Cleaning the glass at a Seattle icon

Atop the Space Needle, Paul Best preserves a spectacular view.

Approximately 1.3 million people visit Seattle’s iconic Space Needle every year. But as “Lead Glass Keeper,” Paul Best is one of the few who arrives early enough to witness the sunrise from such a storied vantage point.

“You put on a little bit of music, you watch the sun come up, it’s quiet. It’s pretty spectacular and changes every day,” he says.

That view was made even more spectacular when the Space Needle was remodeled last summer with 20,000 square feet — 176 tons — of additional floor-to-ceiling glass. Best and his crew work daily, and diligently, to ensure all that glass is crystal clear.

A typical day of glass cleaning includes “smudge patrol” — the elimination of fingerprints or lipstick or “kid goo” right before visitors arrive.

Best’s entire life, he says, revolves around a building that best defines the city he’s called home since 1987.  

Here, we follow Best on a typical day and catch a glimpse of those spectacular sunrise views.

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

default profile image

Greg Davis

Greg is an award winning videographer whose work has appeared on BBC, NBC, ABC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel.