Day 316

Day 316 says, “Hey, I’m in Seattle and things are going great!” And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold Steve said so.

Now that I got the outdated 90’s reference out of the way, I think it best to move on.

One thing I find rather interesting about Seattle is its ability to balance two very different personalities at the same time. On one hand, you have this quaint little harbor town, filled with specialty shops and a wide array of artisans and do-it-yourselfers. They push healthy living, farm-fresh ingredients and supporting all things local. Even when walking downtown, you could easily forget you’re in the presence of skyscrapers, because at street level, the whole area still maintains that ‘small town’, residential feel.

And the people? They’ve all adopted the punk rock mentality—one that says, “We can’t rely on others to do it for us, so we’ll do it ourselves". Heck, just take a stroll around Capitol Hill and I challenge you to find a single lamp post that isn’t covered in six feet of flyers, posters and event notices.

On the other hand, Seattle is extremely modern and if you ever take in one of the city’s stunning views, you’d think that mentality never ends. The cuisine is more upscale; the newer apartments offer bright colors, stainless steel appliances and a copious amount of amenities—all housed in neighborhoods that are seemingly popping up over night. There’s also a lot of new construction going on in the city—enough to rival that of Austin—and the blame seems to be squarely on Amazon.

Personally, I think you could equally blame Google and the wealth of other companies who are building offices here too. But given that Amazon is literally building its own neighborhood, I can understand the frustration. True, jobs aren’t a bad thing at all, especially for a city with a rather visible homeless problem. But if the city were to lose it’s charm and character in the shadows of high rises and glass buildings, you have to question if it’s worth it.

Despite these very disparate characteristics, Seattle maintains a balance that few cities are capable of. The residential areas offer more than you’d expect and the downtown areas still feel like home. It’s a place where people find happiness in their healthy lifestyles, but still have a tendency to go out and indulge on a weekly basis; a place where goths and punks can freely roam the streets, without seeming out of place. In Seattle, creativity is king and there’s no point in hiding it, because it’s on display in every corner of every neighborhood.

-Steve-

Day Seventy One

The view from Pulaski Bridge.

Here’s a brief overview of my weekend — I saw The Lego Movie, which I think is an excellent film for just about anyone. In fact, I’d say the audience skewed more toward my age group than it did children. I was in awe of its animation style, as well as the film’s ability to incorporate references any adult would find funny. I followed that up with a trip to the always reliable Kellogg’s Diner and then hit the hay to catch up on some much needed sleep.

The next day, I visited the American Museum of the Moving Image. It’s a very unique space that celebrates the creation and realization of film, animation, gaming and cinematography. It’s such an interesting experience and I highly recommend it to anyone in a creative field. Of course, being down the road from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts doesn’t hurt it either.

Now, if you’ll allow me to change the subject, I’d like to talk about New York City for a bit. Actually, I’d say it’s more than a bit because this is part one of two. So, here we go:

The other night, I was trying to think of the best piece of advice I could offer anyone moving to NYC. While there’s so much I could say to a potential transplant, I think one of the most important things is—experience this city in moderation. Whether you’re here for a month, a year or the rest of your life, it’s easy to be consumed by the Big Apple.

Art Directors Club HQ.

When I originally moved to NYC, it was my first experience even being here. There was a lot to take in and over the course of the next four years; I had my share of ups and downs. For the first few months, I was absolutely petrified about going broke. I clipped coupons, only bought sale items and saved every dime and nickel I could find. While that fear eventually leveled out, I think it taught me another important lesson—always stay on budget.

Of course, there’s also an endless array of clubs, bars, concert venues and shops that make it incredibly easy to put yourself in debt. I’ll admit, I was guilty of buying a few things here and there that I didn’t really need. But I was lucky enough to have a good budget in place. I’ve seen people in tight spots, because they wanted so much, so quickly and the bills just continued to pile on. In the end, most of them either moved away or back in with their families. 

As time wore on, I become more comfortable financially, but the endless presence of the city itself began to weigh on me. If you’re a private person or enjoy the sound of silence, I wouldn’t even consider moving here. No matter where you go there are always people nearby. Don’t get me wrong; I still love it. I just think it’s important to have realistic expectations on what life is like here, because the media tends to glamorize the city with giant loft apartments, pristine parks and art deco office spaces. While these all exist, chances are you won’t see them unless you make six figures, are a cast member on How I Met Your Mother or recently landed a job with Google.

-Steve-