Thursday, November 5, 2015

Gum Wall - Germy or Genius?

If you've ever visited Seattle and wandered downtown, you may have noticed an unusual bit of art on the wall of the Pike Place Market Theater.

Well, ok, "art" is a subjective term - some people think it's art, still others (myself included) find it to be a disgusting wall of germs and nasty.

Whether you see it as germy or genius, one thing is certain - the Gum Wall is coming down. What started as probably a bit of nasty vandalism by a theater patron who mistakenly felt that it was totally acceptable to leave their chewing gum stuck to a public wall back in 1993 found itself being added to by more and more people. Despite the poor theater workers trying to go after it and scrape it off, the gum kept accumulating and in 1999 the market officials deemed it a "tourist attraction" so the theater just gave up.

Apprarently, it has garnered a lot of attention, including being used as backdrop for wedding photos (really? ew!) and also appearing in the film "Love Happens." It was also rated the 2nd germiest tourist attraction in 2009 (not sure that's something to be proud of, Seattle!) - and was still on the list in 2013.

This week, the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority announced that they have hired a company to power wash all the gum off the wall once and for all. The move was because they were worried about how the gum (which we all know has sugar and all kinds of other weird additives) was eroding the bricks on the building.

The cleaning will begin on November 10th, so I suppose anyone who is worried that they can't have the happiest day of their lives memorialized in front of an estimated 1 million pieces of sticky and saliva better get over there fast. ;) The cleaning is expected to take a couple of days at a cost of around $4,000.

What will happen to the gum? The PPMPDA (because I didn't want to type their long name again lol) will have it weighed - because that's apparently a vital piece of information to have - and then they will just throw it into the garbage where it will sit for all eternity, because gum doesn't compost.

It is predicted that after the walls are scrubbed clean, people will restart the wall with new gum, which makes it feel a little futile.

What do you think - is the gum wall worth rebuilding, or should people keep their masticated rubber and spit to themselves?