Saturday, March 11, 2017

How to Be a Red Bulls Fan In Seattle -- 2017 Edition

Today, the New York Red Bulls defeated the Colorado Rapids, 1-0, in their 2017 Major League Soccer home opener at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

A week from tomorrow, they visit the Pacific Northwest, to take on the Seattle Sounders. They did not do so last season, when the Sounders won their 1st MLS Cup, so I had to do one of these trip guides for the visit of New York City FC.

Yes, the city in that picture really is Seattle. Yes, that really is a nice blue sky overhead. When the clouds part, and you can see Lake Washington and the Cascadia Mountains, including Mount Rainier, it's actually a beautiful city. It's just that it rains so much, such a sight isn't all that common.

Before You Go. Seattle is notorious for rain.Check the websites of the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for the weather forecast. Right now, they're saying that Sunday afternoon will be in the high 40s, and the evening in the low 30s, with a chance of rain early, but not during the game.

Seattle is in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

There is high-speed passenger ferry service from Seattle to the Canadian city of Victoria, the capital of the Province of British Columbia. It costs a bundle, though: $92.50 each way. (The scenery in Washington State and British Columbia is spectacular, and this is clearly part of what you're paying for.) From there, you can easily get to Vancouver.

If you want to make this trip, you will have to give confirmation within 48 hours of booking. And it's a passenger-only ferry service: No cars allowed. If you'd like to make a side trip to Vancouver, you're better off driving or taking the train. But any way you go over the border, you should have your passport with you. And, of course, you'll have to change your money.

Tickets. The Sounders annually lead MLS in attendance, so much so that they have no intention of getting out of the football stadium they originally inhabited, as have the Red Bulls, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Jose have done; as D.C. are preparing to do; and as NYCFC would like to do. They averaged 42,636 fans last season -- a sellout, although the top deck is closed off. Getting tickets will be very difficult.

Away supporters are put in Section 300, in the northeastern corner of the stadium, so, being limited to one section, you might have it easier than home fans. Tickets are a whopping $54, about twice as much as at most MLS stadiums, but this may be due to the game being the Sounders' home opener. These seats usually go for $26.

Getting There. It's 2,860 miles from Times Square in Manhattan to Pioneer Square in Seattle, and 2,63 miles from Yankee Stadium CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks play their home games. In other words, if you’re going, you're going to want to fly.

After all, even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don’t get pulled over for speeding, you’ll still need over 2 full days to get there. One way.

But if you really, really want to drive... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and stay on that until it merges with Interstate 90 west of Cleveland, then stay on 90 through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, into Wisconsin, where it merges with Interstate 94. Although you could take I-90 almost all the way, I-94 is actually going to be faster. Stay on I-94 through Minnesota and North Dakota before re-merging with I-90 in Montana, taking it through Idaho and into Washington, getting off I-94 at Exit 2B.

Not counting rest stops, you should be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2 hours, Wisconsin for 3:15, Minnesota for 4:30, North Dakota for 6 hours, Montana for a whopping 13 hours (or 3 times the time it takes to get from New York to Boston), Idaho for 1:15 and 6:45 in Washington. That’s 50 hours, and with rest stops, you're talking 3 full days.

That's still faster than Greyhound (70 hours, changing in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis and Missoula, $473 round-trip) and Amtrak (67 hours, changing in Chicago, $579).

On Amtrak, you would leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Friday, and board the Empire Builder at 2:15 PM, and would reach King Street Station at 10:25 AM Pacific Time on Sunday, easily in time for the 4:00 PM kickoff. The trip back would leave Seattle at 4:40 PM on Monday, arrive at Chicago at 3:55 PM on Wednesday, leave at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, and arrive in New York at 6:23 PM Thursday.

King Street Station is just to the north of the stadium complex, at S. King Street & 3rd Avenue. S., and horns from the trains can sometimes be heard as the trains go down the east stands of CenturyLink Field and the right-field stands of Safeco Field. The Greyhound station is at 811 Stewart Street at 8th Avenue, in the Central Business District, about halfway between the stadiums and the Seattle Center complex.
King Street Station. There is a Union Station,
next door, but it's an office building now.

A round-trip nonstop flight from Newark to Seattle, if ordered now, could be had for around $550. Link Light Rail can get you out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), and the same system has Stadium Station to get to Safeco and CenturyLink Fields. The fare is $2.75.

Once In the City. Founded in 1853, and named for a Chief of the Duwamish Indians, Seattle is easily the biggest city in America's Northwest, with 700,000 people within the city limits and 4.5 million in its metropolitan area. Just as Charlotte is called the Queen City of the Southeast, and Cincinnati the Queen City of the Midwest, Seattle is known as the Queen City of the Northwest.

All its greenery has also gotten it the tag the Emerald City. With Lake Washington, Puget Sound, and the Cascade mountain range nearby, including Mount Rainier, it may be, on those rare clear days, America's most beautiful metro area.

East-west street addresses increase from Puget Sound and the Alaskan Way on eastward. North-south addresses are separated by Yesler Way. The Seattle Times is the city's only remaining daily print newspaper. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is still in business, but in online form only. This is mainly due to the high cost of both paper and ink, and has doomed many newspapers completely, so Seattle is lucky to still, sort of, have 2 daily papers.

ZIP Codes in the State of Washington start with the digits 980 to 994. In Seattle proper, it's 980 and 981; and for the suburbs, 982, 983 and 984. The Area Code for Seattle is 206. Interstate 405 serves as Seattle's "beltway."

Sales tax in the State of Washington is 6.5 percent, but in the City of Seattle, it's 9.5 percent. Off-peak bus fare in Seattle is $2.25. In peak hours, a one-zone ride (either totally within the City of Seattle or in King County outside the city) is $2.50 and a two-zone ride (from the City to the County, or vice versa) is $3.00. The monorail is $2.25. The light rail fares, depending on distance, are between $2.00 and $2.75. Fares are paid with a farecard, or, as they call it, an ORCA card: One Regional Card for All.
Although Seattle is the largest city in the State of Washington, the State Capitol is Olympia, 60 miles to the southwest. It can be reached by public transportation, taking Bus 594 to Lakewood, and then transferring to Bus 620. It takes about 2 1/2 hours.
The Washington State House in Olympia

Going In. The official address of CenturyLink Field, which opened in 2002 as Seahawks Stadium on the site of the Kingdome and is shared by the NFL's Seahawks and MLS' Sounders -- officially, "Seattle Sounders FC," even though we say "soccer team," not "football club" -- is 800 Occidental Avenue South. It is in a neighborhood called SoDo, for "South of Downtown." (CenturyLink is an Internet provider. It bought out telecommunications carrier Qwest, which had naming rights from 2004 to 2011.)

Occidental Avenue is the west sideline, the north side is King Street, the south side is Royal Brougham Way (Royal Brougham was not a car or a brand of booze, but the name of a Seattle sportswriter who championed the city as a site for major league sports), and the east sideline is the railroad. Parking is $8.00.

With CenturyLink being at the southern edge of downtown, you're likely to enter on the  north or west side. Tailgating is permitted in the north parking lot only.
CenturyLink Field, with Safeco Field behind it

"C-Link" is often cited as the loudest stadium in the NFL. Certainly, due to the league-leading crowds, it's the loudest in MLS. The way the stadium is built certainly gives the fans' noise less distance to travel: The upper levels were cantilevered over the lower sections, to fit within the limited space available for construction.

Along with the angle of seats and the placement of the lower sections closer to the field, this provided a better view of the field than typically seen throughout the country and allowed for a 67,000 seat capacity. Space is available to increase the total capacity to 72,000 for special events. The city's impressive skyline can be seen through the north end, beyond the triangular end zone "Hawks Nest" stand.

The playing surface is FieldTurf, and is laid out north-to-south. College football games have been played there. The University of Washington has played games there, including their entire 2012 season, when their home across town, Husky Stadium, was being renovated. New Jersey's Rutgers University opened their 2016 season away to UW, who pounded RU. UW's arch-rivals, Washington State, opened their 2014 season there against Rutgers, who won a thriller.

(Wazzu's campus is nearly 300 miles to the southeast, so this wasn't exactly a home game for them. It may have been in the same State, but, distance-wise, it would have been like Rutgers playing them at Syracuse or Virginia Tech.)

It also hosts high school games, including a 2004 game in which Bellevue High, of the Seattle suburbs, beat De La Salle of the San Francisco Bay Area, ending the latter's national record 151-game winning streak, which had lasted 12 years. An art piece called The State of Football is on the grounds, as a tribute to high school football in the State of Washington.

It may be the best soccer facility in the country. The Sounders' "Cascadia Derby" games against the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps are spectacular events. The U.S. soccer team has played at CenturyLink 5 times, and won them all, most recently a Copa America match with Ecuador on June 16, 2016.

The stadium hosted the 2009 MLS Cup Final, in which Real Salt Lake beat the Los Angeles Galaxy on penalties. Along with the New England Revolution and (once Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens in the Summer) Atlanta United, the Sounders are 1 of 3 MLS teams that share a stadium with an NFL team. (The Whitecaps and Toronto FC share with CFL teams.)
Food. As a waterfront city, and as the Northwest's biggest transportation and freight hub, it is no surprise that Seattle is a good food city, with the legendary Pike Place Market serving as their "South Street Seaport."

Fortunately, CenturyLink lives up to this. Unfortunately, they serve Coca-Cola as opposed to Pepsi, Budweiser as opposed to good beer, and, thumbing their noses in Seattle's history as a great labor-union city (not to mention the Seahawks' demolition of company spokesman Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl), Papa John's Pizza. They do have Seattle institution Starbucks, and I suppose there must be some Wisconsin people involved with Seahawk concessions, because they also serve Johnsonville Brats.

Don't want to make "Papa" John Schnatter any richer? Good for you! "Pizza of Seattle" stands are at Sections 107 and 122. Pioneer Square International District, specializing in Asian food, is at 105 and 139. Loud & Proud Fan Raves and Craves is at 109 and 116. Kidd Valley, specializing in burgers and fries, is at 111 and 147. The Cantina, specializing in Mexican food, is at 113 and 131. "Grounders World Famous Garlic Fries" is at 118. Kinder's BBQ is at 120. Seattle Dogs (hot dogs) is at 124, 135 and 149. Brougham Beer Hall is at 128. Ivar's, specializing in chicken and chowder (including bread bowls), is at 133. Pioneer Square Butcher is at 204 and 240. 360 Sizzle, specializing in Asian food, is at 208 and 236. Ciao Down! Italian food is at 210 and 234. Seafood stand Catch! is at 214 and 230.

Team History Displays. Seattle is an underachieving city in sports. Until the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands in 2014, the city had won only 2 World Championships, ever: The 1917 Stanley Cup (I'll get to that in "Sidelights") and the 1979 NBA Championship. And since the SuperSonics' back-to-back Finals appearances in 1978-79, the city's only trips to the Finals had been the 1996 Sonics and the 2005-06 Seahawks, until the recent Seahawk Super Bowls (the one they won, and then the one they lost -- to the Patriots, thanks for nothing, Pete Carroll).

The Sounders were a part of this legacy of underachievement. They won the Supporters' Shield in 2014, and the U.S. Open Cup in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014 -- 4 of these cups being a total matches among MLS teams only by the Chicago Fire. (They also lost in the Final in 2012.) But in 2016, they won the MLS Cup.

The original Sounders, who played in the old North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1983, won division titles in 1980 and 1982, and got to the title game, the Soccer Bowl, in 1977 and 1982 -- both times, losing to the old New York Cosmos. They featured stars from the English league such as Bobby Moore, Alan Hudson, Alan Hinton, Mike England and Jimmy Robertson. The Sounders were also where one of the real characters of English soccer, Harry Redknapp, began his coaching career.

The Sounders name was revived in 1994, over such suggestions as Seattle FC, Seattle Alliance and Seattle Republic. They won the United Soccer League title in 1995, 1996, 2005 and 2007. As the current team is a continuation of that organization, they recognize those titles, but not the division titles won by the NASL Sounders. They hang banners for their USL and MLS/U.S. Open Cup achievements from the east side roof.
They will probably unveil the 2016 MLS Cup banner
before the Sunday game, as it is the home opener.

The Sounders, the Portland Timbers, and the Vancouver Whitecaps -- all named for teams that played in the NASL -- have competed for the Cascadia Cup since 2004. The Sounders won it in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2015 (despite Portland winning the MLS Cup), but not in 2016 (despite themselves winning the MLS Cup).
The Cascadia Cup, in the custody of
Sounders supporters' group Brougham Patrol

The Sounders and the San Jose Earthquakes, each team's secondary rival (the Quakes' primary rival is the Los Angeles Galaxy), play for a trophy whose name reflects their imagined lineage from the old NASL: The Heritage Cup. It's been awarded 8 times since the Sounders came into MLS for the 2009 season, and it's been split, 4-4.
The Heritage Cup

The Sounders have no retired numbers -- not even 6 for Bobby Moore, unlike his English club, West Ham United -- but it's likely that Number 2 will be put away for Clint Dempsey after he retires. They also don't have a team hall of fame.

Stuff. The Sounders FC Pro Shop, as well as the Seattle Seahawks Pro Shop, is located at Suite 300 at CenturyLink Field. Others are located at 410 Pike Street downtown, Renton Landing, Bellevue Square, and at the Lynnwood and Tacoma malls. 

Unlike most MLS teams, there is a good book written about this team. Two, in fact. (Well, in my opinion, anyway.) Both were published in 2013. Seattle radio sports-talk host Mike Gastineau (no relation to former Jets defender Mark) and U.S. soccer writer Grant Wahl collaborated on Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpice: The Inside Story Of The Best Franchise Launch In American Sports History. Cascadia Clash: Sounders versus Timbers, by Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian and former Sounders goalie Kasey Keller, tells of the best rivalry in MLS.

Adrian Webster wrote of the original Sounders in Eternal Blue, Forever Green: The Sounders in the '70sAs yet, there do not appear to be any books about the 2016 MLS Cup win, or any Sounders-themed DVDs, even of their U.S. Open Cup Finals.

During the Game. Although Mariner fans hate the Yankees more than any other team, Sounder fans have no reason to dislike either of the New York soccer teams beyond merely being that game's opponent who must be defeated. As long as you don't antagonize anyone, you should be okay.

The Sounders hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular. They no longer have a mascot, as Sammy Sounder, an orca whale, has been dropped.
Comedian and The Price Is Right host Drew Carey is a part-owner of the Sounders. At his request, the team set up The Sounders FC Alliance. Based on the fan association at FC Barcelona, members have the ability to vote on the removal of the general manager and on other team decisions. Season-ticketholders are automatic members. As of yet, only once has such a vote been held, and the voters decided to retain the GM.

Also at the request of Carey, who was a trumpeter in his Cleveland high school's marching band, the Sounders have MLS' 1st marching band: The Sound Wave, which sits in the north end. Before every game, they lead The March to the Match from Occidental Park to the stadium.

Emerald City Supporters (ECS) preceded the club's entry into MLS, and sits in the south end, in Sections 121, 122 and 123. Gorilla FC (Gorilla Football Collective -- GFC also stands for their motto: Glory, Fellowship, Community) does a pregame march from the Seattle outlet of the Fadó pub chain to the stadium, led by Civ, a man in a gorilla suit. They sit in the south end, in Sections 119 and 120, next to ECS. Eastside Supporters sit in 150, which they call "The Pod." And the North End Faithful sit in Sections 100 and 144 to 152, beneath the Hawks Nest.
Some songs for the team are familiar adaptations. "We love you Sounders, we do!" "I'm Sounders 'Til I Die!" They took Arsenal fans' "Ooh to Be a Gooner" and made it "Ooh to Be a Sounder!" Like the Red Bull fans, they use the Cock Sparrer song: "Take 'em all, take 'em all, line 'em up against a wall and shoot 'em!" Perry Como's last hit song said, "The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle," and Sounder fans sing that song in full.

After the Game. SoDo is not an especially high-crime area, and, as I said, Sounder fans generally do not get violent. You might get a little bit of verbal if you're wearing New York gear, but it won't get any worse than that.

Two bars are usually identified with Mariners and Seahawks games. Sluggers, formerly known as Sneakers (or "Sneaks" for short), is at 538 1st Avenue South, at the northwest corner of CenturyLink Field. A little further up, at 419 Occidental Avenue South, is F.X. McRory's. Keep in mind, though, that these will be Seattle-friendly bars.

Buckley's in Queen Anne, 2 blocks west of Queen Anne Avenue N., at 232 1st Avenue W. at Thomas Street, just to the west of Seattle Center, near the waterfront, is the local Giants fan hangout. The Magnolia Village Pub, at 3221 W. McGraw Street at 33rd Ave. W., is also considered a Giants bar, but it's 5 miles northwest of downtown. The Ram at Kent Station, at 512 Ramsay Way in Kent, is the local Jets center, but it's 20 miles south of downtown.

If you visit Seattle during the European soccer season (which we are now in), you may be able to watch your favorite team at one of these places:

* Arsenal: The Atlantic Crossing Pub, 6508 Roosevelt Way NE, 8 miles north of downtown. Bus 62.

* Liverpool: St. Andrews Bar & Grill, 7406 Aurora Avenue N, 7 miles north of downtown. Bus 7. Also, Doyle's Public House, 208 St. Helens Avenue in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of downtown. Bus 590.

* Manchester United: Fado, 801 1st Avenue, about a 15-minute walk north of CenturyLink Field. Light Rail to Pioneer Square. 

* Chelsea, Manchester City, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona: The George and Dragon Pub, 206 N. 36th Street, 5 miles north of downtown. Bus 40.

* Everton: Beveridge Place Pub, 6413 California Avenue SW, 5 miles southwest of downtown. C Line Bus.

* Bayern Munich: Shultzy's, 4114 University Way NE, 5 miles north of downtown, off the University of Washington campus. Bus 70.

If you don't see your club listed, the soccer bar in Seattle is Fadó, of the familiar Irish pub chain, at 801 1st Avenue and Columbia Street. You can probably find a few supporters of your team, and a bartender willing to put your team on the screen, there.

Sidelights. Aside from the KeyArena and the Safeco/CenturyLink complex, Seattle doesn't have a lot of sports sites worth mentioning. But these should be mentioned:

* Sick's Stadium. The Pacific Coast League team that preceded the Mariners, known at various times as the Indians, the Rainiers and the Angels (when they were a farm team of the Anaheim club), played 2½ miles southeast of the future sites of Safeco & CenturyLink, first at Dugdale Field (1913-1932) and then, after a fire required rebuilding, at Sick’s Stadium (1938-68 and 1972-76, built by Rainiers' owner Emil Sick).

The Seattle Pilots also played at Sick's, but lasted only one year, 1969, before being moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers, and are now chiefly remembered for ex-Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton’s diary of that season, Ball Four.

The book gives awful details of the place's inadequacy: As an 11,000-seat ballpark, it was fine for Triple-A ball in the 1940s, '50s and '60s; expanded to 25,420 seats for the Pilots, it was a lousy place to watch, and a worse one to play, baseball in anything like the modern era.

Elvis Presley sang at Sick's on September 1, 1957 (since it had more seats than any indoor facility in town). Supposedly, a 15-year-old Seattle native named James Hendrix (later known as Jimi) was there. A few days prior, Floyd Patterson defended the heavyweight title there by knocking out fellow 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher.

Demolished in 1979 after the construction of the Kingdome (whose inadequacies were very different but no less glaring), the site of Sick's Stadium is now occupied by a Lowe's store. 2700 Rainier Avenue South, bounded also by McClellan & Bayview Streets & Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Mount Baker station on the Link light rail system.

Husky Stadium. The home of the University of Washington football team, the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest (including Canada) is right on Lake Washington, and is one of the nicest-looking stadiums in college football. A rare feature in major college football is that fans can dock right outside and tailgate by boat. (The only others at which this is possible: Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee, and Heinz Field for University of Pittsburgh games.)

It opened in 1920, making it the oldest stadium in the Pacific-12 Conference. The Seahawks played a few home games here in 1994, after some tiles fell from the Kingdome roof, and played their games here in 2000 and 2001 between the demolition of the Kingdome and the opening of what's now CenturyLink Field. In 1923, it was the site of the last public speech given by President Warren G. Harding before his death in a San Francisco hotel. Sadly, The Wave was invented here in 1981, by university yell leader (think male cheerleader) Robb Weller, later one of Mary Hart's co-hosts on Entertainment Tonight. (This is disputed.)

A major renovation was recently completed, necessary due to age and the moisture from being on the water and in Seattle's rainy climate. Pretty much everything but the north stand of the east-pointing horseshoe was demolished and replaced. The Huskies played the 2012 season at CenturyLink, and moved into the revamped, 70,138-seat Husky Stadium for the 2013 season. 3800 Montlake Blvd. NE, at Pacific Street. Light Rail to University of Washington Station.

UW is 4 miles northeast of downtown Seattle. Washington State University, their big "Apple Cup" rivals, have a downtown campus, but their main campus is in Pullman, all the way across the State, 286 miles away. "Wazzu" is actually close to the State Line, and not far from Moscow, Idaho, where the University of Idaho is located.

In their 1982 College Football Preview issue, Sports Illustrated listed Austin, home of the University of Texas, as the best college town. The worst? It named 2: "1. Pullman, Washington, home of Washington State. To party, students must drive 10 miles to Moscow, Idaho. 2. Moscow, Idaho." (That's where the University of Idaho is. It's actually 7 miles between the WSU and UI campuses.)

* Edmunson Pavilion. Adjacent to Husky Stadium, at 3870 Montlake, is Alaska Airlines Arena at Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson Pavilion, the home of "U-Dub" basketball since 1927. Hec was the school's longtime basketball and track coach, and "Hec Ed" hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1949 (Kentucky over Oklahoma State) and 1952 (Kansas over New York's St. John's). It has also hosted the State of Washington's high school basketball finals.

UW has been to the Final Four only once, in 1953, although they've won the regular-season title in the league now called the Pac-12 11 times, including 2012; and the Conference Tournament 3 times, most recently in 2011. Washington State, across the State in Pullman, reached the Championship Game in 1941, but hasn't been back to the Final Four since.

The Kingdome hosted the Final Four in 1984, Georgetown over Houston; 1989, Michigan over Seton Hall; and 1995, UCLA over Arkansas. It also hosted 3 U.S. soccer team matches: A win, a loss, and a draw.

* Tacoma Dome. The Sonics used this building during the 1994-95 season, as the Seattle Center Coliseum was demolished and the KeyArena put up in its place. Opening in 1983, it seats 17,100, and its most common use has been for minor-league hockey and concerts. 2727 East D Street, about 32 miles south of downtown Seattle. It can be reached from downtown Seattle by Bus 590, 592, 594 or 595, and it would take about 45 minutes.

The night Elvis sang at Sick's Stadium, September 1, 1957, he gave an afternoon concert in Tacoma, at the Lincoln Bowl, the football stadium of Lincoln High School. 707 S. 37th Street. The day before, he sang across the State, at Memorial Stadium in Spokane. He returned to Spokane to sing at their Coliseum on April 28, 1973 and April 27, 1976.

The Spokane Coliseum, at Boone Street and Howard Avenue, seated 5,400, lasted from 1954 to 1995, and was replaced by the 12,200-seat Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, across the street. It's home to minor-league hockey's Spokane Chiefs, who, despite not being in Canada, won their junior hockey championship, the Memorial Cup, in 1991 and 2008. 720 W. Mallon Avenue. Spokane is 280 miles east of Seattle.

* Seattle Ice Arena. The Seattle Metropolitans played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 until the league's folding in 1926, and won 5 league championships: 1917, 1919, 1920, 1922 and 1924. In 1917, they defeated the National Hockey Association champion Montreal Canadiens, and became the 1st American team to win the Stanley Cup. This would be Seattle's only world title in any sport for 62 years.

They played at the Seattle Ice Arena, which seated only 4,000 people, and was demolished in 1963. The IBM Building, a typically tacky piece of 1960s architecture, now stands on the site. 1200 Fifth Avenue at University Avenue, downtown.

Seattle has been trying to get an NHL team. For now, the closest one is the Vancouver Canucks, 143 miles away. The probably could support one, and maybe an NBA team, too: The metro area's population would rank it 16th in the NBA and 15th in the NHL. According to an article in the January 8, 2016 edition of Business Insider, the Canucks are the most popular NHL team in the State of Washington.

* Seattle Center. Erected for the 1962 World's Fair (as seen in the Elvis film It Happened At the World's Fair), Seattle Center, north of the sports complex at 400 Broad Street at John Street, includes the city's trademark, the Space Needle. Admission is $11, half the cost of the Empire State Building, and it's open 'til 11:00 PM, with great views of the region's natural splendor.

Seattle Center also has the Pacific Science Center (think of it the Northwest's version of the American Museum of Natural History and its Hayden Planetarium), and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (not sure why Seattle was chosen as the Hall's location, although the city is a major aerospace center).

Also in this complex is Memorial Stadium, a high school football stadium built in 1946. It used to host the old North American Soccer League version of the Sounders, and now hosts the women's soccer team, the Seattle Reign. On June 24, 1975, it hosted a game between the national teams of the U.S. and Poland, ending in a draw.

Also in this complex is the KeyArena, home of the WNBA's Seattle Storm and formerly the SuperSonics. The Storm won the 2004 and 2010 WNBA titles there, and their Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson were named to the NBA's 15th Anniversary 15 Greatest Players in 2012. A high school football stadium is also on the site. Number 33 bus, although the nearest Link station is several blocks' walk away.

The KeyArena was built on the site of the Sonics' previous home, the Seattle Center Coliseum, which stood from 1962 to 1994. Elvis sang there on November 12, 1970; April 29, 1973 (2 shows); and April 26, 1976. 

On May 12, 2014, The New York Times printed a story that shows NBA fandom by ZIP Code, according to Facebook likes. (As yet, there is no hockey version.) With the loss of the Sonics, Seattle fans not only refused to accept their former heroes as Oklahoma City Thunder (Thunders? Thundermen?), but also refused to accept the next-closest team, their former arch-rivals, the Portland Trail Blazers, 172 miles away, as their new team. They seem to divide their fandom 4 ways, none of which should surprise you: The Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. But if Seattle should ever get another team, these fans would certainly get behind the new Sonics.

Aside from Seattle Center and its Space Needle, and the stadiums, Seattle's best-known structure is the Pike Place Market. Think of it as their version of the South Street Seaport and Fulton Fish Market. (Or Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, Baltimore's Harborplace, or Boston's Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall.) It includes the first-ever Starbucks store, which is still open. Downtown, 85 Pike Street at Western Avenue.

Aside from the Pacific Science Center and the Science Fiction Museum, Seattle isn't a big museum city, although the Seattle Art Museum, at 1300 1st Avenue at University Street, might be worth a visit.

The State of Washington has never produced a President, so there's no Presidential Library. Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972 and 1976, but didn't get particularly close. The State's never produced a Vice President, either. Thomas S. Foley served a District centered on Spokane in Congress from 1965 to 1995, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995.

At 967 feet high, Columbia Center, a.k.a. The Black Tower, is the tallest building in the Northwest, and, for the moment, the tallest building in North America west of the Rocky Mountains except for the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. (A building going up in San Francisco, and another in Los Angeles, are both expected to top the Black Tower by 2017.) If you're wondering about Seattle's most famous icon, the Space Needle, it was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, but at 605 feet it is well short of the Black Tower.

Not many TV shows have been filmed in Seattle. Northern Exposure was filmed in the State of Washington, and Twin Peaks was both filmed and set there, but not in the City of Seattle. The science-fiction series Dark Angel, which vaulted Jessica Alba and NCIS' Michael Weatherly to stardom, was set in a dystopian future Seattle, but was filmed in Vancouver. So was Millennium. So was Smallville, but that wasn't meant to be Seattle. Arrow, about another superhero, is filmed in Vancouver, and, perhaps due to Green Arrow wearing a green costume, I've often thought of his hometown of Star City (renamed Starling City on the show) as being DC Comics' analogue for Seattle. While Frasier was set in Seattle, and Grey's Anatomy still is, there were hardly any location shots.

Nor have there been very many movies set in Seattle. The most obvious is Sleepless in Seattle, and the city was home to Matthew Broderick's and Ally Sheedy's characters in WarGames (in which Broderick's computer hacking has much greater consequences than it would 3 years later in the Chicago-based Ferris Bueller's Day Off).

Singles came along in 1992, at the height of grunge and the rise of Starbucks, which helped make Seattle the hippest city in the country in the years of George Bush the father and Bill Clinton's 1st term -- or, as Jason Alexander put it on Seinfeld, "It's the pesto of cities." It also reminded us of how good an actor Matt Dillon is, how gorgeous Kyra Sedgwick is, and that Bridget Fonda (daughter of Peter, niece of Jane and granddaughter of Henry) and Campbell Scott (son of George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst) were worthy of their genes.


So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow New York footie fans in visiting the Seahawks' nest for a Sounders game. Be advised, though, that it will be a lot harder than being Yankee Fans taking over the Mariners' ballpark. Aside from a Cascadia Derby against Portland (in either city), it may well be the defining MLS experience.


William Creech said...

Pretty good write up. I have one correction. Light rail now runs to Husky Stadium and the UW. No reason to take the bus.

Joe Tobiason said...

I'm super impressed with the details of this. Seriously, amazing job. The only reason I want to give you some corrections is as a thank you to all the hard work you've done.

- Seattle sales tax is 9.6% (and will go up to 10.1% on Apr 1, 2017)
- Aside from Budweiser, there is actually lots of good, local beer at the Clink (though notedly less than the INCREDIBLE selection at Safeco for M's games)
- The Starbucks at Pike's Place Market is not the 1st, it's the oldest (the original burned down)

Seriously, thanks again for a great guide to our city. I'll actually use this to help future (non NYRB fan) guests orient themselves with this.