The character of old Seattle still graces the ambience of the Pioneer Square area of Seattle and along Western Avenue to the Pike Place Market.

The Smith Tower

The Smith Tower

The 42-floor Smith Tower was the tallest building on the West Coast when it was built in 1914.

The 42-floor Smith Tower was the tallest building on the West Coast when it was built in 1914.

Totem Pole in Pioneer Square

Totem Pole in Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square totem pole

Another totem pole by the Iron Pergola

Another totem pole by the Iron Pergola

Ink sketch of Pioneer Square totem pole

Iron Pergola, Pioneer Square

Iron Pergola, Pioneer Square

Vine-covered wall along Western Avenue

Vine-covered wall along Western Avenue

Man hole cover on Western Avenue

Man hole cover on Western Avenue

Along Western Ave

Busker with duct-taped accordion, Pike Place Market

Busker with duct-taped accordion, Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Sketch of rock fish

Sketch of rock fish

“The sight of large masses of people hurrying down into underground chambers was perpetually strange to me, and I felt that all of the human race were rushing, pushed by a counterintuitive death drive, into moveable catacombs.”
— Teju Cole, Open City

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

It did not take too long to become familiar with New York City’s subway system.  It was initially disorienting because we made our entry into the city at Penn Station, which has to be one of the most confusing subway stops.  We had arrived on the NJ Transit train from Newark, and we did not realize that Penn Station is also the hub for Amtrak, the Long Island Railway, as well as the NYC’s MTA subway system.  We eventually found our way to the ticket booth for the MTA and each purchased a 7-day, unlimited ticket.  That gave us the freedom to hop on and off the subway at will, and we got our money’s worth!

The first thing we learned is that New Yorkers do not say “subway;”  they are taking the “train.”

The second thing we learned was to know if we were going uptown (north) or downtown (south) before following the signs and arrows to the appropriate platform.

And indeed, the subway is a vast, mostly underground train system.  The trains are much longer than I expected, and they zoomed into each station.  What a convenient way to travel around a huge city like New York!

Staricase in a subway station, NYC

Staircase in a subway station, NYC

The trains traveled at fairly high speeds.

The trains traveled at fairly high speeds.

Inside a subway car

Inside a subway car

Traveler on another platform (posterized photo)

Traveler on another platform (posterized photo)

Enterprising busker

Enterprising busker in a subway station

Olympic Sculpture Park, Space Needle with Calder’s Eagle

My siblings are a far-flung bunch, and I always enjoy their rare visits to Seattle.  Out-of-town guests give me an excuse to play tourist in my home town and to re-visit my favorite places. It’s no surprise that I’ve blogged about most of these excursions already (links to past posts included below).

Here’s a list of things I did with my sister and brother-in-law — what else would you have included?

Watching the sunset from Golden Gardens beach

Flowers at the Pike Place Market

Busker outside the original Starbucks store in the Pike Place Market

  • Savor the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.  We enjoyed lattes from Zoka’s Coffee Shop, salmon, steamed clams, fresh peaches and cherries from the Olympia Farmer’s Market, dinner at the Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant, Fran’s chocolate Gold Bars and truffles, homemade blackberry pie, and pizza at Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie (among other things).

Morning lattes from my neighborhood Zoka’s