Okay, yes, some sections of the Seattle waterfront are slowly collapsing and threatening to throw a giant Ferris wheel into the water. But have you noticed the parts that AREN’T doing that?
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This weekend the Friends of Waterfront Seattle unveiled the newly re-opened Pier 62, just a few blocks down from the pier that collapsed a few days ago and sent construction workers into the water, and also from the Great Wheel, which is now red-tagged because further collapses are possible.
But let’s try not to look at the piles of debris floating in the bay, and instead look at all the other pleasant things happening around the gaping watery crater—not just Pier 62, but also the lovely walkways that will eventually let you mosey comfortably down Pine, through Pike Place Market, and then down to the waterfront for some of the nicest views in Seattle.
Pier 62 is perhaps the least exciting of all of the new waterfront attractions currently taking shape; it’s designed intentionally to be bland and empty so that it can be filled with temporary attractions (once humans can attend such things). It’s basically a big flat concrete slab with some nice-looking lights and a floating dock that will eventually have some noise-making art installations. Sure, okay, fine.
The one thing that's working very much in Pier 62's favor right now is that it is actually open and unlikely to fall into Elliott Bay. If you want to head on down right now and check it out, a pretty view of the water will reward you, and if you’re lucky, a glimpse of a mountain range (probably not today, but when the clouds get tired of us). It's honestly quite nice, featurelessness notwithstanding.
The far more exciting waterfront elements are still under construction—or awaiting construction—but you can at least see them taking shape now. There’s going to be a lovely natural area where you can sit amongst trees, rather than concrete, at the end of Washington Street. (Construction is finished but it’s closed to the public while plants grow in.)
Meanwhile, a delightful lengthy promenade for bikes and peds is coming along in sections. Some elements are complete, and if you’re looking for a soothing stroll with the sound of water lapping under your feet (in a non-collapsey way), this whole pathway, from Pioneer Square up to Belltown, is quite charming and will only improve from here. This, too, is honestly quite nice.
As you walk along the waterfront in its current state, you can see hints of the features that we’ll be enjoying/taking visiting relatives to see in the next few years. There’s a gorgeous walkway (still being designed) from the Market down to where Pier 62 just opened. Pike and Pine will get a full revamp as you approach the Market. And over by the sports theaters (what heterosexuals call “stadiums”), a new plaza will provide yet more comfy seating.
So yes, for now, the waterfront looks like a hazardous mess in some areas, and like a partially-finished cake in others. But like many things connected to the sea, that whole area is a living, evolving organism, and right now it’s in an awkward adolescence that will, provided nothing else disintegrates under our feet, become one of your favorite things about living here.