A city block transforms every minute of the day, morphing and becoming new as different feet traverse it, as it comes alive with people at the busiest times of day and slumbers quietly in the early hours of the morning before the streetlights have turned off.

As Seattle Times features reporters walked the streets that converge at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street this spring, they captured impressions of this city block that struck them. On a given day at a certain time, here is what you might see around 23rd and Union.


Tuesday 4 a.m.

Behind the blackout curtains at Raised Doughnuts, Andrea Miller presses a round cutter into mochi dough with a practiced efficiency. Rilo Kiley’s Silver Lining plays on a small speaker as Miller presses a smaller cutter through the center of each for doughnut holes. She arrives each Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. and by the time the shop opens at 7 a.m. she’ll have mixed, rolled and fried just over 300 doughnuts. — Jackie Varriano

Tuesday 6:30 a.m.

Miller finishes each Irish coffee doughnut with a sheaf of gold leaf and slides the tray of doughnuts on a speed rack with the other flavors. Miller begins boxing up preorders and readies for opening. I buy a chocolate mint bar. She hands me a bag, the doughnut still warm inside. Outside, in the predawn morning, there are a handful of cars heading south on Union. Otherwise the neighborhood is still quiet, except for the sound of a few birds. — Jackie Varriano

Tuesday 2:30 p.m.

At Swing salon, proprietor Eric Smiley gives a haircut to a new client named Sally, an 85-year-old alumnus of nearby Garfield High School (go Bulldogs!) who located Smiley’s services after stopping someone with great hair in a neighborhood parking lot. (Smiley also says many clients head to Shikorina Bakery across the street for a post-styling treat — maybe Sally will follow suit.) — Bethany Jean Clement

Tuesday 6 p.m.

At the Metro bus stop near 20th, there’s a curious juxtaposition: a contemporary shelter painted a cheery blue, and, next to it, two crumbling cement benches that look like they’ve been there forever, sagging under the weight of decades of people taking a load off, watching a neighborhood change as decades flit by. — Moira Macdonald


Tuesday 9 p.m.

At Central Cinema, the screening of “The Princess Bride” has ended, and a crowd of several dozen makes it way out onto the quiet street. “Wasn’t that perfect?” one young woman — far too young to have seen the movie in theaters the first time it came around — asks her companion, who replies, “Oh, my God, SO perfect.” They laugh and sigh happily as they walk away, their voices disappearing into the night. — Moira Macdonald

Wednesday 9:30 a.m.

The staff at El Costeño taco truck, parked in the parking lot of a former gas station at 22nd and Union, start prepping food to serve up tacos and burritos during the lunch rush. — Gregory Scruggs

Wednesday 10 a.m.

A family with a baby bundled up against the spring chill nurses a coffee at the Squirrel Chops outdoor patio. Construction workers put finishing touches like paint and spackle on the interiors of the ground-floor retail spaces in the new Midtown Square mixed-use development. — Gregory Scruggs

Wednesday 10:30 a.m.

Earl Lancaster, owner and chief barber at Earl’s Cuts & Style, steps out from his barbershop to shout hello across the street at his friend K. Wyking Garrett while Merlin Rainwater leads 13 Overlake School seniors on a tour of Seattle’s redlined neighborhoods called “Walk the Infamous Red Line: an Introduction to Racial Segregation in Seattle.” At 24th and Union, they receive an impromptu pep talk from Garrett, who tells the students not to think of the Central District as a museum piece and encourages them to make positive change after graduating. — Gregory Scruggs

Friday 1:30 p.m.

It’s quiet in the Midtown Center courtyard and the bright-orange chairs and tables are empty; nobody there but a writer taking a break and a worker with a leaf blower, busily attending to very few leaves. The mural “Central District,” by Takiyah Ward, dominates the space. With its rainbow of colors and array of larger-than-life faces from the neighborhood’s past, it makes the echoing courtyard feel beautifully populated, as if those people might still be walking among us. — Moira Macdonald

Friday 5:30 p.m.

Outside chef Kristi Brown’s Communion, a line has formed on each side of the front door — one for those lucky enough to score a reservation, one for walk-up supplicants. At the front of the latter, a woman who’ll get a seat to dine at the bar in about 20 minutes is so happy, she jumps up and down. Then she heads across the street to follow the host’s advice to while away the time at also-woman-of-color-owned Union Coffee and Wine. — Bethany Jean Clement


Saturday 11:30 a.m.

A father and son, baseball bat in tow, head south toward Little League practice at Garfield Playfield. — Gregory Scruggs

Saturday noon

Mandolin Brassaw opens her letterpress and stationary shop Grapheme, propping the door open with a chunk of brick she salvaged from a nearby building that her daughter marked up with chalk. — Gregory Scruggs

Saturday 1 p.m.

Two PCC shoppers park their e-bikes outside the store and head inside with their panniers to load up on groceries. — Gregory Scruggs