THE WALL OF GUM
It is widely believed that Hammering Man, the massive, perpetually pounding metallic sculpture decorating the entrance to the Seattle Art Museum, is the perfect representation of this city's rough-hewn heritage, embodying both our proud, working-class ethic and our grassroots support of folk art. Many Seattleites, however, think otherwise. Isn't Post Alley's "Wall of Gum," located directly across from the Alibi Room in the Pike Place Market, a more fitting tribute to all that is great about the Emerald City? Witness how each single glob of already-been-chewed gum, plastered lovingly and perhaps drunkenly onto the brick façade, represents a single instance of civic participation in local culture. Then contemplate how each colorful hunk of chaw causes this entire work of populist art to grow, blossom out, take on new meaning. And, most importantly, see how an individual creation (say, the spelling out of "Mexico" by a full pack of gnawed Wrigley's) invites you to unpretentiously add your own gum sculpture to this fantastic work in progress.
THE ARCTIC BUILDING
The greatest figure to hold political office in what a colleague of his called "the Soviet of Washington" was New Deal-era Seattle Congressman Marion Anthony Zioncheck (1900-1936). Unfortunately, Zioncheck's awareness of the impossibility of implementing fundamental change in the state (he fought on behalf of poor people) drove him to madness. He finally jumped to his death from the fifth floor of the Arctic Building (Third and Marion, fourth window from the left). His mother's house, where he was living at the time of his death (1209 NE 41st St), holds the graduate offices of the University of Washington's Department of Architecture. Zioncheck is buried at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery (11111 Aurora Ave N). Bring a single red rose for this local hero.
Granted, as far as massive phallic symbols go, it's hard to ignore the Space Needle--a penile monument erected for the 1962 World's Fair--which today has come to signify, more than any other downtown structure, Seattle's throbbing sense of social and economic potency. There is, however, a flip side to Seattle's overinflated feelings of urban triumph. "The Penis Fence," a row of phallocentric concrete nubbins lining the entrance to the UW's Husky Stadium, speaks volumes about what lies beneath Seattle's aggressive sense of self. These tiny weenie statuettes, in fact, are lasting symbols of this city's frustrating inability to get it up, from our hapless sports franchises (including, of course, the early-'90s NCAA-sponsored emasculation of the Husky football program) to our politicians' generally limp-dicked responses to an attention-starved electorate (especially regarding the recent Monorail Initiative).
THE WEDGWOOD ROCK
The Wedgwood neighborhood, which is to Ravenna what Ravenna is to the U-District (directly north and BO-ring!), lost one of its major landmarks last year when the Red Apple Market became a cookie-cutter QFC under strong local protest. But the Wedgwood Rock isn't going anywhere. In a three-county region of glacial till, there is nothing like this veritable one-piece Stonehenge. The size of a two-car garage and made of solid granite, the rock occupies a parking strip and then some, near the intersection of NE 75th St and 28th Ave NE. Once a gathering spot for local tribes and trappers, it has not succumbed to the usual attentions of heavy metal fans and underage drinkers. Seattle's most surreal monument, it is a must-see for its mute, ancient presence and its sheer incongruity with the surrounding David Lynch-ian suburbia.
PIKE PLACE MARKET PUBLIC RESTROOMS
The restrooms at the Pike Place Market are a true Seattle landmark. Located one flight down from the stout, photogenic statue of the brass pig standing guard at the Market's entrance, these white-tiled public facilities see a remarkably high volume of human traffic--perhaps receiving the most usage of any single facility in the entire city. This is the one place where bustling tourists, drunken Indians, and desperate junkies come together and briefly commingle in a sort of cultural nexus, representing all that is truly great about this fine city.
THE GRAVES OF THE EVERETT MASSACRE
A season of violent clashes between protesters and police over a no-free-speech zone--declared in response to a shingle-mill strike--turned deadly on November 5, 1916. The ferry Verona from Seattle, carrying 250 members of the Industrial Workers of the World (a.k.a. the Wobblies), was met at the Everett ferry dock by 200 armed and deputized vigilantes, many of whom were drunk. Nobody knows who fired the first shot (think back to the WTO debacle and take a guess!), but five Wobblies and two deputies were killed. The IWW memorialized their dead at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (700 W Raye), where some of the ashes of legendary labor activist and folk singer Joe Hill had been deposited on May Day of that year. Be sure to point out these monuments to the crazy rich kids performing the Satanic rituals this cemetery is known for.