So long, Boardwalk?

  • Monday, May 1, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

Let’s admit now that most of us didn’t know the classic board game Monopoly was set in Atlantic City, N.J., until long after we started playing it.

We didn’t know a Baltic Avenue from the Baltic Sea.

A St. Charles Place from a St. Charles Cathedral.

A Marvin Gardens from any other garden.

And who knew “Reading Railroad” was pronounced “Redding”?

Don’t lie.

Herald file

Pike Place Market is one of three Seatte landmarks that could be chosen as properties in the new “Here and Now Monopoly” board game.

Herald file

Puget Sound is one of three Seatte landmarks that could be chosen as properties in the new “Here and Now Monopoly” board game.

In the past couple of decades, there has been a run on “Monopoly”-based games featuring random themes and areas, including the Seattle Seahawks, “Star Wars,” virtually every major university and even “Snohomish County-opoly,” as part of a local United Way fundraiser.

Hasbro, which now owns Parker Brothers, the original creator of Monopoly, is getting back into the action with a “Here and Now Monopoly” that will feature landmarks from across the country in place of the original 22 properties.

There’s no word on whether the new jail will be Guantanamo, the new Electric Light Co. will be Enron or the Luxury Tax will be rolled back for the richest players in the game.

Hasbro wants you in on the action, asking people to vote online for their favorite landmark out of three choices from each of 22 cities. Visit before May 12 to vote.

Everett didn’t make the cut, but Seattle did.

Its three landmarks are Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market and Puget Sound. Now, I know what you’re thinking: What about Dick’s on Broadway?

What’s also missing is the Space Needle, which initially was included on the Web site’s photo of Pioneer Square.


It’s been fixed.

So while St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and Orlando’s Disney World are on the list, Seattle’s biggest icon isn’t.

Instead, you can choose from a bunch of water, a bunch of shops or an area with a bunch of bars known for riots and the near-death of one of our beloved pro football players.

More egregious, though, are some of the other choices voters have.

My apologies to anyone who is from any of these places, but there’s a reason you’re here now, right?

First, there’s Cleveland.

I think we found our new Mediterranean Avenue.

How this town made the list is as mysterious as why people think Drew Carey is funny.

How is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – perhaps the only thing in Cleveland that anyone who isn’t from Cleveland knows about – not among its three options?

Well, the inexplicability is similar to why Minneapolis is among the choices when its claim to fame is a big, honkin’ mall.

Ya, sure. You betcha.

The lesson here is one that not only board game manufacturers but movie studios should note: Stop trying to remake the classics.

I’ve never been to Atlantic City, but places such as Pennsylvania Avenue, Park Place and Boardwalk have held a special place in my heart since I was about 7.

Don’t ruin it.

The Kemah Boardwalk in Houston just doesn’t cut it.

Columnist Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or

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