Vendors around Pike Place aren't expecting to sell a lot of gum in the next week or so.
Seattle is hitting the restart button on one of the city's oddest and most popular tourist attractions in decades. The city is scraping 20 years’ worth of gum from the alley using cleaning crews armed with shovels and high temperature pressure washers. The brick wall is estimated to hold over one million pieces of sugary chewing gum. The strain on the 115-year old wall is said to be too much with an estimated (literal) ton of gum sticking to the surface.
The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority plans to weigh the left overs of this disgusting tourist anomaly. The group’s intention is to preserve the buildings in the area covered by the gum. No plans are in place to prevent future gum patronage in the future.
The origins of this presumably unexplainable tradition is believed to have an explanation! Patrons waiting outside of an improv comedy club during the 90s were believed to have placed the first sacred wads of gum on the brick wall. Thus, the nasty trend started and several attempts were made to clean the wall off. After mentions of the wall circulated through tourist guidebooks and word-of-mouth, the city decided to leave it alone and let those tourist express their God-given right to smash chewing gum between ancient bricks.
Cascadian Building Maintenance is the group responsible for possibly the most disgusting job of their enitre careers. They’re careers are spent doing a lot of gross projects but this one probably takes the cake. They have set a containment system to collect the run-off water and molten goop. The pressure washers are using water above 250 degrees to blast the layers of gum from the alley. The cleaning, according to Seattle Times, is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000.
The whole operation sounds like an industrial check up with your dentist. Imagine the smell of that alley during the cleaning. A nice medley of peppermint, fruit flavors, and a whole lot of mold.
The grimy tourist trap is likely only the second most revolting attraction in all the world. After visiting the Blarney Stone of Ireland, pilgrims of the monument are given complimentary antibiotics. Okay, not really but the Blarney Stone is a big rock that thousands of people, per week, literally kiss with their literal mouths. The only thing nastier than kissing an old rock (or touching a gum wall) is kissing the same rock everyone else in Ireland has kissed.
At least the Blarney Stone has some historical significance to
it. People have been climbing their way up stone step to kiss that son of a gun
for over 200 years. The origin of the stone is unknown. Theories range from it
being a thrown for Irish kings of old, to the stone that gushed water when Moses
struck it. And that stone somehow ended up in… Ireland?
Anyway, the gum alley of Seattle will surely be renewed in gooey fashion within months of its bi-decade checkup. In the mean time, go check out a bunch of dudes chucking frozen fish at each other in the market.