Monday, June 1, 2009

The Best Public Space in Belltown

You may remember my past posts praising the quaint, bygone modernity if the wonderful Darth Vader Building at 4th & Lenora. Here's another funky way to look at it:

Here's a more acceptable angle:

We'll all agree that it's a very intriguing piece of architecture. But many tend to forget that there's a super-nice little park attached to the grounds. Let's call it Darth Vader Park. From across the street, it doesn't look like much:

But as soon as you cross over and enter, you're in a different world. Witness:

Sure, you can still hear traffic and assorted urban noise and the worst block in all of Belltown is only a block away, but you can forget all those things sitting in this pretty little park. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this space is the sculptures that sit on the benches. There's the happy old guy:

And the old lady whippin' out her Glock:

Just kidding, she's reaching into her shopping bag for bread to feed the birds, of which there are few.

The great thing about this park is that it has remained pristine for the 30 years of its existence. Just about anybody can tell that it is very well cared for; there's no graffiti, no crack baggies, very little litter and all the benches are intact. Perhaps that alone keeps the more undesirable elements at bay. It might be the all the signs posted around that read like this:

What this sign might really be saying is this: "You can be a crack smoker, just don't smoke crack here. And you can be crazy, just keep it under wraps while you're here. Who knows, a place like this might actually ease your troubled mind. In any case, don't mess up our nice stuff. It's for everybody."

So yeah, this is a lovely, idyllic part of Belltown. It is - as I think I mentioned in the title - the best public space in this whole ugly, ugly neighborhood. The ironic thing is that it's not public property. Yeah, that sign's telling the truth; it's private land. Considering that Belltown's one public park, Regrade Park, even after its conversion to a dog park, is still an icky place which leads me to believe that this new Bell Street initiative is destined for ickiness as well. I would love for that project to evoke the same respect as Darth Vader Park, but it never turns out that way. If it belongs to the public, people figure it isn't worth anything. Here's my solution: just hang lots of "Private Property" signs all along Bell and the place will look awesome forever. That is what I suggest.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I do like this too. We'll have to look into the fate of the Calder or whatever it was.