GONE ARE THE banana stands, the corporate shuttles and the hordes of tech workers crowding the sidewalks.
Nearly a year after Amazon urged its employees to switch to remote work to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the juggernaut’s campus in the Denny Triangle is mostly deserted on this rainy February day.
A tent pitched on the sidewalk in front of that hard-to-miss adult entertainment shop on Westlake Avenue catches my eye. It’s a conspicuous sign of the homelessness crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.
Between Bell and Blanchard streets, Amazon’s newest neighborhood block has an inviting feel. A walkway landscaped with eye-catching tree stumps and greenery leads up to a big open plaza under a bridge that connects both towers. I see a few customers at a bubble tea shop with a cheerful name: Happy Lemon. Other new stores at street level: The Seattle Barkery (dog treats), VanMoof (e-bikes) and glassybaby (cool handblown glass).
The glassybaby retail space includes a workshop where you can see the glass artists at work from the sidewalk. Amid the quasi-dystopian cityscape, it’s encouraging to come across a scene of humans interacting and making art together.