August 5, 2008 at 7:50am
STEPH DEROSA: WAXING WILD WAVES >>>
I find myself meandering Sixth Avenue on an often and recurrent basis. My typical pace includes stopping by some favorite shops, having a bit of lunch or coffee, and people watching from the private confines of my own observant mental state. It was just this week, after a few cups of coffee, I found myself along Sixth without a public potty in sight. The piano players of Chopstix were inside their venue having some sort of meeting of the musical minds Ã¢â¬" so I asked if I could step in and use their restroom. They were very gracious, and I was very thankful.
It's not very often you'll see me hanging out at Chopstix, Tacoma's dueling piano bar. Not that I don't think it's a fun place and a definite positive addition to our city, it's just not a joint I frequent. Trust me, my friends and I have witnessed plenty of Chopstix bachelorette parties, sung our fair share of Billy Joel tunes, and tied on quite a few Grey Goose martinis in our fun-loving-piano-bar lives. It's an extremely novel idea, and one that I support, but honestly I never thought a dueling piano bar would make it in a city like Tacoma this long. As I pass by the windows on a Friday or Saturday night, all I can see is an overflowing, crowded room of piano crooning Chopstix fans. Whodathunk? Let's be honest here¬" dueling piano bars are meant for the big cities like Las Vegas, New York, and dare I say¬" Seattle. I say kudos to you, Tacoma, for keeping something as different as Chopstix in the limelight. And kudos to you as well, Chopstix, for giving us yet another cool nightlife alternative.
As I was taking my bathroom break, I began to wonder what else was finding itself inside my never gonna make it radar. First thing that comes to mind¬" Wild Waves. Dammit if that place isn't hanging on by a tiny little thread of corporate funding. Talk about the Little Engine That Could attitude, every year I witness mass displacement as I renew my Wild Waves Enchanted Village season pass.
DeRosa Manor is less than five miles away from Wild Waves Enchanted Village, so for my daughter and me this local water wonderland is like our own personal summertime playground. I drop a cool $170 for two season passes and a parking pass at the beginning of the summer, and that's all the money they get from me for the entire year. No lockers, no parking fees, no tubes, no food, no games, no ice cream, no souvenirs¬" no more money spent. If every person did this, or if even half, how would this grand business ever make it?
I look around at the Wild Waves clientele who have taken the day off from work, packed up the minivan, and brought the entire five-member family into the park for the day. How does one afford a day like that? Did they have to take out a second mortgage on their home for a day of cold water sprinklers and beaten-up rides?
No, wait, excuse me¬" not all the rides are beaten up. At least 30 percent of them are just plain closed, while each year Wild Waves Enchanted Village seems to build a new ride. This year it's Disk-O. With this ride you can spin, swing, and vomit all to the tunes of ABBA's greatest hits.
I never have to wait in a line, most of the food vendors are closed, and the lazy river is the only thing I'd consider busy enough to need staff. Yet billboards flash that they're still hiring. Hiring for what? Do they need to hire someone to set the place on fire for insurance money?
There are possibly 10 hot days up here in Washington state that make a water/ amusement park necessary. And by hot I mean above 80 degrees¬" which in Houston is a cool spring day. Growing up in Houston we spent day after long exhausting day in water slide lines, just aching to relieve our sun-beaten bodies from the heat. Traveling to other destination cities with incredible amusement parks (Disneyland, King's Dominion, Dollywood, Hersheypark) the lines were long and the bodies were all there, diligently spending their hard-earned vacation money. This area really doesn't have the family vacation destination draw that is going to support a great amusement park. Wild Waves is simply in the wrong city, with the wrong commodity for sale. After being bought and sold at least three times in the last five years, how are they still around?
Oh Wild Waves, you're like a cockroach. Surviving everything short of a nuclear explosion, you seem to be the aging insect that the Pacific Northwest will never let die.
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Looks delicious! Thank you Jackie for share ^^
Banff National Park is a breath of fresh air. A small mountain town with world class facilities...
Too many cover-bands play at The Swiss.
Wohoo! Love this and great work! From one Assyrian to another I congratulate you and am rooting...