Afternoon at the Pike

Written by: Sabrina

It was a typical grey Seattle
day with thick clouds covering the sky and a slight breeze coming off
the bay.  We took a different route into the market for this trip by
exploring the less traveled Post Alley.  The road was cobblestone and
the walls of the brick buildings were covered with pieces of gum.  It
almost appeared as if it was done deliberately as artwork.  We emerged
from the alley and took the staircase up to the market.  Almost
immediately we were surrounded by the commotion of the market and the
smell of fish; people pushed their way to the front of the lines to get
a better look at fruit, the fisherman tossed fish to their partners to
quickly wrap up.

It was Sunday at the market and it was packed.
Tourists wandered through the narrow market aisles with their camera
poised for any kind of “Kodak moment” while locals pushed their way
through crowds busily trying to finish up their errands for the day.
We decided to protect ourselves from the chaos that was located within
the market aisles by opting to wander along the main market street.
This is a great way to get a feel for Pike Place Market without having
to get trapped amongst the crowds.  On the left was the market
designated by the large, red neon sign and on the right were some small
vendors along with cafes, including the famous original Starbucks, and
street performers.

One of my favorite
things about the market are the street performers.  You can spend a
good amount of time by standing to the side and watching their acts.
On this day we had the opportunity to see a talented musician play his
guitar, a harmonica and top it off by hula hooping at the same time.
Further down the street was a large crowd gathered around an older
gentleman with an African Grey Parrot.  When we came upon the crowd we
saw the old man give a volunteer from the audience the Parrot, handed
over on its back.  The lady began to stroke the bird when Oops! the
bird grabbed onto her finger.  A horrified expression filled the face
of the woman who wasn’t sure what to do.  The bird eventually let go
and the old man shouts, “Just a taste test!”.  The woman gave a forced
laugh, followed by the crowd’s laughter.

we decided to stroll along the North end of the market to the Victor
Steinbrueck Park so that we could get a better look at the Puget
Sound.  This park was once the site of the Washington National Guard
Armory built in 1909.  After being partially destroyed by a fire in
1962 , the land was going to be used for high rises.  The armory was
torn down in spite of fierce opposition, but fortunately the land was
purchased by the city in 1968 and transformed into a park.  The Victor
Steinbrueck Park offers a beautiful view of the Puget Sound and West
Seattle.  It’s a great location to bring a pasty and coffee and just
sit and watch the ferries come in and out of port.  In the summer
months, vendors set up food stands in the area.  On this day a roasted
corn stand was positioned right along the path to catch hungry
sight-seers.  The aroma of lime and Cajun seasoning from the stand
lingered in the cool summer air.  The park offers a great retreat from
the hectic market allowing you to take in the lovely horizon of the
Olympic Mountains and all that is Puget Sound.

stomachs began to growl (the sweet smell of roasted corn surely did not
help!) and we braved our way back through the busy market street.
Stopping momentarily to get one last peek of the market street
performers, we left to satisfy our growing appetites.

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    October 16, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I really like this, I’ve been to Pike place many times and it just makes me feel like I was there. I especially like the little bit of history on the Victor Steinbrueck Park, a lot of places have information like that and we usually just pass right by it. Good start, can’t wait to read more.

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