West Seattle, Washington
Dropped by the Farmers’ Market just as the weekly Junction anti-war vigil was revving up. Week after week, those folks are a steady presence … it’s taken this long for most of the rest of the country to catch up.
The subject came up again during the Terry Brooks reading at Westwood Village’s Barnes & Noble this afternoon. (SRO — next time they get a best-selling author, a few more chairs might be a good investment.) Brooks (proudly introduced as a WS resident) read about a dozen action-packed pages from the forthcoming 2nd book in his new trilogy that started with the newly released “Armageddon’s Children.” (Might be more than a trilogy; he hinted it could be the first of up to 9 books.) It’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy (our favorite kind, so we just might have to buy this book), and he cited as inspiration his concern about the way things have been going since about the turn of the millennium. (Sounds like his politics are right at home in blue West Seattle …)
All this, on the eve of the milestone 5th anniversary of 9/11; tomorrow morning we’ll look back here at the special role West Seattle played in the mourning and tributes that followed that cataclysmic day.
Even with the acceleration in teardown-to-townhome construction, West Seattle still has thousands of homes dating back to the ’50s, and earlier. We found out some of our house’s history not long after moving in — I was out doing some garden cleanup one day, when a man walked up, asked me a few questions about the house, then revealed his father was the original owner/builder. He told us his dad had to go off to serve in World War II not long after the house was done; after the war, he said, his dad moved into the homebuilding business bigtime, and the family eventually moved to California. (Whenever I find myself bemoaning our house’s relatively tiny size, I think of its original residents, who were double our number and apparently got along just fine!)
After this encounter, we did more research on the house by going to some government building (memory fails me) and looking up its original building permits. (You should still be able to do this nowadays; check these places for starters.)
I mention all this as an excuse to link to a few interesting house-history sites we’ve encountered recently while doing online research. One is this site set up by real-estate agents for a Fauntlee Hills home that sold earlier this year (though the site is still active, please note the listing is not); they went to great lengths to create a site with the house’s history and even old marketing materials for the area (if you’re not familiar with Fauntlee Hills, it’s the group of brick houses just east of Fauntleroy Church and the old school-turned-community center, uphill from the ferry dock). Another is the site a local developer created a few years back for a 1923 Craftsman home he rescued from impending teardown, then moved a short distance and renovated. And the third is a site for a home whose history is still in progress, a rather dramatic renovation project we’ve seen along the south end of Cali Ave. Very nice of these folks to share the houses’ history with the rest of the world!
Check out this vivid description of fishing life at Seacrest Pier.
Alki should look a bit cleaner after today — We went down for a walk this morning and bumped (west of the Bathhouse) into a volunteer cleanup sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation, part of a nationwide event today. Their tent grabbed my attention with big black lettering “OCEAN BEACH CLEANUP” — we love Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and Ocean Beach in San Diego, but hadn’t heard of an “Ocean Beach” around here. Ocean Shores, yes; Ocean Park, sure; not “Ocean Beach.” Guess they meant “saltwater.”
Big Dig or Big New Viaduct — the folks working on Alaskan Way 2.0 continue to exclude all forms of The Third Option out of the dialogue — but whichever you favor, time’s running out to pipe up before the next stage of the game. And you’ve got a chance in just a few days: The roadshow’s coming back to our side of the bay next week — Tuesday night, 5-8 pm, at Madison Middle School.
Former Holy Rosary pastor Father Jeffrey Sarkies — ousted this spring — is blogging. He writes beautifully. (His supporters are still blogging sporadically too.)
Some things to do in the days to come (by no means all-inclusive):
Friday family events at High Point/Delridge Community Centers, starting with an ice-cream social tonight. More info here.
Saturday afternoon hamster races (really!) at Petco in The Junction — 2 pm.
Mega-best-selling West Seattle author Terry Brooks at Barnes & Noble in Westwood Village this Sunday — 1 pm.
Last day of the year at Colman Pool, also this Sunday — last session, 5-7 pm.
Fundraiser concert at ArtsWest on Sunday night. More info here.
Anything else exciting (and public) on your scheduler?
Our trek around The Junction tonight revealed that city crews have done a pretty job roughing up the street surface already. Getting a parking spot along the newly grooved pavement was a cinch — most people don’t seem to realize yet that the NO PARKING signs are posted for DAYTIME only — it’s OK to park at night. (Though a few spaces are out of commission in front of Taqueria Guaymas & Poggie, taken up by monster-sized pieces of city equipment.) Also seen in The Junction tonight: The “for lease” sign is down and the liquor-license-app posting is up at the future home of Garlic Jim’s Pizza.
Perhaps just a coincidence … Two banners on the north side of the Fauntleroy walkover — different material, different lettering — are addressed to “Rachel.” The one on the left says, “Has it been 10 years already? Happy anniversary, Rachel, I (heart) U.” The one right next to it says, “BON VOYAGE, RACHEL.” If Rachel & 10-year hubby were going on an anniversary trip, wouldn’t he get a bon-voyage shoutout too? (Side note – According to the High Point development site, the walkover and its banners are part of what make WS “quirky.” I think the collection of other semi-landmarks mentioned on that page is missing a few things, such as the Admiral Theater, perhaps America’s only moviehouse designed to look like a ship.)
If you haven’t noticed already — the slightly delayed road work through The Junction has begun. Here are more details from the city. And check out the changes we apparently will find, once the work’s done.
What’s with the disrespect for West Seattle in Times articles these days — particularly with regard to our high schools? First, the tale of the disgruntled house-hunters … now, the tale of the ferry-riding school-district jumpers, which begins with this passage:
West Seattle High School seemed too violent, and private school seemed too elitist, so Barbara Tippett looked across the water to find the right school for her son, Sky.
Too violent? What have I missed? Has something gone horribly wrong since this report showing two weapons expulsions in a school year? (Even one is too many, of course, but sadly I suspect a completely clean campus is impossible to find.) Exactly the same number as Vashon High that same year, by the way.
(Apologies to Joyce Kilmer.) As someone absolutely passionate about being a truly green greenie — as mentioned before, if you looked at our house from Google Earth, you would barely see its roof amid all the trees and shrubs we’ve allowed to grow around and over it — I’m skeptical about Hizzoner‘s new “WE (HEART) TREES” campaign, lovingly (and mostly uncritically) previewed in the P-I and Times this morning. One even more fabulous way to slow tree loss would be to apply tougher standards to the rampant infill that’s under way in areas like ours. On the slopes over Lincoln Park, in the past few years, we’ve seen acres of greenery fall to developers’ backhoes (here’s just one example), replaced by oversized houses (do 2 or 3 people really need 3.5K sf?). How about we save a little more greenspace than just what’s left in our parks? Dare to look at an “undeveloped” lot and consider that maybe its highest and best use is to stay “undeveloped.” There’s more to “environmentally critical” than streams and wetlands.
The howls of protest are echoing across West Seattle (and other city neighborhoods) tonight … for tomorrow is the first day of school. (Yeah, yeah, I know, some kids are excited to be going back. Very long ago and very far away, I was one of those odd ducks.) If this does not affect you for parental (or school employment) reasons, it still will affect you on the road … remember the school buses and school zones, and please keep your feet heavier on the brake pedal and lighter on the gas pedal.
If you’re not entirely sure where the WS public schools are, check out the maps of the “north cluster” and the “south cluster.” And think tender thoughts for the folks at Fairmount Park Elementary, which shuts down after this year.
From a Times story today about Seattle house-hunting, an alarming paragraph that seems to malign our fair side of the bay:
They drove to West Seattle to see a house in their price range. In the neighborhood, they saw a sign posted outside a convenience store near the high school that said something like, “We know you students are thieves. Only one student inside at a time.”
They couldn’t see themselves living there.
OK, which high school would that have been? Neither West Seattle HS nor Sealth HS has a convenience store within a block or so, unless my memory is failing me. Perhaps a high school temporarily housed at Boren? Although I can’t think of any convenience stores adjacent to that campus either …
Despite not being boat owners, we managed to get out on the water anyway — started the day with a ferry ride, ended it with a Water Taxi trip.
Inbetween, some snags and some sightings:
SNAG: Wanted to have lunch at the new Cactus on Alki. We even called — twice — to make sure it would be open for lunch. We were assured yes, it would be. Then we showed up … nope, not open. Through the open roller doors, workers told us, no, it would only be open tonight for dinner. Bummer. We proceeded to Bamboo, which we’d never tried, believe it or not. (Having now tried it, I don’t believe we were missing anything. The sand under the outdoor tables is a nice touch, but the food was meh.)
SNAG: Since we planned to be downtown a few hours, we were glad to hear the Water Taxi was running into the evening. Unfortunately, we discovered belatedly that its transit connections did NOT run into the evening — the shuttle to the Junction stopped about half an hour before we returned, and no regular Metro buses were running past Seacrest. If we hadn’t had someone to call for a ride home, we’d still be walking.
SIGHTING: Still not entirely sure what kind of store “Divina” (north of Hotwire & its adjoining dentists) is meant to be, but it’s now posted as opening tomorrow.
SIGHTING: Interesting things tacked to the front glass of Liberty Bell Printing — a frantic note pleading for the new Homestead menus not to be printed because of some kind of error — and a month-old “lost bird” flyer that says the bird FLEW THE COUP. (Which coup was that, I wonder — have to go catch up on my international news.)
SIGHTING: Dall’s porpoises from the ferry, jumping fish from the Water Taxi. What a cool life.
The Festival of India that has set up on Alki this long holiday weekend (and has been there before) is apparently simply the 21st-century successor to the dancing/chanting Hare Krishna displays I saw on street corners around the West when I was a kid.
As they continue preaching vegetarianism (among other things) on the beach, we will likely be taking our omnivorous selves to nearby Cactus for lunch tomorrow, now that it’s had a week to shake things out.
Actually, they’re not particularly fragrant. But if you want to see quite a sight, check out the yard full of sunflowers on the north side of Admiral, just west of 63rd. (Sorry I don’t have a photo; we’re going to add images to WSB one of these days …)
The Seattle Times has a few more details on the restaurant rumble that landed the owner of Christo’s in jail. (According to the online King County Jail roster, he got out shortly after midnight.)
Well, the Yahoo! Alki group confirms informally what I saw on a tv-news report tonight — cops swarming Alki this afternoon, not for Cruisers Gone Crazy, but for Restaurant Owners Rumbling. Didn’t know till now that the Duke’s and Christo’s bigwigs had bad blood. And as of this writing, King County’s jail roster shows the Christo’s boss behind bars.
About a month and a half after we all found out about the Charlestown Cafe‘s approaching demise, the P-I writes it up today.
In honor of the impending new school year … a shoutout to Arbor Heights Elementary teacher Mark Ahlness. I bumped into his “edtechblog” just now, after a few hops from the Arbor Heights PTSA blog, which I (in turn) happened onto while continuing the search for West Seattle-based blogs to link to. But I’d “heard” about him before — discovering some years back that because of him, Arbor Heights was something of a Web pioneer. (I’ve got a soft spot for 1994 too … that’s when West Seattle Blog World HQ got online, with a good old fashioned 14.4-if-you-were-lucky dial-up account that used the Lynx text browser to “surf” the early Web … oh, stop me before I get geekier.)
… let’s shout it together so it can be heard all the way across the water, from Vashon to Bainbridge to Magnolia … WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO? (Did you notice how early it’s getting dark? Sigh …)
Here are three things you might want to add to your to-do list, since within a few weeks you won’t be able to do them again till sometime next spring:
-Ride the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. It goes on hiatus at the end of this month.
-Go swimming (or sunbathing) at Colman Pool. A week from Sunday is its last day of operation this year. There are few sights sadder for us Lincoln Park walkers than the fall/winter plywood up over the CP plexiglass.
-Enjoy a demonstration at the West Seattle Farmers Market. The market itself is supposed to stay open every Sunday through mid-December, but the demos on its calendar only run through September (this Sunday, fresh tomatoes! yum!).
Another West Seattle superstar is about to make a “neighborhood” appearance. Barnes & Noble at Westwood Village promises a reading by mega-best-selling author Terry Brooks in a week and a half. We’re not much for fantasy novels but we do own one of Mr. Brooks’ books — his novelization of Star Wars Episode I (The Phantom Menace).
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