SEATTLE -- Everyone loves the World Cup, especially when it leads to a long lunch.
Looking around the crowd at the daily public World Cup showings in the “World Cup Alley,” there aren’t many jerseys for the respective teams. Instead, the collared shirts and name badges donned by the spectators make it clear a sizable segment of the Pioneer Square workforce has embraced the Alley as part of its daily ritual.
One wouldn’t expect to find so many smartly-clad spectators congregating in an alley, which is precisely one of the organizers’ goals: changing perceptions while enjoying a spontaneous, temporary cultural festival in an unlikely environment.
In addition to the workers, local residents and passers-by sprinkled in amongst the strong crowd at Monday’s Spain-Honduras match.
Honduras fan Alberto Rodriguez wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the match, as his team dropped a 2-0 decision against Spain, but he enjoyed the experience during his lunch break with some of his co-workers.
“It’s good to be outside and hang out with people who support my team,” Rodriguez said.
Devin Parry found the alley during his lunch break from jury duty.
“I have been wandering around Pioneer Square looking for the best place to watch the game,” Parry said. “I had lunch in a bar, but they had music on. Then I stumbled upon the alley here. I like it.”
Put on by the International Sustainability Institute in an alley near Qwest Field, the World Cup Alley has been filled for each of the 11:30 am PT kickoffs. The idea for this unique form of urban renewal came from a winning alley design entry by Lesley Bain and Kit Kollmeyer of Weinstein A|U, a company that helped design the structures to hold the screen and projector.
So far, the response from the Pioneer Square community has been tremendous.
“The number of people watching all or part of the game was reliably around 150 and approached 180 on one day,” said Todd Vogel, the executive director of the ISI.
The ISI’s mission with the World Cup Alley is to bring the community together and change perceptions about alleys, especially in a traditionally rough neighborhood like Pioneer Square. The World Cup showings are just one avenue for the ISI to get this message out.
Vogel says that the space will continue to be used in the future, noting that the ISI has already hosted a series of alley parties covering the spectrum from art, music and film.
“We may show some of the Tour de France,” Vogel said. “We’re open to showing other soccer events. This project is about community gathering.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @andrewewinner.
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