New York Times: Seattle Is the Oakland of the North

Comments

1
I'm thinking maybe he wasn't actually there. If he didn't see "strutting" with pride this week, he must have had his eyes closed.
2
New York: The Baltimore of the North East?
3
The Rain Man Kemp. Good days.

You know, my beloved Philadelphia Eagles had the great Ron Jaworski as QB some time ago. I'm sorry, no one rightfully gives a shit about me talking about my beloved Philadelphia Eagles.
4
Another grunge speak hoax? Will the New York Times never learn?
5
I'm also wondering how the writer sees Oakland.
7
people waive (not wave) to me as a pedestrian from their cars occasionally over my 15+ years in lesser north oakland. i sometimes even waive back.
8
He didn't even mention the fact that Seattle is rabidly anti-war, yet one of the largest employers in the region is also one the largest arms manufacturer in the world.

Because it's absolutely irrelevant to an article about a parade.
9
Tacoma is the Oakland of this region. Bellevue is San Jose (a large office park that desperately wants to be a city). Bremerton is Milpitas.
10
Does that make Macklemore the Too Short of the north?
11
I wave and smile at strangers all the time.
12
@10 Macklemore is Vanilla Ice with a political consciousness.
13
In all the years I lived in Washington, the only place I found where people waved and smiled (for no reason) while driving was Lopez Island. Certainly not in Seattle.
14
And New York is full of violent junky assholes and gentrifying rich yuppies, SO WHAT!?
15
I've talked to that writer before (he was covering the cafe racer killings for the NYT). He's based here so he know what Seattle reality is.
16
I'm going to start waving at people driving cars with out of state license plates, particularly if I see New York. Next time I'm in New York I'll refer to Seattle as Oaktown.....
17
Uh, Oakland has something called "minorities"
18
I was in the Orlando airport when the Kingdome was demolished. National news coverage kept saying the kingdome was affectionately called "The Concrete Blister" by locals. Still scratching my head over that one. I think sometimes they just make up "facts" about local color.
19
I wave at and get waved at. Perhaps it's a goofball vibe some of us have?
20
If you only read NYT articles about Seattle and Oakland, you might get that impression. Actually spending time in either place will quickly erase those comparisons.
21
Also, I think what NYT's Seattle bureau chief called our "mile-wide streak of insecurity" may be showing here. It's sweet.
22
On the Northern end of Seattle where the streets are narrow you wave to the person who pulled to the side to let you pass. That's not waving for no reason, that's waving to show appreciation for doing the right thing. I get and give the wave every day here, but not just while just rolling down the street. Has the author gotten that confused or actually gotten a lot of random people waving? Maybe the author is exceptionally hot? Left their wallet on the roof?
23
The only similarity to be drawn between Oakland and Seattle is the cops' shared love of excessive force.
24
He specifically called out final championship teams. The 90s Sonics won nothing. In the NBA winning the conference championships, which is a stepping stone. It's not THE championship. In the context of American sports championships that means you win your main league title. You're the one sole winning team that walks off without losing. The Sonics under Karl, Payton and Kemp never did that. The Seahawks in 2005 didn't do that.

The Sounders didn't do it for their league ever yet, but we did one specific tournament we play in three consecutive years. Soccer, though, is a different animal. Your main league title is the holy grail there; winning more than one in a year is fantastic and gets counted as a Double, Triple, or Quad. Many teams have Doubled; few have Tripled; a super elite handful have a Quad. I don't know if anyone has won 5, or even has so many to play that many.

Note: you all sadly always forget that Seattle is on the damn Stanley Cup. The Metropolitans were the first-ever American hockey team to win Lord Stanley's cup.
25
Believe it or not, if you go way up in the mountains along the Wenatchee River, or out in the San Juans, complete strangers smile, wave and even fucking say hello to you. Amazing but true.
26
Seattle defies definition. I have often heard it compared to San Francisco. And it was once sort of provincial like San Francisco in the old days. Neighbors would wave at you from their porches. And I get smiles from strangers here all the time. But if they start talking, I keep walking.
27
But I was told that Seattle would magically stop being passive aggressive on account of the men running against the other men for points the best.
28
LOL @ this: "Not once in my 23 years in Seattle has this ever happened to me, has an unknown driver waved and smiled at me for no apparent reason. And if one ever did, I would think them a bit soft in the head or possibly on drugs or both."

Couldn't agree more, Charles. That is not to say that I think people should be unfriendly in the city, but rather that our experiences as urban-dwellers do not comport with the nincompoop author's stereotyping. A better description of Seattle's "politeness," as it were, would be passive-aggressive fear of confrontation or substantial human connection.
29
Thank Christ Seattle is nothing like Oakland.
30
I WISH Seattle was the Oakland of the north!
31
I thought mudede walked everywhere. how would he know what drivers do?

32
I'm just irritated that one of the people quoted in the article had to bring up Chihuly as one of the great things about Seattle. I think of him more as a local embarrassment.
33
@ 24 is right about the Sonics (nobody counts the also-rans, no matter how close they came), but the fact is that few people care about Stanley Cup championships that precede the time when it became exclusively the NHL's championship trophy. So excluding the Metropolitans really isn't a slight.
34
"We invented the labor riot." What? No. No. A thousand historians just screamed in wordless fury.
35
15, you know that just makes the author that much more of an idiot, right? I mean, it's one thing to fly in, take a few random incidents and declare it to be definitive. It's quite another to live in Seattle and completely misunderstand everything around you.
36
@18,

Ride the Ducks drivers pull anecdotes out of their asses for the tourists. I'll blame them.
37
@24) i decided to include the sentence leading to that statement about the championship. "[Seattle] has also been saddled with sports teams that mostly stank." you do not follow such a statement with a sentence about the supersonics. sorry. that is wrong and that was what i reacted to. taking the bulls in the finals in 1996 was a big fucking deal.
38
Not once in my 23 years in Seattle...

Yes, because 1991 was the beginning of the end for polite uncrowded and lackadaisical Seattle, where, in fact, as often happened to me (living here since 1986) if I crossed in the middle of Broadway or 45th, drivers would slow, stop and wave.

Once the rest of you showed up, then it started sucking.

This guy has clearly never heard of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton

But he may have heard of Michael Jordan who was on hiatus during our "reign". Up until the Seahawks of 2013/4 we were notorious for being the best team in a weak division or Conference (2005/6) and then getting creamed when we met up with a real team. 2014 it finally went the other way round.

Oakland of the north?

I've been saying Pittsburgh of the West. Decreasing immigration, the slowing of Big Tech. Eventually it will all have an impact from the go-go days of the 90s...much as leading publications keep the Tribute alive.

We'll have great football though. Great football!

39
"30
I WISH Seattle was the Oakland of the north"

What, more crime? No thanks.

Seattle:

IQ = 160
EQ = 2
40
Bremerton isn't a suburb of Seattle, it has come to exist in its present form primarily because of the Navy's presence.
41
News flash: as I walked home for lunch just now a stranger in a Honda honked and waved at me.
42
IMHO, Oakland is much more similar to Seattle than is San Francisco. There are many parts of Oakland that remind me of Seattle and vice versa. I can totally see how somebody would make that connection. The Oakland Raiders also have a more wild working class fan-base than the 49ers. So I can also see making a connection between Raiders fans and the 12s.

I love Seattle and I've lived here for over 20 years, but compared to SF, it's a glorified town. To be honest, I think that's what drew a lot of people to Seattle over the last 25 years.

In my experience, Seattle is much closer in feel to Madison, Wisconsin (3,037.sq mile) than it is to SF (17,620/sq mi), which is really the only dense-pack, east-coast-feeling city on the west coast.

That's why people from the east coast love it so much.

On the other hand, the population density of Oakland (7,004/sq mile) is just about exactly the same as the population density of Seattle (7,402/sq mi). The topography is also more similar in terms of how the hills feel.

That said the urban area around SF and Oakland, is significantly more dense than the urban area around Seattle. The SF urban area is the second most dense in the US (6,266.4 sq/mi). Seattle is not even in the top ten by the measure (3,028.2 sq/mi).

Just for the sake of comparison the Madison, WI urban area has a density of 2,660.0 sq/mi, which is probably why Seattle feels as much like Madison as it does. In actual practice, much of the greater Seattle area is not any more dense than the great Madison area, it's just bigger and even more sprawling. But it has similar attributes, which are very different than the attributes of a place like San Francisco.

43
I wonder if the author confused drivers smiling and waving at one another "for no obvious reason" with the polite thank-you wave when someone lets you in traffic. People who don't wave a little "thank you" when you let them in traffic? LAME.
44
@43:

Yeah, I wondered about that as well - was the author simply mistaking common courtesy between drivers as something they perceived as being (inexplicably) directed towards them? Or is it just that it normally wouldn't occur to NYC drivers to offer a wave of thanks to another driver for accomodating a lane change, for example, and so they don't recognize it in the context for which it's meant?
45
I remember when Whoopie Goldberg would scream, OAK LAND. With emphasis on the first syllable. What he is saying is we are second and we don't have a clear identity. OAK LAND's identity back in the day was dark, now it's suburban. They still have massive drive bys and shootings in hood. And then they have this lovely polished downtown.

Not sure if Seattle will ever step up. But I am clear that a million screaming fans does not a city make. We need to get behind everyone, not just a handful of very rich footballers.

I am just glad we are being talked about beyond salmon and gloom.
46
The only time drivers smile and wave at me is when they've failed to stop for me in a crosswalk. Or when they almost hit me in a crosswalk. Or when I scream at them for ignoring a stop sign. Or when they when they absentmindedly back into me while I'm walking behind their car. Never for "no reason," though.
47
Nobody ever smiles at Mudede . . . but they do laugh behind his back.
48
As a native San Franciscan settling here, geographically to me Seattle is SF while Bellevue, reached by a bridge spanning a large body of water, is Oaktown.
49
Seattle is like Oakland minus black people. I.e., Oakland in ten years, not now, and certainly not ~25 years ago when I lived there for a while. I WISH Seattle was like Oakland, partly because I like Oakland and partly because that would mean that on the other side of the Evergreen Point Bridge we'd have San Francisco instead of Medina.
50
I think this Oakland of the North thing is just the racist anti-Sherman anti-Lynch meme being expanded. Having embraced these wonderful individuals with their refusal to suppress their culture and personalities, we are now subsumed into the national view of Oakland as a "Black place," and are officially designated ******* lovers.

Way to go Seattle! You scared white America with the sincerity of your embrace of the individuals on the Seattle Seahawks.

Northwest drivers really suck. I get confused when I drive in CA. People don't ignore the traffic laws and screw around waiting for outward showing of politeness to figure out who has the right of way, but actually end up being more polite because they know being a dick fucks up the flow of traffic. On the other hand, lots of people here, especially Eastside drivers, follow the flipside of not knowing what the traffic laws are by ignoring the fundamental basis for traffic laws, which is to act in a way the makes your driving predictable to other people, by using things like turn signals and common sense when traveling at high speeds.
51
If I'm out driving, I'll wave at a pedestrian trying to cross to let them know that I see them and that it's OK to go and sometimes they wave back in gratitude, but I guess there's a purpose to that wave.
52
The Seahawks are ridiculously forgettable. You are the Tennessee Titans of the North. No one cares about you. Cleveland fans have more respect because at least they have a story to go along with their miserable history.

Seahawk fans, not the dumbass bandwagon leather hat buyer that just turned up for the playoffs, but people that watch them every year, can't even tell you who Steve Largent was, whom I notice you didn't mention... that's your guy... your only Seahawk and none of you know him.

Skittles, video game references and a coach that chews gum like a coked up 29yr old divorce lawyer. This is Hawk history in the making.

Oh, and that dickweed that dresses like the Incredible Hulk every game. What the fuck is that anyhow? I guess that comic book weirdo is marginally better than the people that dress like Fraggles for some unknown reason.
53
@52 Steve Largent is a Hall of Fame wide receiver who used to play for the Seahawks, asshole.
54
People on Vespas wave at each other, and I agree with @13 that people in the San Juans are way nicer.

Seattle is the San Francisco of the north and/or the Boston of the west: people pretend to be laid back and cool, but they are uptight and cold. That is the 'Seattle chill'. Try to break the veneer and get to know someone here. It's 100 times harder than New York City. I'm not from either, and I've lived in both.
55
@53 thanks, wikipedia.
56
@55 I've been a Seahawks fan since 1976. So seriously, fuck you, you stupid fucking troll.
57
jesus, agrippa, i knew who largent was before i moved here in 91. it ain't that hard.

now, without looking at wikipedia, who was horst muhlman?
58
I knew him before I moved here and I'm not a Seahawk fan.

Still stands that this article was written in response to the Super bowl hysteria currently sweeping Seattle and our beloved stranger natters about their bygone basketball team... not Steve Largent or the story of the Seahawks. Shawn Kemp and sonics ref in a retro gangsta rap classic.

No one knows you. Your fandom doesn't even know you. Ever see an NFL films presents, The Seattle Story... I haven't but I don't watch the NFL channel these days I bet they dragged a B rolls out of the archive they make on every team and pieced it together for the big run of 2013.

Really there's not much to tell. I'm sorry. Congrats on the win.
59
Oh, your other big claim to fame is getting robbed by the refs in the Stealer Bowl. Sorry bout that, it was wrong. Thank god we can all move on now. I was nervous about that challenge in the first quarter... dear god i'd have to listen to it forever if you guys had lost.
60
God, what a douche....
61
I frequently get waves and smiles out of nowhere just after a motorist notices my presence in the crosswalk only after I've jumped back to avoid their gigantic vehicle. It's a nice gesture to ensure that, while they're unnecessarily getting from place to place in my neighborhood in a vehicle meant to seat 6 and occasionally haul their Costco load from SoDo to Capitol Hill, the fact that they drive too fast and always assume right of way doesn't mean they're one of those assholes who makes being a pedestrian, cyclist, or public transit expert sometimes feel like a dangerous lifestyle choice. We're all neighbors! Occasionally they run us down and occasionally we make them wait at an intersection longer than they'd hoped to. Smile! Wave! It's all better now.
62
@15: "He's based here so he know what Seattle reality is."

Then he should write about it versus making up this bizarre reality.
63
Born and raised Oakland, moved here two years ago and this is my conclusion on the 'Smiles and waves' notion: everyone in Oakland - east bay - says a hello to everyone on the street. Those that don't are the ones we worry about. I've been thinking recently that the opposite is the MO in seattle. crime rates be damned, when we walk down Telegraph, everyone says hello.
64
@63: I used to live in a place where making eye contact on the street was a great way to get mugged. In Seattle, people smile and say hello, and even introduce themselves to me on the street all the time. It's fucking weird. Oakland, by your description, sounds like a nightmare.
65
Ha ha, that article is perfect. It should be preserved in amber as the epitome of how New Yorkers see every other city. Starts with the assumption that the other city (ANY other city..) must have an inferiority complex. Because how could it not? It's not NYC!
And then goes on to make a bunch of half-assed generalizations based on nothing.
I lived there a long time ago and quickly realized that my preconceived idea that New Yorkers are sophisticated, cosmopolitan people couldn't be more wrong. It's the most provincial place in the world. The difference with other places is, people elsewhere tend to have some awareness that they're provincial...
66
Seattle has something else in common with Oakland - that being which ethnic group commits the majority of killings in both cities. Figure it out Chuckles.
67
This is what French theoreticians call a "bad" and/or "phoned-in" article.
68
American cities:

1. World class: NY LA DC Chicago. SF.
2. Great cities: Miami Boston Philly Dallas Seattle San Diego. Atlanta. . Not in any order.
3. third tier cities: Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, all those cities in the Midwest. Houston. Cincinatti, St. Louis, Cleveland, Memphis, Nashville. Albuquerque. Salt Lake. Tampa, Orlando, any other city with a professional male sports team not listed above.
4. Cities with no such team.
5. class by itself: New Orleans. and sadly, Detroit.

Seattle moved up from 4 to 3 to now 2. Yay Seattle.