At 110 years old, the Pike Place Market has survived and thrived. It still pulls on the emotions of Seattleites of all stripes. Now, a new project is mingling with the old magic on the Market’s northern side.
This might sound a like a familiar refrain about the Pike Place Market:
It’s too full of tourists stopping aisles for a smartphone picture; it’s a hassle driving there and good luck with parking; you can get quality produce in neighborhood farmers markets.
Does that about summarize your feelings toward our 110-year-old institution?
And yet the Market just tugs at you.
Maybe that’s because Seattle is so rapidly changing, rectangular buildings going up one after another, monuments to our digital economy surrounded by food trucks for a couple of hours each day.
“Whenever I am discouraged, I walk through the Market and feel better,” says Lenell Nussbaum, an attorney with law offices a block away. “I walk through and I hear 12 different languages. I think how wonderful and amazing that is. People from all over the world come here, and I am here every day.”
In 1950, a plan was proposed to replace the Market with a seven-story garage. Renowned painter Mark Tobey, who for years chronicled the Market’s life with his sketches, had this to say back then:
“Landmarks with human dimensions are being torn down to be replaced by structures that appear never to have been touched by human hands. There seems to be a talent today for picking the most beautiful and personal places to destroy …”
MarketFront Grand Opening
2-7 p.m. Thursday, June 29, 1901 Western Ave.
A 2 p.m. ceremony will be followed by live music.
“Passport” activities will guide visitors through the new spaces, with interactive stops at vendors, art installations and craft demonstrations.
The event is free.
More info at pikeplacemarket.org/marketfront
Tobey later joined another fight in the 1960s to save the Market from being mostly…