Saturday, April 22, 2006

One fine day in Seattle (Part One).

Probably the last sight I expected to see in Seattle is a 20-foot tall statue of V.I. Lenin in full revolutionary stride, but there it is, centrally located in the Fremont district, which seems to be making a determined effort to hold on to a shred of counter-cultural eccentricity amidst the gentrification exploding all around it.

You know with certainty that something of an artistic nature really is good when Republicans wring their hands and openly agitate against it, and so it is with Fremont’s Lenin statue, which was brought to the neighborhood from Slovakia by a resident artist after the Soviet leader’s system fell like dominoes in 1989-90.

Another example of the flowering of public art in Fremont is its underpass Troll, which is depicted devouring a Volkswagen that originally was decorated with Elvis memorabilia prior to an unfortunate act of vandalism – presumably committed by Republicans without a sense of humor – or the Memphis city fathers.

Elsewhere in Seattle, the human imprint on the landscape ebbs and flows in accordance with a hilly topography and the proximity of Puget Sound, Lake Washington (and its famous floating highway bridge), and many smaller bodies of still and running water, including a shipping canal or two. The city’s mild climate and pervasive rains and mists ensure rampant greenery in all directions.

One hundred years ago, Seattle’s civic leaders began an aggressive program of public park construction, making the case for financing these green spaces by means of an argument that we now would refer to as pertaining to the “quality of life.”

Subsequently, Seattle took its rightful place on the long list of Olmstead “intelligent design” park credits, and among these is Volunteer Park, which abuts the north end of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and boasts an arboretum, art museum and water tower, the later available for climbing and the enjoyment of spectacular views on a clear day.

The last time I saw Mt. Rainier was the summer of 1974 while vacationing there with my parents. Back then, I gazed at the silent behemoth as we sat in the family car, listening to the radio as President Richard Nixon resigned from office.

On Tuesday I secretly hoped that such good news might come out of nowhere to strike twice in a lifetime … but alas, the illegitimate regime lives on.

Another newer park is located along Lake Union at the site of the gasworks, where two rusty but oddly relevant portions of the industrial architecture have been preserved and surrounded with open lawns and a vantage point overlooking an adjacent small lake.

Continued at the Potable Curmudgeon’s beer blog: One fine day in Seattle (Part Two).

1 comment:

maury k goldberg said...

Dear New Albanian,

I am curious,were there any Kosher foods available from the Jewish community in Seattle at the ball park? For instance in Detriot, Kosher hot dogs are served at the ball park.