Sunday, February 16, 2020

Rooftop Terrace

2/11/20 Green Lake Way

Starbucks at Green Lake has always had a terrace on its rooftop, and years ago when I first started sketching, I went up there a couple of times. Unfortunately, the terrace had a high, opaque wall surrounding it, so the only view was of the treetops. Once I resorted to sketching a pigeon up there because otherwise it was just the usual coffee-drinking crowd. When the weather was pleasant enough to sit out there, all the seats were usually taken anyway, so it wasn’t worth fighting for a table. With that high wall, I dismissed it as a wasted sketching venue.

Out for my walk/sketch the other day, I looked up at the terrace from a block away and realized that I could see tables and chairs from the street level. Then I remembered that the Green Lake Starbucks had undergone renovation a while back – maybe the terrace had a better view now?

I took my flat white up to the rooftop to find out. Indeed, the wall is much lower now, and it’s transparent, so even when seated, a street view is visible. I chose to stand next to the wall looking north on curving Green Lake Way. To the south is the view I sketched recently from the sidewalk. If I look straight ahead, I can see Green Lake Park (which I sketched last month from inside the same Starbucks). There’s potential here for a few more visits.

As for the competitive seating . . .? I had the place to myself. Apparently 40 degrees isn’t hospitable enough for drinking coffee.

Technical note: I’m back to carrying a Field Notes Signature in my walk/sketch bag. For a while, I was grabbing my full-size Stillman & Birn because the Signature’s smaller size had made me miss my usual A5 size. As the days have gotten colder, though, my sketches have gotten quicker, and for that, smaller is better.

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