Next Sketch Outing

Oct. 13: Seattle Center

Saturday, August 28, 2021

South Park Initiation


8/28/21 South Park Bridge facing north

As a native and lifelong resident, I thought I had visited, however briefly, every Seattle neighborhood. When we started planning a USk Seattle outing to South Park, though, I realized it was one that I had somehow missed. I’d never even driven through this working-class neighborhood (not a “park” at all) on the west bank of the Duwamish Waterway.

Like Georgetown across the Duwamish, South Park has a funky vibe with the added bonus of the modern new bridge across the waterway (I say “new,” but it opened in 2014). Replacing the hundred-year-old original bridge due to safety issues, the new bridge has intriguing design elements. Gears and other parts from the old bridge were retained as decorative elements around the neighborhood.

As a first-timer to South Park, I had to start with the bridge facing north toward downtown (barely visible at left). Standing on the slight incline of the pedestrian/bike lane as continual traffic whizzed by, I was happy that my sketch kit always includes ear plugs.

Next, as I wandered past restaurants and bars, I looked down an alley in the residential area. I am always attracted to the fun shapes of shadows I usually find in alleys.

South Park alley

With the half-hour remaining before the throwdown, I made small sketches of a couple of South Park icons: a gearwork at the south foot of the bridge and the pink elephant (sadly monochromatic in my sketch because I ran out of time for color) promoting the Big Top Curiosity Shop (it was closed when I had walked by, but a huge bear was being hauled out to the sidewalk to greet customers, so I’m guessing it opened shortly thereafter). South Park is full of inspiring surprises even for this native.

Gear at the foot of the bridge and the Big Top elephant
Can you tell we're smiling behind those masks?

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