Thursday, January 8, 2009

Curry Lane

Curry Lane reaches west from White Street down that magnificent canyon photographed above. The building on the left is irresistible, a corrugated sheet iron in urban industrial guise masking several residential apartments inside judging by the mailboxes. That view is down the lane this one is out the other way towards White Street near Fleming:Curry Lane is named for one of the city's most famous pioneer residents, a man called William Curry according to the inestimable J Burke Wills, author of The Streets of Key West, who unravels so many Key West oddities.The short version is that Curry was born in the Bahamas, came to Key West and set himself up in business with a couple of partners at the tender age of sixteen. At age 23 he went solo and spent the rest of his life amassing a vast fortune. So much so he was rated I believe as Florida's richest man at some point in his life. He traded, he operated a wrecking operation and his death in 1896 caused a massive traffic back up en route to the cemetery. And for all this he gets, besides the Curry Mansion, a tiny alley named for him. It hardly seems fair, though it is, as always pretty enough, this Key West lane:This place looks old enough to have housed Curry's janitor, though the all wood construction looks more Pacific Northwest in it's rugged exterior style, lacking a sit does porches and tropical ventilation:And there's more corrugated iron on view as well:This low slung structure put me in mind of a house I used to live near in Santa Cruz, California. It happened I used to walk my dogs down to the beach at Pleasure Point and I passed this very small house frequently and it looked a bit like the little house pictured above. One rainy winter day a woman bent low to fit through the doorway appeared in front of the house. She looked at me, I said hello and added: "Finally I get to meet the resident of the doll's house." She looked startled, "What?" she said recoiling. I repeated my comment saying I'd always wondered who lived there as I lived round the corner. "Oh," she said. "I thought you said the devil's house." I never saw her again and perhaps my ill considered comment stuck in her mind (as it did in mine, apparently) causing her to duck inside every time she saw me coming with Emma and Debs...Back to Curry Lane where full sized houses are to found and for sale too:There was lots of art work on offer on the lane including one tantalizing studio:Some seasonal stuff, with a Key West twist ( I took these pictures last month):And this orchid was quite charming I thought in its special holder:And there was this strange yin and yang thing going on, a fierce dog perhaps representing the destruction of yang with the whirligig the preservation of yin or vice versa. Or not.And there was a sophisticated little note en francais which might not have the desired effect should one be hoping to inform the unwashed masses that this residence is private:I'm not generally too accomplished when it comes to identifying cars but this looks like an old fashioned short wheelbase Land Rover, now apparently become an Indian corporation, which puts me in mind of Enfield motorcycles.Fine vehicles of course but as I recall an absolute bear to drive, and not at all suited to the cut and thrust of urban Key West traffic. But there again were we all conformists I'd be riding a Harley Davidson. There's a thought.