If you were wondering why there were only two shoppers today at Bellevue Center Mall instead of 12, blame the new YMCA on Highway 100.
The Grand Opening is going on now and I swear, I think every single person living within a 25-mile radius of the joint is there. With the triple temptations of free food, free refrigerator magnets and free balloon animals, what self-respecting Bellevuian could stay away? Competition for freebies had already reached staggering proportions while we were there; I was disturbed to see that the Sawyer Brown Road seniors had formed a human chain around the baked beans stand that even the hardest-bellied bidnessman couldn't hope to penetrate.
Inside, the new Y seems all right, although it's much smaller than many people had anticipated. We are bummed that the Bellevue Y has two indoor pools rather than one indoor and one outdoor, but pleasantly surprised that one of the pools is a children's extravaganza, complete with fountain jets, deluxe tube slides and a nifty palm tree with coconuts that dump water out onto swimmers' heads. Now that's
Mostly though, the crowds made me worry that membership will include a 30-minute wait for the elliptical machines and sardine-style pool experience. However, with the steep monthly fees, I'm guessing a decent amount of Bellevue's famed Bargain Lovers won't be back to clog up the running track- unless Y executives plan to reel them in with the promise of more free hotdogs.