The lost urban beauty of Post Alley.
The lost urban beauty of Post Alley. Liem Bahneman/

On top of what I said yesterday, there is this: the gum wall in Pike Place Market ruins one of the few great alleys in our city. This disgusting business could have claimed any of the many ugly alleys Seattle has to offer, but it instead took an exceptionally magical alley and made it dreadful for a large number of people.

The dark steps and cobblestoned street, the old brick walls and pipes, the deep windows and shadows—this section of Post Alley is as close as Seattle gets to European-style urbanism. When ever I look down the alley, it stimulates my many memories of those dense quarters in the heart of Barcelona or Bologna or Vienna. But the connection to those greater and more urban locations is rudely cut short by the smell and sight of a form rural idiocy that has somehow been permitted to thrive in the core my major American city.

A cosmopolitan person does not Ride the Ducks or put gum on walls. These stupidities are for the small towns and suburbs.