plus we have grocery-store hours for Christmas Eve/Day and 11 churches’ holiday-service plans. We’re continuing to update, so if you have info to add (or change), email@example.com – thanks!