Seattle's Queen Anne Neighborhood News Blog


Entries from December 2009

What were the best Queen Anne stories of 2009?

December 31st, 2009 by Thea

Inspired by our sister site, Phinneywood, I’ve put together a list of the most-read and most-commented stories of 2009. As we welcome in 2010, which stories would you pick for the top story of 2009?

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Where to welcome in 2010

December 31st, 2009 by Thea

We’re just hours away from 2010, and if you still don’t have plans for ushering in the New Year, here are a few ideas for celebrating the teens on the hill.

The Space Needle fireworks show is always a hit, and if you’re willing to drop some cash to welcome in the next decade, you can be front and center at midnight. For $250 guests can enjoy a six-course meal at SkyCity, followed by dancing to Seattle party band Grüvbox on the Observation Deck. For $125 you can skip dinner and go straight to the countdown party. Details here.

The Spectator Sports Bar in Uptown is having their 2nd Annual 80′s New Year’s party, equipped with a DJ and prizes for the best 80′s mustache and wig! The festivities start at 7 p.m. (They’ll also be playing New Year’s day games on Friday, and will have a hearty New Year’s breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon).

For those of us you who’d rather celebrate the New Year on a shoestring budget, Farmers Life Insurance New Year’s at the Needle fireworks show can be seen from Kerry Park on W Highland Dr. The viewpoint is the perfect place to watch the fireworks, but get there early to get a good spot because the park isn’t big enough for thousands of New Year’s onlookers. If you’d rather get a close to the action as possible, you can join the 20,000 others expected to gather at the base of the Needle for the eight-minute display.

Still need a babysitter for tonight? Send your kids to the New Year’s Eve Slumber Party at the Pacific Science Center for a night of fun, scientific exploration and a great view of the fireworks.

I won’t be on the hill for New Year’s this year, so if any of you happen to snap some great pictures of the fireworks show and would like to share, email them to Happy New Year!

(Photo courtesy of Crashworks via Flickr).

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Accordion band “5 Easy Pieces” plays holiday tunes

December 31st, 2009 by Thea

It may be New Year’s Eve, but if you’re still not ready to conclude the holiday season, you can relive some of the seasonal magic on Queen Anne hill right here. The annual Holiday Magic festival lit up the classic holiday tunes on video!

If you missed the band at Holiday Magic, here they are playing Jingle Bells. You can catch their other tunes – Deck the Halls, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Joy to the World, and Up on the Housetop – on El Diablo’s YouTube channel. Next year I’ll have to request they play a Chanukah song!

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Public hearing on Uptown mixed use project

December 31st, 2009 by Thea

The director of the Department of Planning and Development has recommended the city hold a public hearing on a proposed mixed use apartment and retail building in Uptown that would require the rezoning of three pieces or property at 100 Republican St. between 1st Ave N and Warren Ave N. The  six-story building would have 17,725 sq. ft. of ground-level retail space facing 1st Ave N and Republican, 265-275 apartments above and at ground level on Warren Ave, and 291-vehicle parking.

Currently this area is zoned NC3-40 (Neighborhood Commercial 3 with a 40-foot base height limit) and NC3P-40 (Pedestrian designated zone), but the building would require rezoning and raising the height limitations to to NC3-65 (Neighborhood Commercial 3 with a 65-foot base height limit) and NC3P-65. The proposal also includes plans to vacate approximately 3,840 sq. ft. of the platted alley, amounting to about half of the alley length, and rededicate 2,880 sq. ft. in another location.

Back in March ten members of the public attended the Early Design Guidance meeting, and had many concerns including noise, access to commercial parking around Seattle Center and Uptown’s business district, safety of the remaining alleyway, as well as congestion and maneuverability of large trucks and fire engines in the alleyway. In a Design Review Recommendation meeting held in July, concerns of the shadowing effect on buildings to the north was brought up. A full project analysis and recommendation by the Director of the Department of Planning and Development was put together. You can download and review that here.

A hearing to take public comment from the community on the Director’s recommendation will be held on Tuesday, January 12 at 1:30 p.m. at the Office of the Hearing Examiner, located at 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4000. Written comments will also be accepted until the close of the hearing. Information on how to make a written comment here.

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7th & Bertona covered in ice

December 30th, 2009 by Thea

Although the weather seems to have warmed up a bit these last few weeks, particularly cold mornings still mean patches of ice around the hill. A few weeks ago one of our readers, Jon Ribary, wrote,

7th and Bertona is always wet. I have lived here for 9 years and just assume it is someones water run off, but now that it is freezing it is a sheet of ice. I am curious why there is always water there. Do you know?

And after weeks of back and forth with street maintenance contacts at SDOT, they still can’t figure out where the water run-off is coming from. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slick ice at this intersection.

7th & Bertona ice

Jon sent this picture this afternoon. “There was actually running water coming out of the sidewalk,” he wrote. “There are several places like that around (on 11th between Rufner and Emerson too. It would be great to know why.”

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TeaCup showcases paintings by Vietnamese twins

December 30th, 2009 by Thea

For the last two months Queen Anne Ave’s TeaCup has been showcasing a number of lacquer paintings by Vietnamese twins Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai through Art Xchange, a local non-profit that raises cultural awareness and promotes global understanding by bringing exhibits from artists around the world to local cafes and galleries.

Art Exchange at TeaCup

The brothers have exhibited their work in museums and galleries around the world, including New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Bangkok, and Tokyo. They are renown among colleagues for their bold lacquers that use stark contrasts of color and “wild, naive outlines,” according to Art Xchange.

Art Exchange at TeaCup

TeaCup shows mini-exhibits through Art Xchange on a rotating basis, and will be hosting Thanh and Hai’s works for another couple of weeks, when they paintings will be moved to the Art Xchange gallery in Pioneer Square and another installation will take over. If you’re hankering for a cup of tea and some beautiful art, it’s definitely worth the visit.

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City seeks public comment on commercial demolition

December 30th, 2009 by Thea

The Department of Planning and Development is asking the Queen Anne community to give public comment on a land use application that would demolish three commercial structures, totally 76,727 sq. ft., on 1207 Westlake Ave N, an area that is classified as “environmentally critical.” According to DPD, this may be the only opportunity community members have to weigh in on the environmental impacts of the proposal. To read up on the application or make a public comment, click here. Comments can be made online though Wednesday, January 6.

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Sneak a peek at Wink, just one week away

December 29th, 2009 by Thea

It still may not look like much from the outside, but some of the paper has come down at Wink, allowing passersby to catch a glimpse of Queen Anne Ave’s new cupcake parlor, set to open one week from today, on Tuesday, January 5.

Wink Cupcakes

I stopped by this afternoon and got a sneak peek at the sweet shop. While chatting about the opening with “Über Manager” Lisa Gagnon, several people stopped in to see when Wink would be opening up, clearly eager for some cupcakes.

“We’re excited to be in the Queen Anne community and be a place where people can congregate,” Lisa said about the three-year-old company’s first retail location. She also said that they’d be putting a sign that reads, “Please refrain from licking the glass,” in the window that opens into the baking area, where “People can watch their cupcakes in action,” according to Lisa.

Wink Cupcakes

In addition to serving many seasonal and year-round flavors (their menu is not totally set yet, but includes old standbys like red velvet with classic cream cheese frosting, as well as unique concoctions like champagne cake with lemon buttercream and Guinness with “frothy frosting”), they will also sell Whidbey Island Ice Cream and an organic direct trade coffee blend from Guatemala grown and roasted specifically for them.

Wink Cupcakes

The pink and polka dot clad shop is filled with cupcake paraphernalia – including T-shirts and even cupcake-shaped bath bombs – made by local artists and businesses.

“We’re a little blend of small and local,” Lisa said.

Wink Cupcakes

Wink will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. They’ll be closed on Mondays. (Note their hours have changed since our last report). Also, Wink will be continuing it’s delivery service, bringing cupcakes and coffee straight to your door Thursday through Saturday, or by appointment.

“We’re heavy on delivery,” Lisa said. “Instead of sending flowers, you can send cupcakes!”

Welcome Wink, we’re excited to have you on the hill!

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Rep Carlyle to host coffee hours next weekend

December 29th, 2009 by Thea

36th District Rep Reuven Carlyle has announced he will be hosting four coffee hours around the district on Saturday, January 9 in order to meet with community members before the start of the upcoming legislative session on Monday, January 11.

“The Legislature convenes on January 11 and we’re again facing a massive deficit of nearly $3 billion,” Carlyle said in a press release today. “It’s critical that I hear from our community directly about your views, issues, concerns and thoughts on the budget, taxes, education and other important issues.  I’m asking people to reach out and share your views so I can better represent you in Olympia during these difficult times.”

Coffee hour times and locations:

  • Crown Hill: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Caffé Fioré (3125 W 85th St.)
  • Greenwood: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Herkimer (7320 Greenwood Ave. N)
  • Magnolia: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Serendipity (3222 W McGraw St.)
  • Queen Anne: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Caffé Fioré (224 W Galer St.)

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FBI says violent and property crimes are down nationwide, but on the rise in Seattle

December 29th, 2009 by Thea

A recent FBI report released the national and local crime statistics for first half of 2009, January to June, and compared to the 2008 numbers it looks like violent crime is down 4.4 percent nationwide and property crime is down 6.1 percent. However, in Seattle both violent and property crimes have gone up compared to last year. The Seattle Times wrote,

Data released Monday by the FBI showed incidents of violent crime (murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery) in Seattle increased from 1,582 during the first six months of 2008 to 1,927 during the same period this year — a rise of nearly 22 percent, the FBI reported.

Property crimes (burglary, larceny, theft and car theft) in Seattle also rose approximately 4.5 percent during the first half of the year with 16,325 incidents, compared to 15,629 incidents during the first half of 2008.

I personally was never sure if there was actually more crime, of if I was just more aware of it, until I saw these numbers. And there’s no denying the reports of burglaries and break-ins keep coming. Just this morning the Ballard Walgreens was robbed at gunpoint. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee at has a theory behind Seattle’s recent rise in crime. He breaks it down to three main causes. One: The economy. Two: A shortage of police officers. And lastly, an unfinished Neighborhood Policing Plan that falls short of helping cops better integrate with and serve their neighborhoods. Read Jonah’s full post here, and tell us, what do you think? 

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Did anyone notice a low-flying plane yesterday?

December 29th, 2009 by Thea

One of our readers, Joel, wrote this in our forum last night,

Did anyone see a really low flying jet go over Queen Anne/North Seattle today? Were we the only ones that saw this? I can’t find anything on the news.

Given the controversy Queen Anne, Magnolia and Ballard have had surrounding low-flying planes and the noise they cause in the past, I wonder if anyone else witnessed a loud or low jet yesterday, Monday, December 28, as well? Please comment below.

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The Maxwell Hotel set to open in March 2010

December 29th, 2009 by Thea

If you live on the south side of Queen Anne hill or in Uptown, you may have noticed some major construction going on at 300 Roy St., the soon-to-be site of The Maxwell Hotel, slated to open in March.

The Maxwell Hotel

Owned by Columbia West Properties, the company behind the University Inn and a number of other properties around town, the new hotel will have 140 rooms above four ground-level retail spaces. And according to, it will house an indoor pool, exercise facility, meeting spaces and espresso bar. They also wrote that the hotel will have swimming pool tiles painted by local children, though Columbia West has not yet verified this.

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