When you want to get rid of that two-hour-old gum in your mouth, you probably toss it into the nearest trash can. But, if you’re in Seattle, you do things a little differently. For the past 20 years, people have been heading to one of the city’s famous landmarks to stick theirs on it.
No, not the Space Needle. We’re talking about the Post Alley “gum wall(s)” in Pike Place Market that’s jam packed with at least 1 million pieces of disgusting gum.
The walls were once named the second-germiest tourist attraction in the world–and we’re not surprised. Unfortunately, if you haven’t had the chance to participate in this “unique” ritual, you better hurry up. Emily Crawford, a spokeswoman for the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA), says all the gum will soon be removed.
“It was never part of the charter or the history of the Market to have the walls covered with gum,” she said to the Seattle Times. “Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren’t good for us. I can’t imagine it’s good for brick.”
So how did all this gum get on the walls? Well, it apparently started back in 1991 when theatre-goers started sticking their gum to the wall as they waited in line, according to NPR.
Through the years, some of the gum is cleared off periodically, but this time it’s going for good. On November 10, the gum will be blasted off with an industrial steam machine that’ll basically melt it all off.
If you can’t make it out to the city in time, there’s still a little hope. Crawford guesses gum lovers will be adorning the freshly cleaned walls in no time.
“We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”