56. Our Hotel Lobbies Beat Their Art Museums

Forget cheesy sunsets hanging over Magic Fingers beds. The swank new Four Seasons (fourseasons.com) on First Ave takes a very different view of hotel art. Its local owners gave Virginia Wright—half of the town’s premier art collecting and giving couple—close to $900,000 to decorate the joint. She went regional and assembled the most comprehensive selection of Northwest painting’s founding fathers—plus a couple sculptors and photographers and too few founding mothers—on view anywhere. The result is a crash course in local art history—from delicate lithographs by Mark Tobey to monumental Alden Mason and Paul Horiuchi canvases—that’s a worthy match to Seattle Art Museum across the street.

59. This Sentence from Steampunk Author Cherie Priest’s Nebula-Nominated Novel Boneshaker, Set in an Alternate-Reality, Klondike Gold Rush–Era Seattle…

“Rain spit sideways, cast sharply by the wind until it worked its way under Briar’s wide-brimmed leather hat, up her sleeve cuffs, and down through her boots until her feet were frozen and her hands felt like raw chicken skin.”

57. Our Neighborhood Bloggers Can Hang with the Big Boys

The last thing Justin Carder needs is an award. Anyone tuned in to CHS, his blog about all things Capitol Hill (capitolhillseattle.com), knows his posts can veer from selfless service to self-promotion. (One recent headline: “CHS saves Cal Anderson Playground.”) Still, we can’t begrudge him the Society of Professional Journalists nod he received in May for best geo-specific site; he and his stable of contributors rarely drop a lead in Seattle’s most on-the-move ’hood.

CHS, along with nearly 20 blogs like it, are part of the Networked Journalism Project, which The Seattle Times launched in August. (Phinneywood.com also took home an SPJ award for its coverage of the Greenwood arson last winter.) Sure, it serves its purpose as an aggregated forum of local news, but the real lesson here? Our neighborhood newshounds, now more than ever, are competing with the powerhouse pubs.

60. Our Buildings Are Alive

Think LEED Platinum status is as good as it gets for green building? Think again. In 2006 the Cascadia Region Green Building Council introduced its daunting “Living Building Challenge”: truly sustainable buildings with “net zero” energy, water, and waste. And this spring the green-seeding Bullitt Foundation announced it would meet the challenge on a daunting scale: a net-zero midrise office building, to house its new Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction. It may be the first net-zero effort on such a large scale worldwide, but it probably won’t be the first local living building. On the other side of Capitol Hill, the private Bertschi School (already Washington’s first LEED Gold elementary school) planned to break ground this summer on its own living building—appropriately, a science wing.

90. We Can Put on a Show!

Fibromyalgia, schmibromyalgia. Ninety-five-year-old Annie Aronwald isn’t about to let chronic pain stop her when the show must go on. In the four years since her arrival at Kline Galland Home, the Jewish nursing facility just south of Seward Park, Aronwald has directed no fewer than a dozen musical productions there, complete with sets and costumes and dancing octogenarians—and, on at least one unforgettable occasion, a Dolly Parton impersonation. That, ahem, was Annie, who usually stars in these productions and whose sheer enthusiasm inspires Kline Galland staffers to help build sets and local musicians to form a volunteer orchestra. One production, based on the musical Cats, was even written by the facility’s residents—then renamed, naturally, Katz.

63. We Take Our Time

The big problem with Seattle politics, mover-and-shaker types will tell you, is it’s all process and all too rarely product: Nothing ever gets decided; it’s forever discussed, debated, reopened, reconsidered, and finally talked to death. But that’s also the best thing about Seattle politics. Without endless process and extra innings, we’d have built freeways through the Washington Park Arboretum and up to Bothell, torn down Franklin High, Pioneer Square, and Pike Place Market, leveled Queen Anne Hill, and executed a hundred other dumb ideas. So maybe Mayor McGinn’s been right to go into overtime trying to make the next 520 bridge better and (though he can’t come out and say it) kill the waterfront tunnel by making it perfect.

64. Online Shops Pop Up in Real World Boutiques

What Amanda Rosenthal wanted in fall ’08, when she went online-only with her trend-driven women’s boutique, La Rousse (shoplarousse.com), was to connect with customers beyond Seattle. But just a year later, she began teaming up with her favorite shop owners, like Linda Walsh at Clementine Shoes, to reconnect with Seattle shoppers for in-store sales. What Rosenthal and her brick-and-mortar friends find is that pop-up shops—those new-world, here-today, gone-tomorrow temporary retail experiences—yield foot traffic enough to share. And shoppers find these cohosted soirees offer free-flowing local wine, goodies from mobile food-cart vendors, and best of all, twofer-type deals.

71. We Put Faith Before Free Throws

We could tip our caps to the Northwest Yeshiva High School girls basketball team for earning their first state tournament berth in February. Or we could toast them for being the first team ever from an all-Jewish school to qualify. But instead, we’ll give the 613s—named for the number of commandments referenced in the Torah—their propers for forfeiting: With a consolation-bracket game on the line, the girls from Mercer Island conceded defeat not because they’d given up but because the tip-off was smack dab in the middle of a religious fast and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association wouldn’t reschedule. God shoots and scores!