Caught Masticating
Caught Masticating
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 2 comments



No, I said masticating, which is something completely different – though in my old parish of Seattle, it can be just as dirty.  So dirty, in fact, it was declared the “germiest place on Earth”; a blight for tourists and apparently a “health-hazard”, so City Hall sadly stepped in.


I am, of course, referring to the infamous Pike Market gum wall, a local landmark that is being cleaned of its more than one million gum wads for the first time in over 20 years.  The controversial move is being made “to protect the integrity of the bricks making up the historic walls of Post Alley,” say officials.  The steam-cleaning and chipping off of the gum wads started on Tuesday.


It’s sad, in many ways, as I often regarded this quirk – along with the notorious gone but-not-forgotten Lusty Lady, just around the corner – as being a part of the “real Seattle” and arguably a piece of true living art where the term “culture” has more than just one meaning. The tradition is believed to have started over 20 years ago by audience members “de-wadding” while waiting in line for the improv comedy club, Market Theatre.


But it then took on a life of its own, so to speak, and over the years, the gum expanded beyond the original wall and spread across an area eight feet high and over 54 feet – and it was always quite a sight in the summer watching those brave tourists trying to jump as high as they could to find a bare spot. Thankfully, once cleaned, the gum wall will live on – it is, after all, one of the few remaining Seattle traditions and a crowd-sourced piece of public art.


Leica R8 & 2/50mm Summicron-R

Kodak Portra 400VC

Developed & scanned by Panda Lab



  • Sorry this UNESCO World Heritage Site application did not make it. But it will be back with a vengeance
    Phil, in Seattle

  • Sorry this UNESCO World Heritage Site didn't make the cut. this "Masterpiece" will be back with a vengeance after "curation"!!!!!