Exploring my Urban Neighborhood in Photographs is a Rewarding Hobby
Take A Walk Along One Block of My Urban Neighborhood - I've Got My Camera
Urban exploring is a relaxing pastime for me, when I take my camera along. Starting out I glance back at my apartment building.
I'm not big on the colors, but they are very popular in this area. Drive through any one of the many Seattle city neighborhoods, or along I-5 where it cuts through the core of the city, and it's easy to pick out the tax credit buildings. I think they all had the same designer and same decorator.
The city of Seattle continues to fertilize a bumper crop of new mixed-income apartment complexes. They are popularly called tax-credit buildings. The owners save bundles on their tax bills, and in turn, renters pay reasonable rents.
These are not low income residences, as the rents are too high to qualify, and renters pay slightly lower than the going rate for comparable apartments. Some buildings operate as communities, offering limited transportation, even those tiny new electric Smart Cars, for 90 minutes worth of shopping. Others have their own vans and regularly schedule trips to restaurants, stores, and casinos, charging very little, or nothing at all.
The tax-credit apartments are a godsend for many seniors, and for persons with disabilities too, because they can live in clean and dignified housing that's located close to mass transportation and shopping. Many buildings boast pea-patch type growing areas on the roofs.
Our building offers residents the use of one half of a corrugated metal livestock watering tank, full of soil from the vendor across the street. It also provides locked garage parking on the lowest level, though most residents use mass transit for longer trips, and walk for short shopping trips - to the grocery, drug store, phone and pizza stores, outlet clothing and the best fish and chips place in the city.
Take the walk to the main street, one block along that street, half a block into the shopping center, and then the back way around the short block home, with me. You'll know we're back home when you come to the metal flower sculpture photograph. Hope you like it.
photo credits: I took all of them
Firewood & Sand & Gravel & Soil - sold right across the street
Walking the short block to the main street, as I waited for the light to change my glance fell on this neighborhood business. I found it very surprising to see a firewood business, complete with the buzzing of chainsaws in the early mornings, when I first moved into this urban neighborhood.
This is the case I use. It is so easy to use. Screws onto the bottom. I just unsnap the two snaps and let the main body of the case dangle while I use the camera, then pull it up using only my left hand, and snap only the left snap.
That way I can unsnap it with one hand and bring it up ready to take another shot, in a flash. The comfortable leather strap is so easy to put over my head, as I head out the door, so I usually have my camera with me on walks.
Cherry Trees in Bloom - right at the corner
I snapped this shot, to my left, while I waited for the light to turn. Drivers turned in front of me so I stepped off the sidewalk onto the parking lot so I could get in close to the pink blossoms. Then when I had the green light they were gone and I was free to cross safely, having gotten my pretty fix.
Never Saw This Auto Shop Before
Looking through the camera, sizing up a shot, helps me see what I normally walk past, sight unseen. The wood yard is prominent in my memory, but only today did I discover the auto repair.
Tailoring For The Bride & Groom
I love the way immigrants turn their homes into storefronts that specialize in their areas of expertise.
The Shops Next Door To The Tailor
After the bridal gowns and suits are measured and pinned, it's off to shop for jewelry and get the nails done next door.
Move on To The Chiropractor
These blocks are jam packed with businesses. It's very postmodern, combining unexpected juxtapositions of tradition and the unusual together.
Sweet Little Shop
Until today I was blissfully unaware that the neighborhood now spots a retail shop in a tiny old garage. Wonder if this was a mother-in-law apartment in the past.
Grandaddy Sign on This Boxy Old Building
Wow, this mellow building oversees the tiny street front shop - I'm sure it was born as a garage or a house, right on the street. Again, until today's walk I was unaware of this shop.
Skinny Weathered House
I'm attracted to weather worm buildings, and if this one weren't right on an arterial I might covet it.
Blackberry Guard Fence
This house sits sort of majestically on the rise above an extensive crop of old blackberry vines. Blackberries grow all around the town, crowd alleys, and plague gardens, but in this case they may serve as pseudo guard dogs.
The New Dandelion Crop
I was surrounded by dandelions at my turn-around spot, so I got in real close to capture them in their full color glory.
Really Friendly Signal Case Decor
See that man walking away from me. When I paused to turn around, at the dandelions, he came up to me, smiling. He used his best body language with smiles and sounds to express his delight in seeing me photograph the neighborhood sights. Then he waved goodbye, and I caught him in the photograph of the signal case cover.
Rare Shot of Nearly Empty Street
This old street is usually abuzz with traffic, even throughout the night hours, when I can hear sirens (it's the main north-south thoroughfare that runs the whole half-length of the west side of Lake Washington, so every police, aid, and fire truck uses it. I took this picture while I waited next to the signal cover pictured above, for the light to change so I could cross to the east side of the street.
Can't Forget The Fast Food Joint
After photographing the milk trucks I looked back at the other end of the block, where I came from, and thought Taco Bell added a nice golden glow to the street scene.
Darigold Milk Trucks in a Row
Since childhood Darigold has meant sweet rich milk to me. It's a local milk wholesaler that happens to be headquartered right in my urban neighborhood. From here I headed 1/2 block to the east and entered the Safeway shopping complex parking lot.
New Advertising in Parking Lot
Surprise, surprise! Now the local grocer has plunked advertising signs atop poles right in the parking lanes. This sign advertises toothpaste.
A New Look at the Grocery Entrance
The photograph gives this supermarket entrance a rather exotic look. I never get that feel when I walk into the store, but today the normally expansive vista seemed cramped by all the new signs that sat next to the outer doors and in the entrance way. It looks friendly and folksy, and I headed for the flowers.
Vibrant Flowers Captured My Heart
Since my camera dangled from my neck, with the case conveniently open, I took some pictures inside the store.
Grocery Thanks Me For Coming
I couldn't resist this tight line of carts standing alongside the sidewalk out to the street. With my camera handy it was easy and cheap to give them a try.
Crows Wished I'd Go The Other Way
Have you ever been threatened by crows? I have, so when I saw a few of them, and heard their irate tone, I wasn't certain I wouldn't comply with their request and turn around. Instead, I lifted my camera and captured some of them to share.
Improvements On The Way
This texter completely missed the latest remodeling work that seems to be turning the old and decrepit house into a new flashy business. Looks to me like it will be a restaurant, with dining behind the fence.
Bike Repair Shop
The entire house is covered in lath strips, over windows and all. I find it a little creepy.
Making Room for New Apartment Building
Trapped in cyclone fencing, the ground work is done for a new tax-credit apartment building. There in the background is my colorful residence home. We made it around the short block and along the long block on the back street.
There's A Line Of These Flowers Out Front
Video Tours With Urban Neighborhood Ideas
My Personal Favorite Walking Shoe
This is the shoe I wore on my surprising walk today. I love the bounce in my walk that comes from these shoes' unique design. They are not knock-offs - but, the real thing! They have excellent foot support and the heel design means it's easy to walk on the paved sidewalk without heel strain. I recommend these MBTs in a big way!
Try a Few Seattle Urban Walks
- Best Seattle Walks
Watch and learn where to walk for character in Seattle neighborhoods.
- Walking in Seattle
Lots of fascinating areas to walk in Seattle
- Urban Hikes
Take some long hikes in the Seattle area, explore the city the way you can't do in a car.
- Seattle Maps
Download urban walking maps of Seattle, the whole city, and of sections.
Wonderful Seattle Walking Resource
This is a great tool because it is a set of cards, each one taking the walker meandering on a distinct and fascinating urban path.
My Hobby of Taking Surprising Urban Walks
Do you have a hobby of taking leisurely urban walks?