Monday, November 23, 2020

1962 Seattle Fun In 2020 With Spencer Jack & Jason

Email arrived Sunday night from Spencer Jack and his paternal parental unit, my Favorite Nephew Jason.

The only text in the email was the subject line of...

"1962 Fun in 2020"

1962 was the year Elvis came to Washington to the Seattle World's Fair. If I remember correctly President Kennedy pushed a button in Washington, D.C. which somehow opened the big event in the west coast version of Washington.

I do not remember if President Kennedy and Jackie got around to visiting the Seattle World's Fair. I do remember that, towards the end of the World's Fair, JFK was preoccupied with this thing which came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Seattle World's Fair dated its origins in the 1950s when the idea was floated of having a 50th anniversary of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, which if memory serves took place in the location of what is now the University of Washington.

By the late 1950s the Space Race was underway with the Soviet Union. Boeing had become part of that race, and Boeing was based in Seattle, which was why Seattle had become known as an aerospace city.

So, something themed to the future was decided needed to be the theme for the Seattle World's Fair, and so, as such, the Seattle Century 21 Exposition was born.

Two of Seattle's movers and shakers, Victor Steinbrueck and John Graham, Jr., who helped bring the Seattle World's Fair to fruition, were discussing the Century 21 World of Tomorrow theme whilst in a Seattle restaurant waiting for the waiter to bring them dinner. One of the pair began to sketch, on a napkin, what he thought might be a good idea for the World Fair's centerpiece. And thus the Space Needle was born.

Seattle actualized the 1962 Century 21 Seattle World's Fair in a very short time frame. It became one of the few such fairs ever to be financially successful.

I think it is having this type thing in my personal memory bank why I am so astounded by how another town in America, Fort Worth, can't seem to get anything done in a timely fashion. What are we in now, year seven, of trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island? 

Years of puzzling over what was wrong with Fort Worth which rendered it so backwards compared to other American cities, like even its neighbor Dallas, I sort of figured out the town's problems come from being run by what is known as the Fort Worth Way. And thus the town lacks visionary leaders like the aforementioned Victor Steinbrueck and John Graham, Jr. and instead has leaders like Betsy Price and Kay Granger, and others, and so the town ends up with ridiculous embarrassments like the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, Santa Fe Rail Market, streets without sidewalks, parks without modern facilities, and other embarrassments.

I do not remember how the funding for the Seattle World's Fair came about. Was there a bond issue election? Someone had to have paid for all that stuff that was constructed, much of which remains in use to this day.

Such as the Space Needle, which is what you see Jason and Spencer Jack masked in at the top photo.  

A couple years ago more money was spent renovating the Space Needle than what was spent building it originally. The renovation included adding a glass floor at the observation deck level, which is what you see Spencer Jack sitting on above.

It is making me feel nostalgic about the swift passage of time, seeing these photos. I think the last time I ever rode the elevator to the top of the Space Needle was with Jason and his little brother, my Favorite Nephew Joey. Joey was four or five at that point in time, which would have made Jason seven or eight. Back then it cost about $4 to ride to the top of the Needle. Now it costs closer to $30.

The summer before I moved to Texas, Jason and Joey took me to Las Vegas. The highlight of that trip was getting stuck at the top of the Vegas Space Needle knockoff known as the Stratosphere Tower. Power went out, the elevators rendered dead, no air conditioning, with the temperature way over 100. We were stranded for several hours. It turned out to be one of the most fun Nephews in Danger episodes I ever had with those two.

So, that last time at the top of the Space Needle, we were barely up there when Jason sees the Monorail leaving the Seattle Center station. He asks, "Can we go ride the Monorail now?" "But we just got to the top of the Needle, can we at least walk all the way around first?" asked I.

15 minutes later we were aboard the Monorail heading to Westlake Center. Jason insisting on being at the front of the train, so that is where he headed us, and then he proceeded to lay down on the seat. "But, I thought you wanted to ride the Monorail," I asked. "Oh, I've been on this a million times." was the memorable reply.

Jason had two obsessions when he was a kid. One was the Seattle Monorail. The other was the Washington State Ferry system. Jason built models of each, including the entire fleet of Washington ferry boats.

So, of course, after checking out the renovated Space Needle, Jason next took Spencer Jack to ride the Monorail.

The Monorail does not look much changed since I last saw it. well, the station for sure, but that may be a new train.

And here we see Spencer Jack aboard the Monorail, likely at the front, behind the pilot.

I wish Spencer Jack would drive his dad through the new tunnel under downtown Seattle and take photos or video. I have yet to see any photos of that tunnel in action.

That $4 billion tunnel and waterfront rebuild project began about the same time Fort Worth had a big TNT exploding ceremony to mark the start of construction of those aforementioned three simple bridges stuck in slow motion construction mode.

How can these two towns be in the same country? Perplexing...

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