Category Archives: Urban

Entrance to Thorin’s Halls

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Seattle Transit Tunnel, Westlake Station

The Dowtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) is used by light rail and buses alike and this station is beneath Westlake Mall and Nordstroms. At this particular station about 10,000 people per week board the trains and buses running in both directions.

The small image below, from the DSTT website, shows both types of transportation in the tunnel at the same time but on separate tracks. As far as I know, there is only one other multi-use transit tunnel in the U.S. It’s too bad the Alaska Way Viaduct (AWV) replacement tunnel project isn’t going as well as this one did. The AWV project is a total cock-up on the order of Boston’s Big Dig project.Seattle-Transit-Tunnel

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Lenin – Not John

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Yes, I know how John’s name is spelled but then there’d be no pun.

This 16 foot bronze statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin stands on a corner in Fremont (aka The Artists’ Republic of Fremont, Center of the Known Universe). Anywhere else it would be controversial but here, in the original counter-culture center of Seattle, it’s just one more curiosity. It originally stood in Lenin Square in Poprad, Slovakia. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union it was sent to the scrap heap where it was bought by a Seattle artist who was teaching there at the time. He mortgaged his home to ship it here but he was killed in a car accident before he could find a permanent home for it.

It and other Fremont artworks are often dressed up for various festivities. During the annual Solstice Parade (where people ride bikes in the nude down the main street) it has been dressed up to look like John Lennon. During Gay Pride Week it has been dressed in drag. This and the fact that he is posed in front of a Masonic Lodge, a falafel shop and a nail salon would probably irk old Ilyich no end.

A note of interest to photographers: Fremont is the headquarters for Getty Images and Adobe Systems.

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English: Photo of the Solstice Cyclists by Bill Simpson. Picture taken on June 18, 2005 in the Fremont district of Seattle. Deutsch: Nackte Frau auf einem Fahrrad

Glass Is the Most Magical of All Materials — Dale Chihuly

Sandra and I went on an outing to Lake Union/Queen Anne Hill in Seattle last week. One excellent stop was the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at Seattle Center. Didn’t think to lug my DSLR along but I grabbed a few shots with my iPhone. I have visited the Museum of Glass at the Tacoma Art Museum (see photo gallery at bottom of this page) but except for the experience of setting right behind the artists in the live Hot Shop, I think the Garden and Glass to be the more impressive exhibit.

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From beginning to end the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition balances on the extremes of what is possible in the artform of blown glass as well as expanding into the myriad ways of displaying it. Since the 1970s Chihuly has devoted himself to years of experimentation and through this dedication has succeeded in stretching the limits of glassworking. His creations are monuments to progress of the arts when pursued passionately and whole-heartedly.

 Eight large rooms compose the indoor exhibit and you can find high quality photographs and descriptions of each on the Chihuly Garden and Glass website.  There is also a Theater showing Chihuly’s hot shop process in action, interviews and a showcase of installations around the world. And of course the amazing Glasshouse and Garden ensures your experience ends with a “Wow!”

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Hot Shop at the Glass Museum: Tacoma, WA