a plan to repurpose the Needle

a plan to repurpose the Needle

It’s probably worth a call to the folks at the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau to remind them that the Space Needle is no longer exciting, no longer interesting enough to draw people to the Emerald City. Yes, Seattle has its flash-in-the-pan Seahawks, but even Portland and its weirdness are getting more attention if Portlandia–the popular IFC show now starting its third season–is any indication.

The Space Needle is a little more than fifty years old, but looks sixtyish.  Proposals to cover it with a tarpaulin, or even tear it down, are gaining traction among some business and civic groups concerned about Seattle’s declining prestige.  The Wobblies–gone! The Sonics–gone!  Boeing–gone!  The Huskies–gone!  Well, the Huskies are still in town, but they might as well be gone after losing to the Ducks ten years in a row.

Here’s a modest proposal that keeps the Needle:  empower crazy acrophiliacs everywhere to come to Seattle for its monumental “Space Jump!”  The Space Needle becomes ground zero of a North American pilgrimage, a must-do destination for adrenaline-charged platform jumping enthusiasts determined to test their mettle!  Sure, there will almost certainly be fatalities.  But that is what will draw crowds, the possibility of seeing humans plunge into the void.

Seattle could ease into the program by first offering tethered jumps like they do in China at Macao Tower.  About the same height as the Space Needle, Macao Tower offers anybody without a serious heart condition the chance to jump off a sixty story building by bungee cord–no special training necessary!  This kind of spectacle is unthinkable in American cities where well-heeled personal injury lawyers are chasing ambulances.

But just imagine what it could do for Seattle!  And to promote the Needle’s new chapter as an extreme sports mecca, could Seattle do better than to shove Bill and Melinda Gates off the top?