Stalking Tom Hanks

(Twenty years later)

If you enjoyed watching Sleepless in Seattle, are a Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan fan and in Seattle, you’d be tempted to visit the film locations where the two, hmm, never get to meet properly.

On my UA flight, I watched the movie for the first time. Didn’t before as I thought it was too cheesy and never had a big crush on the lead man. The show however gave a good introduction to Seattle and my goodness, Tom Hanks looked so juvenile while Meg Ryan was fresh as a daisy. Though the movie has more of Baltimore, there’s one film location I’ve decided to visit – the houseboat at Lake Union.

According to various sources, the address is 2460 Westlake Avenue North. Unlike in the movie where Meg Ryan could just walk straight to the doorstep from the planked walkway, there is a gate and security cameras at the entrance of the cluster of floaters today. No way of getting a glimpse of it at all unless you know the residents or travel by boat. Even the postal service can only get as far as the mailboxes.

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Tom Hank’s houseboat is supposed to be 2,075-square-foot, has four bedrooms, two baths, built in 1978, and up for sale in 2008 for $2.5 million. The movie has romanticised living in a houseboat so much that young Seattleites have taken up the casual lifestyle in floating homes within water communities.

Seattle has a wide range of houseboats lining its lakes. Many of them are built or modified with the same features and facilities as houses on land. In its proper definition, a houseboat is a water-oriented vehicle with a motor and can steer out of its dock onto open waters. In recent years, some of them have been built like oversized mansions and don’t look sea worthy at all.

This has become a problem for the authorities and Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development began to issue new regulations for its waterway communities. Many of the residents will have to make good their illegal construction or write off their homes completely.

The shoreline may change dramatically in the next few years as rules are being drafted to ban new houseboats, limit development and demote the preferential water-use status currently enjoyed by floating homes.

The future of houseboat owners could either be very bright since there will be no new supply, or very bad if the authorities remove waterway living completely. The lobbying has started.

Perhaps I should rent one before its a thing of the past. There’s one listed in airbnb.com for S$105 per day.

Shall I do it?

JY

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