Belltown - Seattle
, time: the present
I "sort of" lived in Belltown ten years ago, when I had to step over junkies puking on the sidewalk to get into "the" apartment. It had it's upsides though, no-one judged a person in Belltown, I bet before a few years ago it was always a place of vague anonymity. But as a direct result of this small wasteland being cheap and slightly scary it has been propelled it into the hip but slightly scary dot com neighborhood it now is. And like unlike (but similar to) Pioneer Square, Belltown is still evolving.
Once known as the Denny Regrade area, it apparantly used to be one of seattles tallest hills, but was flattened and used to fill in the hole that pre-dated Pioneer Square. Hardly a illustrious beginning. But in the last decade it has been duly noted that where the artists are percieved to live will generate a good price in real-estate. Going rate for this area (condos pretty is equal to or greater than upper Queen Anne, Pioneer Square or Madrona. 300K + will get you a 1 bedroom condo with a view.
Despite this, there really is some good grub, funk and folk in Belltown. A short list:
what brings me to this node write up is that my new office is now in Belltown. It used to house the Seattle branch of the Church of Scientology. Creepy, at least to me. I would node about it, but if I do, and disappear, please come looking for me...
That aside, the building is smack on the corner of 3rd and Bell, opposite Seattles happen' downtown smack park, Regrade Park. I look out my strange new office window at large quantities of the finest heroin and crack being scrutized in the air in direct sun, broad daylight. twice or three times a day the Seattle Metropolitan Police "super-paddy wagon" (What I believe to be an armoured Cushman crossed with a Winnebago), pulls up, they load a few fucked up junkies and prostitues in, and then it pulls off. Their numbers to be replaced with exact replica's within the hour. When it rains, they all sit under the Big Toy.
Underneath my office window (which, as an aside, is deleriously swank, I feel a daily case of abject panic, followed by a false sense of security. Then I take a nap on the floor, bugger it all..), is a phone, which is closely tied in history and destiny to the aforementioned park. When somebody is on it, I can look out my window directly onto their heads. This is nice when the occasional hipster grrl uses it, as one can get all the details in a quiet voyeristic thrill. The rest of the time it is more desparate folk. I can't quite make out the words on the phone, but they communicate more often than not in pleading or angry tones. "Dude", "Bitches", "Chillin", "Beer".
But Belltown is wedged in between Pike Place Market on the West, Seattle Center and Queen anne on the North, downtown Seattle on the South. The only other direction left is to the East, which is rapidly getting filled up by new hotels, and yep, more condos.