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Michael Roloff / SEATTLE STREETS & VISTAS
SEATTLE STREETS & VISTAS
A TO Z
Guess what I feel like when I parade down the quays at ADMIRALITY WAY?
ALKI is the name of the street at the Alki Beach in West Seattle where the first thieves landed, in 1850. Great views of Puget Sound and its indistinguishable isles. And of the Olympics.
ALASKA... runs in the right direction along the waterfront and the piers... and a lot of those passing through took it that way at one time.
No Alders left on ALDER. But quite a few elsewhere and not much of a view.
ALOHA must have been someone's wish to be farther West, which beckons invitingly from Aloha's highest point on the long North-South Capitol Hill ridge.
No, no no no Aurora on the developing forever strip mall AURORA Avenue that runs neither to sunrise nor sunset much less a Borealis!
No bells ring in Belltown or on BELL. No dogs bark. But you are close to the shoreline.
Infinitely boring BOREN... from the finitude of its long dreary up the slope beginning at 12th and Jackson, for three nearly unrelievedly boring endless-seeming miles, across the brief relieve of ant-acid Pill Hill, to...
No, BURIEN is not the name of a street but of a Boer haven just a few miles south.
...the equally indifferent and overly long Denny - yet another authentically faceless drag strip. Yes, what has Denny, another of the originals, ever done to your eyes except regrade, chop off hill tops, its way all the way from Capitol Hill down to anonymice Western Avenue?
DEXTER, what's a Dexter anyhow: another of the original criminals, that's what. It now runs through an industrial warhouse district that Paul Allen is turning into Allentown!
Guess what: no Dears or Deer on the truck way DEARBORN, nor vistas.
No Firs on FIR Street! But lots in lots of other places. And no views.
No Pines anywhere on PINE. And definitely no cherries of any kind on any part of CHERRY Street, you must be mad; but you can pick them for free in the sometimes very rural alleys. Good vistas at several spots.
No MONKEY STREET despite no end of Crazy Monkey trees and crazy monkeys.
You come on HOLGATE and you think, "Oh heaven, a touch of Londown Town."
At INTERLAKEN, on the north-east side of the Capitol Hill ridge, the land is hilly and, using an experienced imagination, you can envision that that is the Swiss Alps across Lake Washington, not the Cascades.
INTERLAKENI springs to life on the wealthy side and runs East West, then suddenly leaps North across the Ship Canal, no not the birth or any other that there might be, but what folks here seem to need to call "The Ship Canal". Further north, INTERLAKEN turns into segments that lose more and more continuities, as it segues on up to Wedgwood and beyond, its only wedges are of the traffic kind.
And Mr. Jackson's after hour bars were closed down a long ago on South JACKSON . And not much Jazz since. But what a view from 23rd, the hearth of the Central District, of King Street Station, of Stadiumopolis and of Puget Sound...
No Johns of course not, not in Seattle , we lock em' up, on JOHN Street.
What's a KLIKITAT, some kind of arctic cat? No, it is one of the few to memorialize the original inhabitants, their infinite squish-muck-aklick. From there you see the so imaginatively named "Harbor Island", landfill from regrades, and its cranes, SSA Marine.
Guess what does not happen on LENORA? No Eleanores! I am so silly!
On MARGINAL WAY is where I feel most like myself, right by the waterside, industry and railroads to the East.
No more Marionberry picking on MARION, and Marion herself has expired.
No mercy to anyone, not even on its cross walk, on the decade-old congestive failure known as MERCER Street Interchange, no gas masks.
MONTLAKE Blvd, a Blvd. indeed, even a North-South Speedway, comes to a full stop at the Montlake Bridge across the Montlake Cut that was dug by Chinese slave labor, then run out of town.
One of my favorites is OCCIDENTAL, accidentally short, just a few blocks, but with that huge. shaded cobble-stoned plaza in Pioneer Square that makes you and the other itinerants dream you might be elsewhere. Art galleries in the splendid turn of the century Mercantile buildings. Great views up to Pill Hill and the Harbor View Hospital fortress. What a surprise.
No olives on OLIVE, you must be kidding, but maybe in another thousand years.
And the destitute on PIKE are certainly pikers of the worst kind. But then there is Pike Street Market, with the most splendid views of the entire harbor, the expanse of the sound, the cranes to your left, Grain Silos to the right, the Piers and Western and Alaskan Avenues and I-99 Viaduct right below.
Guess what things are like on RAINIER Ave? Indeed! Sometimes 15 inches a day! And when they are you can't see Mt. Rainier, and when they are not: well, that is some finely chiseled, perfect cone jutting out the plains. Just pray she never blows. RAINIER AVENUE runs 35 miles all the motley to the Rainier Valley.
There's a REPUBLICAN but no Democrat... nor Liberationist or Liberty... or Freedom... Or Prude or Prudence or Wobbly Avenue as there ought to be...
But after all this there is a ROYAL BROUGHAM no less! The joke of a name of a clown of a local sportscaster giving the finger to the highborn!
If a wise man ever walked on SENECA we have yet to hear of it.
No more Spruce on SPRUCE. But lots left elsewhere. Spruce [s]?
But you can buy no end of Terry Cloth on Terry... just kidding.
Union unifies what?
No virgins on VIRGINIA, imagine that! Crossing it has the opposite effect. Don't you like that?
No ancient walls on Wall Street, not in Seattle.
What's a Yessler? Is it just a name, or something that yells deep in its heart? It begins so promisingly at Pioneer Square with its many-hued 19th commercial century brick architects... inclining sharply upward, a launching site to nowhere, or possibly a great slope for sledding if it would ever snow again... but with some of the greatest long views and deep down looks into budding Japanese gardens, the homeless encampments on the hill sides, down onto the buzz saw I-5 canal.
So few peopled streets. Just a few blocks stretches here and there.
No Duck Lane, Crow Haven, or Goose or Pheasant anything despite the profusion of the merry voracious fowl. No Salmon, Cod or Crab though they provided so much of the wealth. No Possum or Raccoon or Coyote who are still around.
And at the heart of it the huge generic downtown canyons. So few truly peopled streets. Just a few blocks, stretches here and there.