Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Packer Street

Packer Street is your basic utilitarian residential street, but because this is Key West it's more than that, it is in some mysterious way photogenic. I wanted to photograph a street because it feels like for too long I've been traveling one way and another and this blog has degenerated into an anywhere-but-Key-West diary. So I figured, a quick stop on Watson Street before I go to work and bob's your uncle. Instead I overshot Watson and ended upon Packer and was forced to admit even the most unpromising streets have too much stuff to photograph. There's a pretty decent restaurant:

My wife and I ate there shortly after "The Good Life" opened and we enjoyed sitting out on the porch. They have one of those eclectic American Grille menus with startling variations on old favorites:

Aside from this place the end of Packer Street that pops out into Truman Avenue dead ends into a popular Japanese restaurant which is a useful landmark to find Packer. My wife has eaten there and likes it, though I am reluctant to spend lots of money to eat bites of raw fish, so she goes with friends.The entrance to Packer off Truman is bracketed by another sturdy landmark in this middle area of Old Town, and across from Kyushu lies this:I am not overly fond of these streets south of Truman Avenue and I'm not sure why. Partly I think it's because they lack sidewalks and my sense of order is offended, not least because of all the cars jammed up against the edges make the place look untidy and crowded:

The reality is that Packer Street is, relatively speaking, a wide avenue compared to a lot of the lanes and alleys around town. Some of the main streets themselves aren't as broad as Packer and still traffic gets jammed here. Pedestrians don't though:

Packer Street has the usual mix of homes typical of any residential neighborhood in Key West:

House prices in Key West remain stubbornly high in the city (houses not on canals in the Lower Keys are dropping a bit) though bank foreclosures are supposedly working their way onto auction blocks. I see no reductions in prices among the desirable properties, the mansions the Conch cottage restorations and the like. Condos are coming down a bit and I've seen some of the South Roosevelt condos below $300,000 but among all the many homes for sale prices seem surprisingly strong. Better ask these people and not me:

I caught this yard filled with projects, which looked much more interesting to me than the neatly groomed snowbird residences further up the street. I particularly liked the upturned boat, a reminder that we are less than a mile from tidal waters, no matter how landlocked this street looks:

As usual I have no idea what this bush might be called but it looked pretty (as did the Honda which I identified as possibly a 700 Nighthawk):Talk about utilitarian this next machine is the epitome of utility, a Honda Elite scooter, parked in front of a home.The scooter is actually a mobile ad for the pepper store though it was painted by the inimitable, the late Captain Outrageous:Another landmark, immobile on Packer Street, is the old fire station now in the process of being converted to a fire museum:The cement structure in the foreground is a very rare watering trough used by the horses that pulled the fire engines back in the day. Nowadays the fire department has three modern stations strategically located around town, but when we get a 911 call from the "fire station on Grinnell" (usually long time Key West residents identify this location that way) we have to remember they mean the old fire station which is the museum here. And near there was my Bonneville, a study in green and white:They are a civic lot on Packer Street because it seems Tuesday is pick up day for recycling and every home appeared to have a bin at the curb next to the trash.The city commission last week back pedaled on mandatory recycling and now the city is limiting itself to encouraging people (and more to the point businesses) to recycle. It seems there may still be a plan to hire a recycling coordinator to increase the city's miserable recycling rate but the city is also showing a widening budget deficit so one has to wonder where the money will come from to gently encourage the citizens to recycle. Currently the city is projecting a 1.2 million dollar shortfall in a $38 million budget. And then by June, the end of the fiscal year things will surely be worse. Oh well, at least we have free sunshine. Packer Street mysteriously attractive in it's way.