Ballard ranked Seattle’s 51st best neighborhood

What gives? Just a couple months ago, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine named Ballard the “hottest hood” in Seattle. Now Seattle Magazine has released its list of best Seattle neighborhoods, and Ballard ranks 51st out of 60. Crown Hill ranked 27th, Sunset Hill 40th, Phinney Ridge 18th, Greenwood 47th and Fremont is 43rd. The top neighborhood is Queen Anne, followed by Broadmoor, Delridge, Windermere and Ravenna/Bryant. Seattle Magazine ranked the neighborhoods using a formula of home value growth, crime rate, WASL tests, park acreage, commuting time and neighborhood characteristics.

I don’t know about you, but Ballard should be in the top 5, at the very least.

Flag Man is looking for donations

Each “flag-appropriate” holiday, the man on the corner of 32nd and 57th decorates his yard. On Memorial Day, it was covered in red, white and blue:

But as “tinyviking” said in comments on the Memorial Day post, someone tried to vandalize the display and steal firefighter helmets. And according to our anonymous email tipster, the man’s flags always get stolen. Instead of quitting his tradition, he’s now asking the community for help donating patriotic items for this year’s 4th of July display. This sign is in his yard…

We can’t wait to see it!

Flower thieves on Phinney Ridge

“Cma319” just posted an item in the forum that says someone stole roses out of their Phinney Ridge garden, hacking up the bushes in the process. And it’s not the first time. “Last year a woman cut quite a few roses from gardens on our block,” Cma319 writes. “One of our neighbors finally caught her with her car full of roses, got the license #, but never heard anything from the cops after he called it in.” Anyone else having any trouble with flower thieves?

Adds Milo in comments: “Yes, last summer we watched a woman pull up in a Mercedes and help herself to a few of our roses in the front yard. She even waved back at us when she saw us watching from the window… but she knew she was busted. All we ask in return for swiping our roses is that you give an hour or so of weeding in return (per rose that is.)”

Shrinking tips at Ray’s Boathouse

You can blame the weak dollar along with the rest of the economy for the shrinking tips at the popular tourist hangout, Ray’s Boathouse. While a few locals may not be tipping as much as before, waiters are getting stiffed by European and Japanese tourists who aren’t accustomed to leaving a tip, reports the Seattle Times. So Ray’s is printing up tipping reminders in a variety of languages to present to customers along with their check. (Photo from

Trying to stay cool at Golden Gardens

The mercury has hit 90 degrees for two days in a row.

As you might expect, throngs of people decided to escape their sweltering homes and pack Golden Gardens to try to get cool. At least a thousand people stretched from one side to the other.

Attendants were turning people away at the entrance (as of 5 p.m. Sunday), because the parking lots were full. People then circled around and tried to find parking on Seaview, which was lined with cars all the way down to Ray’s.

And if you think it’s hot sitting on the beach, imagine the folks in the Mountains to Sound race, who finished the last leg of their biking-kayaking-running course at Golden Gardens this evening. Ugh.

But when it was over, racers enjoyed the beach.

“It was pretty bad at the zoo this afternoon: 87 in the shade,” adds Piogga in comments. “Most of the animals were trying to sleep through the worse of it, while the silly humans trekked about in the sun.”

Thousands pack Greenwood for car show

The city’s biggest car show took over Greenwood today.

Thousands of people enjoyed the sizzling heat to check out 500 sparkling cars that lined Greenwood Ave. for nearly a mile.

I’m not a car guy, but I appreciate a good muscle car, like this 1969 Plymouth Fury. But as the sign in the window jokingly points out, gas prices are a little different than they were in 1969. Or 2007.

While most of the crowd focused on the classic cars, others perused the dozens of electric, hybrid and alternative fuel cars on display. Toyota and GM were there, as well as members of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association and the Northwest Biodiesel Network. Frankly, I was surprised that more people weren’t — at the very least — talking to the Prius guy.

But while the Prius and its counterparts may be a sensible purchase in uncertain times, most American males are still drawn to fast cars. I admit, I feel the same attraction, despite what my intuition is telling me. But I suspect necessity will be making more of our decisions in the years to come.

Update: The Seattle PI wrote a story about the fuel-efficient cars there.

Picnic at Seattle Police’s north precinct

For the third straight year, SPD officers at the north precinct held a neighborhood picnic. The precinct includes Ballard, Phinney, Greenwood and Fremont, so we decided to stop by and take a few photos.

Officers were on hand to answer questions and offer a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement. There was live music, hot dogs, precinct tours and prizes.

The kids loved the bomb squad’s remote-controlled robots.

And the souped-up patrol cars. The picnic was great way for residents to get to know the officers patrolling their neighborhood.