Queasy living

Originally published Mar 13, 2012

A building named Vertigo, and James Stewart about to fall off a building in the movie Vertigo.

Before the financial unpleasantness of recent years, and the attendant collapse in the housing market, developers were throwing up cheap condos all over Seattle trying to accommodate /capitalize on the growing population. Now you see these condos everywhere, and most are hurting for tenants.

One building that has caught The Name Inspector’s eye is right next to the Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library. It’s called Vertigo. It actually says that in big letters right on the side.

The name Vertigo is probably supposed to imply that the building is so awesome it will make you dizzy with excitement. (Never mind that someone identified it as possibly the “ugliest condo building in Seattle”.) And Vertigo is the title of a classic movie by Alfred Hitchcock, right? One that’s hiply alluded to in the prize-winning title sequence for the popular television series Mad Men?

Granted, the movie is about a guy who falls off a building. (Spoiler alert!) And then has nightmares about it. And then sees his girlfriend fall to her death from a building. And then gets another girlfriend similar to the first and breaks up with her/tries to arrest her and sees her fall off a building.

But the guy does survive his own fall. And in his nightmare he falls stylishly, with op art in the background.

And the Mad Men guy, he falls in a really stylish way, past beautiful models and luxury goods, and lands safely in what is probably a totally collectible mid-century modern chair, and he’s even smoking a cigarette.

So on balance, the associations of Vertigo are probably pretty positive. Besides, this building in Seattle isn’t even that tall. You’d probably survive if you fell off it.

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