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Access Seattle 6e
In November 1851, when city founder Arthur Denny and his party of 23 anchored their ship in a rainstorm off what is now West Seattle, they dubbed their new home New York-Alki, Chinook for "New York By-and-By." This bit of wishful thinking came to seem prophetic more than a century later when, in 1989, the city's skyline had grown so tall and dense that height-restrictive building codes had to be instituted. Fueled by both the tourism industry and the national media, who "discovered" the city during the 1980s, the area's population grew by 18% (twice the national average) during that decade. Attracted by low unemployment and exponential growth in the high-tech industries, its reputation for cleanliness and safety, and an innovative and enthusiastic arts community, people from as far away as Vietnam and as nearby as Los Angeles flocked to Seattle. The newcomers couldn't shut the entry gates behind them fast enough to safeguard what they'd found, but the influx could not be stemmed. Housing prices shot up, and residents started to fret that air pollution, not just fog or rain clouds, was obscuring the city's noble vistas.
And the panoramas are noble indeed, filled with breathtaking beauty. There are the sharp peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains embracing the city from east andwest, neighboring Puget Sound swimming with giant octopuses and sea lions, and sparkling modern downtown towers of glass and steel alongside the gleaming white terra-cotta structures of earlier days, all seen through the drizzle of winter . . . and spring . . . andfall . . . and sometimes summer. In Another Roadside Attraction, Washingtonian Tom Robbins describes the Puget Sound basin as having "a blurry beauty (as if the Creator started to erase it but had second thoughts)." And though Seattle hates to be called mellow, life among its 579,000 or so residents remains relatively calm; after all, it's mostly ferries—rather than more expeditious bridges—that carry commuters across the water to the city.
Visitors too should take their time enjoying the city—not the mythological Seattle of rain-washed skies and leaping salmon, but the real city, which is much more interesting. Without doubt, the city's most popular attraction is the lively 100-year-old Pike Place Market, where there's far more color than just that of the carrots, crabmeat, and chrysanthemums for sale by the more than 600 merchants. Pioneer Square, with cobblestone streets and 19th-century brick buildings built after the Great Fire of 1889, was the city's original downtown; today it's home to many art galleries and boutiques. North and west, through the Business District's high-rise office buildings, is the recently renovated Seattle Center, a futuristic remnant of the 1962 World's Fair, complete with the Space Needle and Monorail. Architecture buffs might want to wander the streets of Capitol Hill or Queen Anne, and bibliophiles may head for the University District's many bookstores and cafés. Hikers and cyclists can meander the city's many areas of green—there are 6,189 acres of parks spread from one end of Seattle to the other. The water sports enthusiast can also find lots of pleasant activities—from windsurfing on Green Lake to sailing from Shilshole Marina in Ballard. And, finally, back to West Seattle, where it all began, where the High Point, literally the highest point in the city, affords skyline views of the self-proclaimed Emerald City in its splendid setting of mountains and sea.Access Seattle 6e. Copyright � by Jack Access Press. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>