we wrapped up our time on the waterfront with a stop at Victor Steinbrueck Park to have a sit and (for some) to enjoy the beverages procured from the first-ever Starbucks. since the weather was fantastic, the relatively small park was packed with people lounging about on the grass.
the park, located in a wedge of land on top of the bluff next to the Pike Place Market, came under the jurisdiction of the city in 1968 after fire damaged the Washington National Guard Armory that stood on the site. at the time, debate raged about the future of the Pike Place Market and surrounding spaces — developers wanted to tear it down in favor of the aforementioned high-rise with hotel, apartments, hockey arena, etc. proponents of preserving the Market succeeded in saving both the market and partially-destroyed armory over the road. the city transferred oversight to the Parks Department in 1970, which landscaped the area and named it “Market Park” in 1982.
Victor Steinbrueck, a local architect, was instrumental in in the Pike Place preservation but, apparently, the city didn’t feel it appropriate to honor him during his life by naming the park after him. upon his death in 1985, however, they renamed the park on the site of the armory (which he’d championed to preserve as well, though unsuccessfully). the park hosts two cedar totem poles, designed by Steinbrueck.
in addition to the tourists that stop by for views of Elliott Bay on their way to or from the sites along Pike Place, the park attracts an assortment of less-than-savory characters as well. the view is just as good if you’re homeless, addicted to an illicit substance, mentally unstable, or in need of performing an odd, repetitive dance to the tune of a busker’s guitar. there was a guy doing just that right in front of where we sat down — he had long black and gray hair and was wearing a leather vest, performing something reminiscent of what you’d see at a pow wow, repeating the same motions in four directions and moving out of the way of large groups of people trying to get through the park.