Seattle Times looks at 23rd and Union from Thompson’s Point of View

We’ve focused a lot of attention this month on the effort of local landowners and business people to reinvigorate the intersection of 23rd and Union. The Seattle Times checked in this week with an elder statesmanwoman of the corner:

Gail Thompson knew she needed to make a decision. But which one could she live with?

Her choices were to keep running Thompson’s Point of View, the Central District restaurant her husband, Carl, opened in 1986. Or close it.

No one would have blamed Thompson for leaving. She’d just taken over the business in June after Carl died. Profits had run dry. Then there was the matter of location.

To Thompson’s right at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street sat an empty sandwich shop. Across from her: a liquor store. Kitty corner: a vacant lot.

Kids often hung out by her restaurant, dealing drugs, causing trouble and scaring customers away.

There was little reason to think things would improve. But quietly, new life has been pumping into this decaying corner. more…

We wrote about Gail’s decision back in May, here. The Times takes a tour of 23rd and Union starting with Thompson’s and also talks to many of the people we’ve been covering in recent weeks. It’s a good snapshot of the situation and the opportunities. Give it a read to see what the rest of the city is hearing about the intersection.

Our recent coverage is here:

0 thoughts on “Seattle Times looks at 23rd and Union from Thompson’s Point of View

  1. I can’t help but think that all our recent coverage has sparked some interest in our corner. Additionally, when I called Thompson’s to ask about their New Years plans for the article I was writing, I spoke to Gail and she said, “It’s been a while since you guys were in here!” And I said, “Actually, I’m afraid I’ve never been in there.” And she said, “Well, you need to come in then!” And yes, I do. I’ll be in soon. :)

    I am a little worried because I haven’t seen much movement on the 76 station getting repaired…any updates on that?

  2. Things are looking more hopeful for this area. However having lived in the area over thirty years, I won’t hold my breath. I’ve seen many proposals, upstarts and what not come and go and not much changes. I wish Gail and Thompson’s luck, I’ve nver stopped-in, but now I will.

  3. After reading about Gail’s efforts to improve Thompson’s, I’m definitely inspired to stop in soon.

  4. My wife and I went to eat lunch at Patty Pans on Madison today and had some really good chili and ginger leomonade. And as I was sitting there enjoying the food I decided that even if Madrona has some fine eating establishments I was going to spend my money in my neighborhood. We have some fine food around here and it is walking distance to all of them. Madison has a nice bar and some good food between 23rd and 25th ave. Union is has some nice coffee places and we will soon have a bakery. I have lived in this neighborhood since 1989 and have tried to support businesses but 2011 I am going to not only do my part but I am going to talk up our neighborhood more so others will support the businesses. So here goes a challenge to everyone who reads this newsletter ” I will support businesses in the 23rd neighborhood at least four times a month” Okay who is up to that challenge?

  5. The business owner claims to be trying to run off drug dealing and crime surrounding her business, however continues close associations with the people doing that drug dealing and crime. From “Saviour Knowledge’s real name is Anthony Knowles. He is a convicted felon who admits to killing a man in New York in 1987, and just last month he was arrested for allegedly selling crack at 23rd and Union.” This is the same man who in the past has run the chess night at Thompson’s. Why on earth would any family in the neighborhood risk eating there when the owner insists on keeping such close associations with drug dealing convicted murderers? I’d love to support a local business, but have plenty of nearby options for dining that don’t involve knowingly walking in to a den of drug dealers and admitted murderers.

  6. There’s good and bad in all of us. I’ve worked with Saviour on several neighborhood projects, and I consider him a friend. And Gail has done a lot with TPOV in the past few months; the improvement is very visible. 23rd and Union certainly has its problems, but we’re working on them. Help us make it better.

  7. Delia,
    I think if we took an inventory of all the places and companies *you* spent money in/on we’d find similar- if not worse- associations.

    I’m no better or worse. I’m just saying- have you looked at what your bank invests in; or what the company you buy your gas from has done in 3rd world countries; or the sweatshop that made your clothes?

  8. You and Carolyn miss the point. The restaurant owner cannot say she is running off the hoodlums, while associating with them at the same time. The latter makes the former, well, a lie. Nor can she expect that just because Carolyn finds an admitted murderer and current crack dealer charming, that anyone else in their right mind would want to eat with one when there are far, far safer dining choices available.

  9. Minor point – I don’t recall using the word “charming” in any recent posting.

    More importantly, the owner may be focusing on current behavior rather than past actions or reputations. It works both ways – some of us patronize establishments based on new realities and/or new hopes, not previous experiences there. Improvements do happen and should be encouraged and recognized.