--October 2008: Issue 27 of City Reading II
Recently, economic crisis arising from American subprime loans has cut down American coffee consumption. To lower the day-to-day living expense, many Americans has changed their habit to make coffee at home instead of sitting in the café., which has seriously affected Starbucks, causing a wide-ranging lay-off program and a closedown of many shops of this company. A photo published on website vividly portrays the scene in which several Starbucks employees hold their cartons and greeted one another friendly. I really feel sad about the photo and especially the background city in the photo for Starbucks is headquartered in Seattle, a favorite city of mine filled with a flavor of coffee. If Starbucks dismissed staff on a large scale, what fate will Seattle face in the future?
Of course, I may overestimate the situation. Although it is the first large coffee company listed on United States Wall Street, it may play a minor role in Seattle’s economy. Except that it is a city of coffee, it is also renowned for strong headquarter economy (Note: Headquarter economy is a pop term in Today’s China) and takes the lead in it. For instance, Microsoft, a high-tech representative firm, has founded its business empire in Seattle; Boeing Airplane, a leading aviation company, has opened its factory in Seattle; UPS, an international express leader, has risen in Seattle. Even more, there is a world well-known office building set on a serene hillside in suburban Seattle. is the building is designed by the celebrated architectural firm SOM and it is Weyerhaeuser, the No.1 wooden house provider in the world, that occupies it.
However, without coffee, is Seattle still Seattle? It is well-known that Seattle is a city of coffee instead of a city of wine. There is no extravagant feasting and revelry like in other cities in Europe as well as no night life. Seattle is a city boasting beautiful landscape and is perfect for human habitation. Lucky to live in a city surrounded by mountain and water, residents here are keen on outdoor sports activities, such as climbing mountain, hiking, camping, riding bicycle and boating. There is no drunkard in Seattle and residents here lead a healthy lifestyle. Seattle is not only about water but also a picturesque cultural city of taste. The trees are tall and the terrain is undulating, perfect for taking photos and shooting films-Sleepless in Seattle starring Tom Hanks was shot in a houseboat on Lake Union bank. Seattle is also an elegant city boasting its distinctive high-rise building clusters rather than a plain city. Great architectural masterpieces created by master builders are erected there-Rainier Building, also known as Golf Tee, stands at the intersection where Fourth Ave and University Street converge. For the reason that its pedestal base tapers is towards the ground level and it takes on the distinctive appearance of an inverted pyramid, it is hailed as one of the architectural masterpieces in world’s high-rise building history. The designer of Rainier Building is s Japanese-American architect named Yamasaki who has also created the well-known World Trade Center Twin Towers. Rem Koolhass’s CCTV Building nicknamed bird’s leg by Beijing residents for its unusual appeareance has recently been completed. Although he is a representative deconstructive architecture designer, Koolhass had no chance to create great works before designing CCTV Building and Seattle was the first to offer him a good opportunity to design his first bizarre-shaped masterpiece the Seattle Public Library, which is recognized as one of top 10 ugliest buildings in Seattle. Anyway, you may like or dislike Koolhass’s works but you must be deeply impressed by them. Before I visited Seattle, my undergraduate classmate had recommended visiting the Seattle Public Library in the first place. After viewing it, I had a feeling that it deserves reputation and Koolhass is a real player in the architecture circle. the Seattle Public Library is filled with scholarliness, performs library functions and showcases the characteristic elegance of Seattle, proving that Koolhass is a veteran and ingenious player.
Like coffee, Seattle features elegance and people-oriented architectural style; unlike wine, Seatle generates pleasurable excitement rather than undermining health. Freeway Park in Seattle with a flavor of coffee stands out from other urban parks in the world. Generally speaking, sky or bend intersections constitute a barren landscape in cities. However, it is ingenious for Seattle citizens to plan a three-dimensional layout and build a green mound on the freeway. As you walk through the biggest greenbelt in downtown Seattle, you will be enchanted by green and serene landscape and forget the congested traffic below. Freeway Park is an exemplary people-oriented design in Seattle, a model city for accessible facilities.
Both residents and tourists carrying camera should be enchanted by elegance and people-oriented layout here and Seattle treat us more hospitably than other cities in the United States. Cafés can be found everywhere in Seattle. If you feel tired, it is a good choice to have a break in the café and sample a cup of coffee with the Seattle flavor. There is a variety of coffee for your choice, including Starbucks and a kind of coffee named after Seattle-the Seattle’s Best Coffee.