After more than two years, (closer to three) of trying to convince, not only my wife, but myself, I’ve managed to convince the both of us that staying in Seattle is the right answer. Though Seattle has more than it’s share of problems, they’re nothing we weren’t able to face and overcome back east. As someone who’s lived the overwhelming majority of his life in New York. Moving out west has offered as many rewards as challenges. Luckily, on our first day out, we found a place we loved, made an offer, which was accepted within hours and as they say, the rest was history.
When we first moved to Seattle in June, 2017, we lived about a block from the space needle near Terry Ave. in what is considered by most to be the lower Queen Anne area of Seattle. It was a time when we often found ourselves within walking distance of downtown Seattle and the more tourist friendly Pike Place Seattle Market. Since moving to nearby Columbia City and becoming actual residents of Kings County. We find fewer and fewer reasons to visit the area. On this particular night my wife and me went from trying a Vietnamese spot just off Jackson and Boren avenues to picking up something at her office to heading downtown before we drove home. We arrived at a time when most of the tourists had gone back to their hotels and the homeless had begun setting up camp on the nearby streets or getting in line to enter the local shelters. The night air felt fresh and the lack of foot and automobile traffic added a sense of calm and quiet. Though there was no place to park, we were able to pull over to the side off the road long enough for me to snap a few images. I captured these images without the help of any filters, flashes or a tripod.
As someone who grew up, lived, worked and went to school in the boroughs of New York City, I thought I’d seen it all. From the dark days of a crime-ridden city, the crack epidemic, and two terrorist attacks, one that shook the towers in 1993 and another that brought them down in 2011. However, moving to Seattle has reintroduced me to some of those somewhat dark times. On the day this picture was taken, we had witnessed much of what Seattle has succumbed to. The homeless camps and tent cities on the sides of the highway, the mentally ill clashing with random passerby’s, and people are shooting up on the sidewalks, allies, and in public bathrooms. While I can’t help but feel for these people and their suffering. I can’t help but feel the atmosphere created by the politicians and appointed authorities foster it. Ax much as I’ve loved and appreciated my almost three years here. I can’t help but wonder when the powers that be will get off their duffs and find real solutions that can be put to work to help these people while saving their own city and state. Only time will tell.
As we were approaching Everett’s home to nerdy fun, Funko, I noticed a particularly clever sign hanging from an otherwise forgettable shop. “Stop the car! Stop the car!” I urged. “Did you see that?” As if it wasn’t enough that my wife found her self driving me to an adult friendly toy store, she’s now being asked to make a U-turn so her geek of a husband can snap yet another image of a roadside oddity. Knowing that her patience was already running low, I jumped out of the car and took a few shots before moving on to our destination. I later rewarded her by agreeing to stop at a nearby outlet in order for her to torture me with clothing shopping at stores I’d never have reason to visit, otherwise. Not a bad trade when you think about it.
When we first visited the town of Anacortes, it was just a pit stop for breakfast at Dad’s Diner on our way to an area called Deception Pass.
Considering our breakfast outweighed that of our time navigating the rather touristy cliffs that followed. We made a promise to revisit the dinner and explore it’s town one day — this Saturday, with no other plans or intentions. We filled our coffee mugs and embarked on a two-hour journey that would reward us with generous plates of bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and mouthwatering biscuits. Wait, I failed to mention the copious amounts of coffee. After loading up on cholesterol, calories, and tasty goodies, we braved the cold to explore a town that’s rich in history and character. While we were able to explore many of the shops, Pelican Bay books were by far the most memorable. We were having grown up and lived most of my life in the city, probably led to my love and appreciation for smaller towns, neighborhoods, and their downtown hubs. Each has its personality, character, and unique history. And while it might be a while before we return. My wife and I look forward to exploring the area in warmer temperatures.
As far as good intentions go, Friday morning’s eary trip to the docks on Harbor Avenue to watch the sunrise were as good as they come. It can’t go without saying that waking up and standing by Elliot Bay waiting for the first signs of the sun in freezing weather kind of wrecked us for the rest of day. Still, crossing something off your list definitely has it benefits and rewards. Energized by a day of napping and sampling a wide array of Thanksgiving leftovers. We were recharged enough to endure a two hour trip for hearty plates of pancakes, eggs and delicious biscuits. Fairhaven, Washington seemed the perfect destination. Though we didn’t pick a place the night before. Finding a parking spot right in front of a local eatery worked perfectly for two hungry souls who had driven two hours on empty stomachs. Though Fairhaven’s downtown is quite small. There’s enough shops and goings on to keep people entertained and making frequent returns. By the time we finished eating and walking it off, it was time to hit the road again. As usual, the sun began to set and we pulled over a few times to enjoy what is for me, a perfect time to breath and reflect on just how good things can be if you let them. Aside from almost falling in a ditch and running into oncoming traffic, I’d say I did pretty damn good.
Though we decided on a rather lengthy road trip, my wife’s oversleeping, the traffic and our appetites that seemed to grow as we sat in one car jam after another. We decided to again, stay somewhat local and save our trip plans for another weekend. After mentioning four breakfast options, we agreed on trying a place in Rat City that we had yet to dine at. Truth be told, I think my wife knows exactly what she wants. She’s just waiting for me suggest it. If after numerous tries, I don’t mention it, she will suddenly swoop in and say it. With empty stomachs we headed to 16th Ave. and had a mood altering breakfast at a place called Noble Barton. And while I usually save my reviews for Yelp, we could not have had a better experience if we tried. Everything from our super friendly waitress to the overwhelming amount of bacon made our decision to stay local one worthy of a golden award followed by a long speech and a lengthy speech. Due to the fact that it was colder than usual, we didn’t stay in the area for long. Aside from a two block walk to the Salvadorian bakery, our stay was short. Depending on how early we rise, we plan on heading to Tacoma from breakfast, record shopping and copious amounts of coffee. We’ll see if our desire to go crate digging will overcome that of sleeping in and a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Having grown up in Queens, New York and living just a few blocks from Times Square and the then gritty 42nd st. for close to ten years as an adult. Moving out west allowed me to explore places I’d never been. Though growing up with urban surroundings might not be for everyone’s thing. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. Still, any trip outside of the city and outside of my element brings out a child like excitement and sense of wonderment that cannot be measured or contained. If it weren’t for my wife refusing to drive into a ditch or pull over every time I exhale an “Ooh” or an “Ahh”. We would never reach our intended destination. Here’s to those who wholeheartedly embrace the phrase “it’s the journey, not the destination.”
I was sitting in Columbus Park enjoying the fall colors when a familiar face approached with her dog. As she stopped to say hello and perhaps follow her dogs lead to see if I had any treats in my bag. When she saw my camera and my exceptionally large lens she asked “Oh, are you a photographer?” I paused and might have even stalled before answering “I used to be.” Explaining that I used to work as a photographer and did a lot of studio photography back east. It was the first time we talked outside of the confines and time frame of our elevator or hallway and I did my very best to hold my own. Though I don’t work in a studio anymore and don’t really advertise my services the way I used to, due to my heath. I’m rather pleased to know that those issues have done nothing to diminish the passion and drive I always had for photography and what inspires me on a daily basis. So, looking back to that random question. If asked again, I’d most likle reply, “Why Yes, I am.”
If you let it, life can teach you a lot of things. Some of the most important things I learned were about empathy and how much of the happiness we enjoy comes from helping others. No one is perfect and we all carry scars we often wear for all to see. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, as long as you learn and grow from them. I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t made a few. Even the strongest take a beating every now and then. I know this from my own experience.
I learned to defend myself and fight at a very young age and with all the broken noses and black eyes I delivered as a kid, It was the first beating I took, that stands out the most. I’ve had my share of battles outside of the schoolyards and streets. We all have. What’s most important is that we never give up or settle. In the end, it’s how we treated others. If there ever comes a time when we’ll be judged or remembered. It will most likely hinge on how we overcame life’s obstacles and how we treated others. In the end, I hope to leave a positive footprint on those I have encountered.