This afternoon, for the first time since it opened, I walked by the new Chihuly exhibit. I wasn’t going to pay $19 to get in* so I can’t speak to the exhibit itself. Still, walking by I was struck by having to walk by it. Where once you could cut through the fun forest, the area is now fenced off.
That’s been true for some time, of course, but with the construction fencing down, and seeing Seattle Center how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future, now is as good as any time to reflect what we lost.
I know thinking of privately owned silly amusement park rides as a public amenity is over the top. But it’s more of one than a walled off courtyard. And I know there are plenty of areas in Seattle Center that are walled off. I’ve been to enough plays and concerts there. I know with the Science Center, the Children’s Museum and the Children’s Theater, (not to mention plenty of open space) Seattle Center is still more family friendly than much of the rest of the urban core. But it still feels like the loss of a public good.
* This isn’t a value judgement on anyone who would pay $19 to get in. It’s just not worth it to me. Also, it’s not a dig on Chihuly whose art is well liked with good reason. From what I could see on the outside, it looked very nice. It’s also not about holding a grudge because I disagreed with the exhibit; I mentioned earlier today that I go to Mariners games regularly despite thinking the funding was bad for the stadium.