If you've spent much time in Belltown, you know you'll encounter all manner of characters there, some of whom prefer hanging out in a supine

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Best Street-Corner Opera

The Royal Crest

If you've spent much time in Belltown, you know you'll encounter all manner of characters there, some of whom prefer hanging out in a supine position, others who like to conduct business transactions of a somewhat furtive and mysterious nature. This presents a particular problem for residents of the Royal Crest. This high-rise condominium—the first of its kind downtown when it was built in 1974—has a pleasant covered plaza out front that makes an especially attractive place to spend an afternoon with a chilled can of Icehouse. So a couple of years ago, the Royal Crest's chairman of the board decided the building needed to launch a dispersal campaign. His weapon of choice: opera. "I enjoy opera and had a pretty serious collection," says Ferdinand Boyce, a retiree who used to work in the audio industry. So, taking a tip from the Pine Street McDonald's—which used to pump country music into the street to discourage teen hoodlums from congregating—Boyce hung some speakers and programmed his iPod with opera, which is now broadcast onto Third Avenue and Lenora Street from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. As with many efforts at pest control, the strategy seemed to have a strong effect at first, Boyce says, but less so now. And ironically it has only attracted another sort of riff-raff—Seattle Weekly staffers, who pause to enjoy a pleasant respite from the squealing of bus brakes and the offers of crack.—Mark D. Fefer 2100 Third Ave.

 
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