This year was one we spent glued significantly to our phones, waiting for news of shutdowns, updates on protests, and notifications from restaurants (ah, good, our seventh takeout order of the week is ready!). But for all the pressing information we fielded, 2020 was also filled with time spent reflecting on how we could best lend our support to communities and causes that matter to us. Here are our most-read stories of the year.
We have permanent Snowpocalypse brain. After that blessedly brief housebound week in February 2019, the sight of a single snowflake in Seattle triggers a now-familiar dash to the grocery store (to buy up all the kale, for some reason). But, it turns out, we’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves—or at least each other. This light-hearted roast of Seattle’s annual snow-verreaction made our list of top stories after a puny dusting in January.
Seattle real estate junkies went berserk this year: They could no longer rely on the trusty calendar, had to deal with the Schroedinger’s Cat of suburban flight, and never quite got a break from skyrocketing home prices (though renters did). Our most-read real estate story addressed the fate of downtown Seattle condo buildings—and downtown Seattle, for that matter—when Every Door Real Estate’s Lindsey Gudger says “we’re seeing a lot more interest in, ‘I just want room.’”
“Eight minutes, 46 seconds. That’s how long a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck on Monday, May 25.” Responding to events in Minneapolis and around the country as well as Seattle’s decade of relatively unsuccessful attempts to reform its own police force, thousands in our city spent the summer protesting, pink umbrellas in hand.
Our “bastion for anarchists” who “must be stooped [sic]” garnered national attention, first as the CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), then as the CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized or Occupied Protest, depending who you ask). Initially, the rest of the country’s visions of the police-free area outside the East Precinct were largely at odds with what happened there: peaceful memorials to those killed by police, mutual aid, hot dogs. Things changed before its dismantling in June.
Most of us approached the pandemic by doing the best we could with the information we had. That equation was especially complicated for restaurateurs. When we knew little about the virus, even takeout felt like a potential risk for employees and customers; but a restaurant with no cash flow couldn’t last long. In many cases, there was no right answer. We’ve lost some giants this year.
Escapism was the name of the game in 2020: Stuck at home, at least in our post-work hours, we left the troubles of this year behind through video games, fashion, film, and, occasionally, cabin porn. Whether this list of unreal PNW getaways helped you plan a trip for your quarantine pod or just helped you imagine, for a moment, you weren’t being yelled at by a two-year-old in a closet-turned-home-office, shine on.
Could we rely on anything this year? Yes. Takeout. But as much as we were all saved by family-style meals we couldn’t cook ourselves, twice-fried wings, and more burgers than we’d eaten in our entire lives prior to 2020, that wasn’t the true purpose behind our takeout obsession. As restaurants struggled to stay afloat amid changing restrictions, takeout was the safest way to show businesses we hoped they’d still be around in better days.
Skeptical spring breakers flocked to the country’s coastlines in the pandemic’s early days, their rebellion immortalized by aerial shots of co-eds dancing in the sand. But as lockdown orders loosened, socially distanced beach trips became fairly safe outdoor escapes from the proximity of city life. Here’s hoping you all minded your own towels.
Our understanding of the novel coronavirus evolved significantly this year (remember when we sanitized our mail and didn’t wear masks?). One enormous saving grace: The virus is less likely to spread outdoors. Even strict recent restrictions allowed for outdoor dining, and restaurants reacted accordingly, constructing elaborate single-family igloos, tenting their patios, and singlehandedly fueling the outdoor heater industry. Seattleites were happy to play supporting roles by eating good food under the cover of a blanket.
After Floyd's death, Seattleites asked how to materially support the Black community in our own city. “On the spectrum of ways one might fight embedded racism and systemic injustice, ordering crab quiche or porchetta from one of Seattle’s Black-owned restaurants is a small thing,” Allecia Vermillion writes. “But it’s immediate, it’s direct, and you can do it over and over again.”