August 3, 2008

Neighborhood petanque in Seattle

Steve in Seattle alerted me that there's this nice boules court on Fairview Ave on the east side of Lake Union. A quick glance at our database showed that - indeed - we've been shipping boules to several addresses in that area, and a couple of emails later, I got this interesting report, with photos, from Bob, who lives around the corner and plays there regularly.

Here are some pictures I took of some locals tossing boules just an hour ago. The Bouledrome is in the quiet Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle which is adjacent to downtown (as you can see from the Space Needle in the background in one of the pictures). At the same time, the lake is actually designated as an ‘airport’ as there is a seaplane terminal at the south end and the planes come and go, dodging boats along the way, taking people up north to the San Juan Islands and beyond. The Bouledrome is on a street with houseboats on the water side and is directly across the lake from the houseboat that appeared in Sleepless in Seattle. And as you can see, if you’re sober enough you can go for a swim after a hot game of Petanque. Lastly, the Bouledrome sits just one block from the historic first flight of a Boeing plane (it was a seaplane) 92 years ago.

Click on the photos to enlarge:

This is exactly the type of public play area I like: right smack in the middle of a neighborhood, almost on a street, so players can walk over there, any time it suits them, and meet other neighbors. And make new friends.
Though it's still somewhat of a "hidden gem", Bob confirmed that players from all over Seattle have discovered it and drive over there as well.

There's even an Independent Petanque Club of Eastlake, with a great sense of humor. Intrinsic to (most) pétanque players ;-)
And this Wikipedia article about Eastlake gives more background - see the last paragraph. The dollar amount quoted probably includes all the landscaping work, not only the court.

Kudos to all the parties involved for converting a simple street corner into a "party" place, and many thanks to Bob & Steve for sharing it. A great inspiration for other community groups.
Last but not least, here's a crystal clear view from the sky on Google Maps.

1 comment:

TEAMENZO said...

Thanks for the nice little feature. Many of us were involved in building the 'boulledrome'. There were plans to make this sweet little spot into a parking lot, which would have been atrocious. We ripped out the existing pavement, got free pitching mound material (turfus) from the Seattle Mariners, 100 year old granite curbs from the City of Seattle and hundreds of labor hours from locals for construction of the court. It was a blast to build this place; we did it in 6 weekends. A memorial bench was installed for a french Lady in the neighborhood who passes away.

The Independent Petanque club of Eastlake is looking forward to see some of you folks out there for a game or two!