For many, Waikiki Beach and Kalakaua Avenue, its main thoroughfare, are too tacky-touristy to take seriously. But walk along the 1.3 mile stretch that abuts one of the world’s most lovely beaches, and you’ll notice that the young people are not sightseeing. Their faces are focused and reveal that they’re here to fulfill a dream. Couples, having just been married in Japan, experience a second wedding ceremony and to have their pictures taken in front of iconic stores such as Harry Winston and Cartier. Young men, like the tattoo artist, are looking for jobs and, perhaps, a foothold on a new career. And everywhere there are young Japanese women, eager to embellish their resumes as world-class shoppers.
Beloved by Frank Sinatra, Hermes, and the Cincinnati Bengals, orange says “Look at me!” but not in the obvious, “I’m ready to Party” way that red does. Orange, the original pop-of-color color, alludes to confidence, sophistication and intense personal style. If you’re into color watching, come down to 17th and Webster Streets in Oakland and and look at all the great examples of orange in the neighborhood.
Apparently, Mother Nature likes all abstract expressionists, following their lead whenever she can. For Mark Rothko she probably grits her teeth and closes her eyes as she douses her canvases with big blocks of color. Doing Cy Twombly is a little trickier. His extremely personal, self-reflective style are more time consuming, making Mother Nature think a little harder and paint a little lighter. I hope you’ll agree that the results are well worth her efforts.
For the past year I’ve been watching the guys from Suffolk Construction build 1700 Webster Street in Oakland, a 23-story apartment building that will offer every amenity conceivable. After the demolition in January, 2017, the site was pretty much sealed off but I still liked to walk by to see how things were going and take pictures of the incredible feats of teamwork that were happening daily. During one of my visits I met the wonderful, outgoing Kevin Nash, whose job title should be chief greeter. Through Kevin I met project managers Spencer and Jack, Zach, the safety officer and Lalo, who seems to be the one who knows what’s going on everywhere. They all really care about their work and their fellow employees. They have created a good relationship with the neighborhood and, as far as I can tell, everyone up the chain of command at the city hall. With Suffolk Construction headquartered in Boston I’m tempted to compare them to the New England Patriots, but that wouldn’t be fair to the folks at Suffolk. They’re clearly the better team.