West Seattle, Washington
(The Big Game)
Just back from one last survey of this half of WS before settling in for the game:
–In the Morgan Junction area, things are hopping — the Thriftway is as crazed as you might expect — Abbondanza was opening early for a Super Bowl party & also has window-writing urging drivers to honk if they’re cheering for the Hawks (not to mention, “hawking” the restaurant’s “3 live TVs!”).
–Just south of Morgan Junction, somebody lost a 12th *** (you-know-what; court injunction may prohibit me from actually typing it) flag from their car.
–At Westwood Village, the best pre-game shopping tip I can give you for future reference is: Rite-Aid. Lots of parking, and most of the items you really need. Affordable wine & beer, cheap chips, and paper plates/plastic cups in abundant supply. Sure beat trying to slog through the crowds at Target.
Now, the pre-pre-pre-game show is in full force, time to start rooting for wardrobe malfunctions and for the score to wind up with me winning the office pool. Go team!
I was going to chug out a rant here about driving down California Avenue SW and spotting only two “Go Hawks” marquees. Then the thought presented itself: Really, how many potential “Go Hawks” marquees/signboards/whatever-you-want-to-call-them? Darn few. (But on the south end of Cali Ave, really, you’d think at least O’Neill The Plumber and McD’s could join the lonely Thriftway signboard in Super Bowl spirit … I’ll keep watching.)
Well, in this case, butcher-papered.
Just hours after we noticed the demise of Urban Fitness in the Junction, we spotted butcher paper over the windows of the tanning salon next to Pagliacci. Pulled over to have a look; it’s got a notice over the butcher paper, “closed, thanks for 14 years.” (The spouse of West Seattle Blogger notes, “Lousy location anyway, no parking.” True.)
What’s going on? This can’t all be blamed on the monorail ripple effect, can it?
We always wondered if the karma from Ben & Jerry’s in the Junction would cause some sort of cosmic trouble for Urban Fitness around the street. Now, whether it’s the ice-cream vibes or something else, it seems UF has vanished — just noticed this on our first drive through the Junction in at least a week.
This may be old news; we just called the club’s number and the recording told us they shut down as of Dec. 31 because they couldn’t negotiate a new lease. Surprising just the same, as this place was at one point so trendy that people came from all over town to partake in its cutting-edge exercise classes.
Perhaps the best-known gym on our side of the bay, 24-Hour Fitness @ Westwood, will have a better time staying afloat — not just because it’s part of a chain, but also because it’s across from something more compatible.
First of all:
One news source tonight reported that The Authorities are dismissing the possibility that The Sudden Seattle Smell from this morning even made its way over to West Seattle — mais non, it originated on the other side of the bay, couldn’t have possibly floated “over there” (here) — Well, I think this visual proof just seals the deal.
Second of all:
Talk about something that stinks. The day after the Ameriquest settlement went public, people are standing along Fauntleroy waving signs touting alleged refinancing deals. Have they no shame?
Third of all:
Are the “Walking on Logs” characters wearing Camp Fire gear just because no one’s bothered to take it off, or did they pay somebody for the right to keep it up? I’m not too annoyed yet because Camp Fire does not have Scouting-style prejudices — that I know of. But I’m working up a lather to complain to someone, somewhere.
That … is all.
Not a good season for West Seattle possums, unless their abundance as local roadkill is a sign of a population increase off the asphalt. While further flattening the one that lay in the northbound lane on the south half of Delridge over the weekend, I pondered the potential meme of “run over roadkill, or swerve to avoid it?” Googling shows me that somebody else already has adequately addressed the topic …
That’s what the penguins in “Madagascar” said, anyway. Tonight while I waited to drive up the 1st Avenue South ramp to the westbound WS Bridge, a variation, from a panhandler walking briskly down the driver’s side of the backup — “Even a nod and a smile, even a nod and a smile, even a nod and a smile,” he chanted.
I didn’t process what he was saying quickly enough to consider honoring his request. I used to be a sucker for any poverty pitch, till the day I came off the WS Bridge onto the eastbound 1st Avenue S. ramp and saw the big wad of panhandler signs stuffed into a gap between railings. Something too calculated about it, I realized, and stopped being a sucker.
Breakfast today at Zatz, West Seattle’s only bagel shop. Its bulletin board heralds a milestone passed just last month — 10 years in business! One of the Admiral Junction’s success stories. I wonder sometimes why that part of town has been so slow to gentrify; certainly there are other bright spots such as Metropolitan Market, but otherwise, what a mixed bag. Maybe it’s on track to become our banking district, with the new Bank of America joining Wells Fargo & WaMu, but it’s also the franchisey-est Junction, with Jack in the Box, Baskin Robbins, and (West Seattle’s original!) Starbucks all elbow-to-elbow. Which reminds me, have to find out what they’re going to do with the old gas-station property on the franchise side of the street.
I’ve walked by these people’s office dozens of times. Didn’t take time to fish online to see what they’re about, till now. I think this is the coolest page on their site. Note how the dropdown breaks it all down by neighborhood. (We won’t hold the Genesee typo against them.)
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.
Did a double-take today, driving south on Fauntleroy just past Fairmount Park, in what we have always known as the Fairmount Park neighborhood. A green and white sign is up on the west side of the street, just past the stoplight south of the school, saying “Welcome to Fairmount Springs … our neighborhood.” Springs? As in, Palm Springs? (with which even Alki Beach would never be confused, and as a desert-hater, we say, damn good thing) Is this some subversive new neighborhood-naming campaign, like whatever in the world gave rise to “West Edge” in the downtown spot by the viaduct’s Seneca offramp?
Pothole Alley, perhaps. But not Fairmount Springs. “Park” sounds classier, in fact.
Coming up later … our West Seattle Year-in-Review. Highly subjective, of course. But bound to be fun!
Passed the Cat’s Eye Cafe north of Lincoln Park this morning — big hurricane-zone-style piece of wood over the door, spray-painted in orange, TEMPORARILY CLOSED. Looked like something more serious than the holiday closures local restaurants engage in. Hope it’s not the same kind of “temporary closure” that bit Chez Million on Alki (formerly The Lighthouse Grill and The Point) before the unmarked butcher paper went up over all the windows …