Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reading in Ballard, scene of a condo crime

As many of you know, I wrote extensively about the effort to "save" the Ballard Manning's/Denny's diner in Ballard. I even included a column about it in Pugetopolis. I'm still pained when I drive by the vacant site at 15th and Market today. The diner was designated a city landmark, then bulldozed. A new monstrosity is planned to replace it, a pile of condos with a tower that's supposed to suggest a lighthouse. It looks more like a modern version of Joliet prison.

But all that is new is not bad in Ballard. And one of the cool new places is the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library. It's a really interesting building and has more playfulness than some of the other new libraries around town that seem designed to suggest warehouse space where you might launch an ephemeral dot-com. The Ballard branch has a lot more personality than that. It's not Manning's/Denny's Googie, it doesn't have that Paul-Bunyan-meets-Polynesian-Scandinavian-stave-church-longhouse look. But it's distinctive and clearly will be, I hope, solidly defended by preservationists when Greg Nickels in his 10th consecutive mayoral term attempts to tear it down in 2041.

Anyway, my last scheduled public reading in Seattle will be at the Ballard Library next week, Tuesday, March 31 at 6:30 pm to be precise. I hope you can make it. They don't serve booze like the Swedish Club (I may ask the new city librarian to rectify that problem: why not libraries with bars to help pay for them?), but there are plenty of establishments in the neighborhood where you can get likkered up before the reading. And it should be a good venue to discuss lutefisk and other important Ballard topics, new and old.

I checked the Seattle Public library catalog and all their circulating copies of Pugetopolis are currently checked out or on hold. No worries. Ballard's Secret Garden Books will be selling copies. See you in Buh-LARD.

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