Niketown: Seattle protesters like to break glass...
(photo Andy Clark/REUTERS)
My favorite comment ever on "urban reblightilization" (it must have been, it stuck whole in my memory) was a poem written by Seattle pundit Bill Radke, on the occasion of Seattle holding a big event to celebrate the near-simultaneous opening of a Niketown, Planet Hollywood, Barnes and Noble, REI flagship store (which I have to admit is pretty cool) and a GameWorks .
The "Mayor McCheese" reference was to Norm Rice, and this press release at the time gives an indication why: "The long-anticipated announcement was heralded by Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, who cited the decision as "yet another example of the health and vitality of our downtown." "Planet Hollywood is one of the hottest and most sought-after names in America today," Rice said. "The restaurant will bring energy and excitement to our downtown." (It closed in 2001).
Anyway, here's Radke's poem or what I remember of it:
To save our downtown, here's the fictional plot:
We'll turn the place into a place that it's not!
We'll call the town Nike and import a lot
Of Celebs whom we really don't know
The triumph of fiction, the failure of fact
Is that Bruce can't sing and Arnold can't act
Despite those truths the whole place is packed
There's an audience here, but no show
It's Planet Downtown run by Mayor McCheese
Where we climb McGraw hills under REI trees
Geffen, Gates, Katzenberg, sole licensees
Urban blight, all tied up with a bow.