<<UPDATE: New York Times Just posted an article, a Weekend in Seattle. Good timing.>>
Monday morning was bittersweet. From noon until 7pm I had to work…attending a meeting and dinner with Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. That’s fine. But it was likely that Hailey was going to be on her own for the afternoon and evening, and well, I wanted to join her.
We started with breakfast at Lola once again. That’s the homemade granola (above) with Greek yogurt, strawberries, apples, grapes and pomegranate seeds. I normally think apples are boring, but apples in Washington are another thing.
Why’s Hailey smiling? Could it be the scrambled eggs and pork-maple sausage with garlic fried potatoes?
After we checked out of the Hotel Max and checked into the Crowne Plaza (the hotel Weaver was paying for the night), we had an hour to kill so we ventured two blocks over to the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library. From the outside it looks like just another product of an architect who wanted to be unconventional… so much so that they closed their eyes, scribbled on a piece of paper and said “tada!” (see the Daniel Libeskind design of the Denver Art Museum). But like the Denver Art Museum, it revealed its brilliance once inside.
In principal, its a giant steel and glass shell. It feels like one room. But somehow, Koolhaas managed to create dozens of intimate knooks and crannies for quiet study, and the book spiral — a meandering ramp with rows upon rows of books that runs down the core of the building — is a marvel of space utilization.
I’ve noted this in office spaces that I’ve worked in: When an area is more open and spacious, people tend to be more quiet because they are more aware of others. The opposite is true for closed in spaces such as high-walled cubicles. This principal works nicely at the Seattle Public Library, and if I had this place two blocks from my office, I would spend every lunch hour there decompressing. It is a true asset for the city, and I think it reflects well on Seattle’s priorities — education, literacy, sanity, tranquility, information, design, aesthetics … I could go on and on.
One interesting part that we saw in the book spiral was a series of shelves filled with old phone books from the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountains. Why people hang on to these worthless relics (let alone put them on shelves for reference) is beyond me, but…
That’s right. Back then — the year my Idaho-native brother was born — my news-reporter father and my mother were listed in the Boise public directory. I guess phone numbers weren’t always included back then. It was just a chance thing to see that volume on the shelf, let alone find them listed.
From 1975 to 2008: now this is something I can see preserving in a reference library for centuries to come…
So off I went to my lunch meeting, presentation and client dinner. Hailey took it easy, and found her way back to the Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks. “Finally…” she must have thought. “Time alone with the camera.”
And lo and behold, after she visited the Experience Music Project Museum, she snapped what is — in my opinion — the coolest shot of the trip. This is of the Space Needle as taken from inside the monorail on the way back into town.
Tuesday was our final day — really just a few hours in the morning before we had to catch the shuttle back to the airport. It was the coldest and rainiest day yet, so we laid low at a dive restaurant below the fish market, watching ferries come in and out of the harbor. We watched the fish mongers for a while, the very ones who throw 20-pound salmon across the counter. I have to admit, looking back on the images from the trip, I didn’t engage enough with locals and get them in my shots, especially at Pike Place Market. Its probably because I didn’t want to feel obligated to buy something. That’s why I ended up with a 10-in-1 kitchen tool that blows bubbles from Rome. But man, that shot was worth it.
We used the coupon book we publish at Weaver to get 2-for-1 admission into the Seattle Aquarium. A nice place, but really a spot for families. Would have loved to see my nephew’s reaction to the giant octopus they had there.
And finally, we closed out our trip with a return to Macrina Bakery for a warm beverage. As we walked over there in the rain, I quickly pulled my camera out to snap this shot before stashing it away in the dry confines of the camera bag. Seattle: what a marvelous, soggy and magical place.