Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Seattle : Bellevue :: Washington, DC : [fill in the blank]

The weekend before last (basically forever ago in internet time) this popped up on Twitter regarding Rosslyn's aspirations as a neighborhood:

First of all, I've never been to Brooklyn or Cambridge, but I'm pretty sure Bellevue is the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others in that grouping. I hear Brooklyn or Cambridge and I think, "reputation as cool area near the main city, perhaps bike-friendly and/or full of hipsters." My family lived in Bellevue for many years, and I worked in Downtown Bellevue for a year as well, and neither "cool" nor "bike-friendly" are words I would use to describe the city. I follow #bikeSEA and it sounds like there's been some progress since I lived there last, but Bellevue to my mind is still mostly a suburb; in fact here's a recent post about walkability in a Seattle urban neighborhood proper vs. Bellevue (my family lived right around this map):

The idea that any city would aspire to be Bellevue cracked me up, and I immediately had to share with my sister:

Magic Mike XXL as standard by which to judge a city's fun factor

Besides, I'm pretty sure that Washington, DC already has its own Bellevue: Bethesda + Friendship Heights. My mother the inveterate shopper would find herself right at home walking amongst the retails chains (including high-end luxury stores) and hotels and even Microsoft offices. Bel Square is basically indistinguishable from the Westfield Montgomery mall. The main difference is that the office parks in Bellevue are surrounded by evergreens.

Anyway, I've spent this whole post knocking Bellevue (and by extension Bethesda), but I have to say that I still miss the King County Library System's Bellevue branch. Also, Bellevue has some pretty good Asian restaurants and supermarkets if you know how to find them--yet another characteristic that it has in common with Bethesda, though decidedly a good thing. And the Capital Crescent / Georgetown Branch Trails have more than their match in the East/West Lake Sammamish Trails!

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