Trippy Seattle - Outdoor Rubberneckin' Picture Annex
With the pictures getting a bit out of hand, I've decided to split off some of the more outdoor art-focused stuff here.
FIREMEN MEMORIAL I've seen this place used for numerous photo-ops about firemen in the city, including a grand speech by Senator Murray. A few TV crews and an aide or two were there to witness that one, plus yours truly and a few of the usual drunk suspects in Occidental Park. Ostensibly a memorial to all firemen, it sure seemed to go up rather in a timely fashion after four firefighters were killed in the ghastly arson committed nearby in Chinatown/The International District.
MANHOLE COVERS Finally, a shot of one of them thar elusive manhole covers with a city map on it. Aren't you thrilled? Squirrelly lil buggers to find, only in downtown under the light of the full moon. I mean full sun - THAT's why it took me so long! By the way, if that's supposed to Chief Seattle, it's an awfully nondescript rendition. If you want extra credit, try and find the few examples of the totem-esque manhole covers like you see above. If you've taken The Underground Tour, you know well what the sidewalks with purple glass insets are - the skylights above the original sidewalks of Seattle in Pioneer Square. Okay, so I've told you, but the tour (and book) are still worth it. The sidewalks were lifted cause things got a bit smelly with mud flats - and a tide that had a habit of backing toilets up.
THE GRIFFIN HOUSE I'll give props to ANYONE willing to do something this different. Put your own fairy tale together, or be inspired to perform such a whimsy yourself. Seriously, another restoration of a craftsman or bungalow house? Who CARES! For the nerd out there, test your latin out on that phrase - makes eminent sense, no?
FINS, FINS! Land shark! Or, perhaps, a more benign use of fins taken from decommisioned nuclear subs. Here's an oddly physical manifestation of a well-known quote regarding swords into plowshares, but it's nice nonetheless. In Magnuson Park.
WHERE'D THE RETENTION POND GO? Underground. Hoorah for one of the newest city parks (Cal Anderson Park), one which buried what had been a blocks-wide water retention pond just a block off Broadway on Capitol Hill. Now there are numerous places to get your feet wet in the fountains and ponds and increased green space in general. Essentially the blocks east of Seattle Central Community College, one block east of where the College fronts Broadway.
BRUCE LEE AND JIMI HENDRIX Granted, these two don't have much in common outside of sharing the same general time frame in our planet's history. But they both called Seattle home for periods of their lives - Jimi by birth, Bruce by immigration - and now they share the same cemetery on Capitol Hill. Both live on in movies, music, and - particularly in Jimi's case - museums. Somehow I'm guessing that Jimi never intended to hawk art supplies, however. And oh, by the way, that pic of Bruce is blatant cheating on my part, shot in Hong Kong in 2007 I think it was. In any event, the city's hold on either is tenuous at best since Jimi left to never really come back, and it seems that Seattle was more Bruce's touchpad in name only after he found such Hollywood success.
DANCIN' DOWN BROADWAY You might wanna try some of these old school latin dance moves, inlaid in the concrete up on Capitol Hill. They might prove handy to get around the random street kid trying to hit you up for change to get another tattoo or piercing while strolling down Broadway.
REAL GRAFITI Okay, so here's some real grafiti, in Lower Queen Anne. See what I mean? Summoning all TALENTED grafiti artists, please!
GUM WALL Now that I've mentioned it, I guess I have to show it. On the other hand, this is about the perfect physical metaphor for Seattle. What else could better symbolize the most aggressively passive aggressive city in the nation? Take THAT, you bad wall! Thus a zillion wads of old chewing gum keep getting added to the bricks, albeit colorfully. I even saw some more getting globbed on in the few minutes I took to shoot some pics here in Lower Post Alley (to the south of the Rachel the Pig sculpture and the Information booth as well, a continuation of what Post Alley is above and nearer to the action of Pike Public Market).
WHO DAT? No, I don't know who this is, but I want to say Chuck Berry. How dare a statue be put up without a nearby plaque for us uninformed numbskulls! Where do you find this gem? Ah, THIS I can tell you: round the corner, then round the corner again from the Jimi Hendrix statue at Broadway and Pine on Capitol Hill. Someday I'll be informed, I'm sure, but then again, that may take away from the mysterious charm...
FLIRTING These two sculptures have always struck my fancy, two old kooks on benches about twenty feet apart and facing each other. Find them in Belltown. If you wanna feel all Sherlock-y, ask a local about them while throwing in a Darth Vader Building reference... or just guess which skyscraper it is! (Or the Ban Roll-On Building, for that matter.)
SOUNDGARDEN This is random but pretty cool. On the north end of Magnuson Park on Lake Washington, the Soundgarden is located inside the adjacent NOAA grounds. Eerie stuff to listen to when there is any wind, it's also what gave a local grunge group its name. Of course, nowadays it seems that the dang thing is far less accessible than it used to be. Witness the above pic as evidence, shot when I recently tried to barge my way in. Apparently the Seattle Captive Canine Program has taken precedence since the last time I wandered on through. Sigh - okay, it's a huge freakin' dogpark - I guess I understand NOAA's new reticence in opening the gate.
WAITING FOR THE INTERURBAN And they'll wait forever. The InterUrban was a former trolley line that ran in Seattle, dismantled long ago. GM and its collaborators long ago purchased many trolley and city rail lines around the country in order to dismantle them and promote the use of the car. Guess it worked. Thanks, guys! Meanwhile, this statue sits on the NE corner of the Fremont Bridge near Patches, often (nay, ALWAYS) dressed up to the whims of local Fremonters. I often have wondered who gets to choose when a change in attire is in order.
ROCKET Also in Fremont, this was a former ICBM that Fremont, naturally, managed to get ahold of. Maybe one day somebody'll light the thing and see what it's made of.
PATCHES A more recent entry to the Fremont sculpture pantheon, this one pays tribute to local TV clown celebrity Patches. No, I wasn't here back in his salad days, so I can't say anything about him. But apparently he was beloved.
RAPUNZEL Neon works of all sorts can be found around Fremont, of which Rapunzel is the best known. She's long adorned the Fremont Bridge, and is (obviously) best viewed at night with the rest of the bunch. Look for the diver and the ballroom dancers nearby, too.
LENIN Where Leary and 36th meet in Fremont, Lenin has long stood sentinel. "Rescued" from a likely and literal meltdown in a formerly communist country, Lenin stands as testimony to the commies that used to inhabit Fremont before the capitalists uprooted them. Of course, to those who study history, Lenin wasn't exactly an innocent during the zillions of killings in the USSR back in his day. Which means that the stupid thing really SHOULD be melted down. But it does serve as a reference point in reference-point-heavy Fremont.
OLYMPIC SCULTURE PARK My #2 fave at the new park, The Eraser. Meanwhile folks like you can make your own art at the adjacent beach. There's plenty of wood to go around for all, just no fires, dadnabbit.
THAT BRIDGE North of downtown and coming out of the east side of Myrtle Edwards Park is this bridge which sees almost no traffic over the course of the day. But I still like it, even if it mostly feeds some biotech buildings. So there.
BRICK MURAL This has nothing on Diego Rivera, but it sure is a helluva lot of brickwork to sort-of tell the Seattle story. Yes, it's devoid of soul and rather contrived, but... okay, I give up. But there it is.
THE TROLL This is easily the mostly popular of the Fremont sculptures, and for good reason. Located underneath Aurora/99 where it rumbles over 36th (spot the massive Aurora bridge from the Fremont Bridge and follow it north), the Troll rests his paw on a crushed VW Bug and patiently endures the multitudes that stand on his shoulders for pictures.
OCCIDENTAL PARK On the flipside of the man-boy fountain is this traditional take on a woman (or fat man, you choose - that's how art supposedly works) in Occidental Park. There are various other random sculptures to be had in this park, too, located in a shady, cobblestoned area of Pioneer Square. Or maybe you want to play bocce ball in the two courts that now lie there instead. Please do so - I've never seen anyone actually playing, but there is no shortage of drug addicts and homeless folk all around who will be happy to kibbutz.
YET ANOTHER TOTEM Apparently the price for stealing their land and making them feeling like second class citizens nigh and forever is forgiven by putting up the original inhabitants' totem poles. There's plenty of 'em around - this one is in Myrtle Edwards Park.
AND STILL ANOTHER TOTEM This pole and a number of others are at Steinbrueck Park, located on the north end of Pike Place Market on Western.
YES, MORE TOTEM POLES... AND A PERGOLA Indeed, this is the land of the Totem Pole. They're here and there about the city and environs - don't look for them, they'll look for you. If you want some funny and enlightening history, read up on Seward's (Shame) Pole of nearby Alaska fame. Both art and message, totem poles are the living-on legacy of the people who used to be the sole inhabitants of the area. They're still here (the people!), and in various guises, too - don't let the drunks hanging out at the piers and Pioneer Square form your sole opinion. Yes, those two lower shots are of the totem pole in the actual Pioneer Square, right by the Pergola (now reconstructed after that 18-wheeler knocked it over).
THE PIG I can't help but give kudos to anyone willing to weld a pig from swords and plowshares both. Last I saw it was near Pike Public Market dishing out BBQ. This proves that if you do something outlandish enough, I might plug you here as well. Of course the pig is likely long gone by now, and probably has moved on to Portland to fight it out with their vastly greater number of food carts.
WESTLAKE BLVD SHANGRI-LA Well, maybe it's not quite that much of a remove - being next to a pretty thorough-going boulevard and all - but this is a nice touch to preserve rails while throwing in greenery along the endless parking lots on the west side of Lake Union.
WATERFALL PARK Yes, it's an odd tribute to the founding of the UPS company on this very spot in Pioneer Square (or their original offices, anyway), but it's still a pretty cool pocket park to eat lunch in and listen to the thunder of the falls.
BALLARD COMMONS AND PUBLIC LIBRARY Thanks to voters approving updates to the public libraries' infrastructure, things are looking up at the ol' branches. The Ballard Library is a prime example of the grass finally growing greener... on its roof. Free access to books, movies, magazines, WI-FI, and welcome environments - SOLD! Also in Ballard, kitty-corner from the library, find the ground-sprinkler-laden Ballard Commons (and skateboard park). Well done, voters! We'll get you that monorail you voted for next... like real soon.
LOADING GIRAFFES So the Port Of Seattle's loading cranes kinda look like giraffes or similarly-hooved beasts. Would someone please make my cranky sis happy and dress them up like that, just once?
THIS IS WHERE THEY WENT Ever wonder where all the 60s hippie and counter-culture folks ended up? Well, I'll tell ya - HERE in the PNW, that's where. Certainly the PNW has no stranglehold on religious nutjubs and such ilk, but if you want a great place to start a cult, commune, or new religion in general, I'm just saying this is a pretty good place to go recruiting.
MORE CHIEF SEATTLE If you weren't awed by the statue in Belltown, you can get a bit more of Chief S in Pioneer Square, too, right next to where the winos slouch on the benches by the Pergola - or where a busker plays between the two. Actually, this statue's been there a l-ong time: check out the date on the back.
GARDEN OF THE LOST Some things catch your fancy. Some things make you just wonder WHY?!? Here's one, an example of Seattle's many pocket-parks that probably got funded from the Seattle Art Commission's "1% for art" levy. No complaints - and some local artist got paid for this (I think Charles Krafft, whose cool stuff can be found around town). Whatever it is. I've never actually seen someone sit on one of its benches - except me. And we all know that I don't count. Oh but where is this jewel, you ask? In Freelard. Ask a local what the hell that means, but start north of the Ship Canal to speed things along.
SHILSHOLE, NOT A NORWEGIAN NAME AT ALL But Leif Erikson was a Viking. This is an odd way perhaps of saying that there used to be a Scandanavian-heritage city that was swallowed by Seattle some years ago, Ballard. The odd phrase of "Ya sure, you betcha!" might be paid lip service, but this is just another gentrified neighborhood these days. Still, it's home to the massive Shilshole Marina near Golden Gardens. Did you know that Seattle has more boats per capita than any other city in the U.S.? You do now.
THE OTHER FOUNTAIN See, this guy bequeathed this fountain for the new Olympic Sculpture Park and all for free, something of a dying wish as the story goes. Only thing is that it's a naked boy facing a naked man. So greed (free) came to meet gay (to some) in only the most panicked sense... and some amount of pedophile phobia and the fountain is the result. But the twigs and berries are there, visible for those who wanna check. No, I have no idea if this is a monument to manboylove or what.
HAT AND BOOTS Formerly in the grungier (literally, not musically) South of Seattle on Route 99, this iconic bit of 50s kitsch has found a new home in even-further-south Georgetown. That's fitting because, just as Belltown pushed out its artists to Georgetown, some art should find itself pushed to the same place.
ENTER THE DRAGON Yeah, Seattle's got a Chinatown - I mean an International District, how un-PC of me - so ya gots ta have the requisite dragons... and here they are, on Jackson St. They're certainly colorful enough, if not necessarily inspiringly imaginative.
WANTED: WALL MURALS There's not much of the mural art form in Seattle, but here's one that is of - appropriately enough - a killer whale (orca). Nice, if not a creative leap. More interesting is the pile of industrial wizardry on whose wall it sits, or its location practically underneath the steadily-disappearing Alaska Way Viaduct.
LOST IN THE MARKET Art finds you sometime where you least expect it. Find this somewhere on the underside of Pike Place Market off of Western Avenue. Then try out one of the walking tours now available in the Market. Ghosts, anyone?
THE LOST SHUTTLECOCK Yeah, I know it's supposed to be an umbrella - or a bumbershoot, to those feeling artsy and "in the moment" - but it looks a lot more like a lost shuttlecock. That is, one blowing away in a mistaken game of badminton for giants. I'm all for public art, but some stuff just ain't terribly inspired. On Western in Downtown, just north of Pike Public Market by a few blocks.
A POPSICLE Ditto the above. I'm all for popsicles, but this hipster whimsy crap sometimes gets old. I imagine we'll be seeing a moon pie exhibit next. On 4th and Blanchard in downtown.
HERE COME THE CLOCKS Actually, there are puh-lenty of ornate, sculptured clocks around town. Pretty soon there will be more pictures of them. The ones with the angled square piping is near 2nd and Lenora in Belltown; another is on Madison. The Pioneer Square one is obvious, and the time capsule one in glass is by the State Ferry Terminal. After a while, they become something of a nondescript blur.
OLD MEETS NEW AT THE AQUARIUM I wonder how long the wooden whale will last, what with the amount of pigeon poop it's had to endure over the years. That's probably why new, shiny squid was commissioned. Both will see more fresh air when the Alaska Way Viaduct disappears. Across the street from the Seattle Aquarium.
FIREMEN As random as any other outdoor sculpture, these firemen can literally be cranked by Fire Station #41 in Magnolia. On 34th West just off of McGraw.
BELLTOWN GRAFITI Abutting downtown from the north, one would expect buttloads of grafiti in this most urban of Seattle locales. But no. Still, there is a little, and the above is a sampling.
PIONEER SQUARE GRAFITI It comes and goes, but in these spots of waiting-forever construction, the grafiti will keep changing before they actually ever do the (re-)development.
POCKET PARKS All around city are a growing number of these teeny parks, often where a single home has been done away with and perhaps the owner has ceded the property to the city or the city has found a way to deal with a questionable piece of land. In any event, these teeny oases are found in weird places in neighborhoods, unexpected treats for the wackos such as myself who tool around random streets in getting from A to B in a different way each time. They're virtually all guaranteed to have a bit of art. The first one above is in NE Ballard, around 76th and 3rd (NW). The other apparently is an excuse of a place at Queen Anne Ave N and Roy that gets around dealing with the hazardous waste digout associated with a former gasoline station.
WHERE THE GREEN MOSS GROWS... It's worth noting that Seattle isn't the driest of places. So when the powers that be decide to put up outdoor sculpture, they hopefully think about which side the moss will start accumulating on. Hint: the shady side. That'd generally be north.
SOMETIMES THE ART IS THERE IF YOU LOOK FOR IT... It's weird when there's a sculpture right next to what it depicts. If you wanna see kelp, just look under the docks! Kinda like painting the word "stripes!" on a zebra. Well, duh!
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