June 13th, 2009


All kinds of awesome

I love maps, and I love this city. It should not be a large surprise, then, that as part of a recent, ongoing effort to personalize my living quarters, my wall now sports a lovely, huge street map of Seattle.

I <3 it to pieces.

Ranging from lower Queen Anne down to just past Safeco Field, and from the waterfront out to parts of Cap Hill and First Hill (bizarrely calling them "Broadway" and "Minor", respectively), it is not just a work of art, but also a guide to an ongoing project.

I've lived here for roughly five years now, and while I have my share of haunts in the area, a lot has been changing, and I never really did any in-depth exploration of Belltown.

That's going to change.

Today I started with a 4 block area, spending several hours just walking around, slowly, carefully taking note of things available, both at ground level and rising above, and not shying away from all the dark corners and alleys.

It was amazing.

There were a lot of familiar places, sure, but it was a great experience to really take the time to admire them. And since my phone has Intarwebs, if there was some unmarked building I came across, it was a simple matter to find out what it was. Sometimes it was boring (a lawyer's office, or a marketing firm), sometimes it was something I already knew about (the massive Qwest central office), but sometimes it was interesting (a rehab center). I also found out the name of the huge condo tower on this block (which I might have to investigate further when looking for a place to buy), and marked off several interesting bars and restaurants to try in the near future.

But there were were some truly great, great things. In the alley over in the next block, I found what I could best describe as an urban art installation. Several framed photos and collages, with various scribblings on them, in varying states of decay.

In the same block, just up from the alley entrance, there's a new cheesesteak place (Calozzi's). Literally a hole in the wall, there is no seating. You stand on the street, and get your food through a hole in the bars of the metal door. The owner is from Jersey (mostly Cherry Hill and Atlantic City, as I found out today), and makes a fine cheesesteak. A little too much bread for the meat, but very tasty.

The *best* find, though, was Bedlam Coffee (photos and more). They just opened two weeks ago, so I don't have to feel bad about not having been there before, but they are going to be a regular stop from now on. I don't have adequate words to describe the awesome: fantastic art, a wonderful, cozy feel, great-looking desserts, some of the best (real) iced tea I have had in my life. There is even a room in the back with a huge table. I just might have to start up a Belltown game night (they are open all night on weekends!). cow, I could not stop thinking of you when I was here. When you visit, check it out; I suspect you will love it as much as I do.

I can't stress how great Bedlam could be. Belltown just does not have a place like this. Cap Hill, or the Pearl District in Portland? Sure. Here? Not until now.

AND!!! Since they're on the corner of 2nd and Bell, I found out from an article they had posted that Seattle is for sure going ahead with their plan of turning Bell Street into a boulevard park! OMG! Belltown is going to get even better!

Exploring the area like this has been my plan for a while, and the map was the first concrete step. There's also a box of red pins so I can mark off where I've been. It occurs to me that I need a second color to mark off all my great finds; I see a trip to the map store in the near future.

I better get the big box.
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