Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bertha Street

Bertha Street is a funny old street that you'd hardly notice unless you were looking for it. That's not because it's out of the way, far from it, but Bertha isn't a street that makes itself known to the thousands of cars that trundle up and down it, season after season. This is Bertha at Flagler, in the evening hours:
Bertha begins at the end of South Roosevelt Boulevard, the four lane roadway that circles the southeastern shore of Key West. The road known to the State of Florida as A1A ends at a sharp turn inland,known to locals as "The Ramp" because there used to be a public boat launch ramp there. Nowadays its a cement wall, shown here looking south on Bertha towards The Ramp:The tall buildings at the bottom of the street are Atlantic Condominiums and together with La Brisa across the street form a canyon leading north from the beach. La Brisa to the east:Atlantic Condos to the west:Florida is famous for its rows of massive condos lining beaches everywhere but it is a fad that hasn't completely taken over Key West just yet. The city now has a height restriction which attempts to control the desire of developers to build tall. These however snuck through...The rest of Bertha Street is pretty much just as homely, with an intersection at Atlantic Boulevard where cars take their lives into their hands crossing the traffic flow to head to Higgs Beach:The rest of Bertha manages quite nicely to defy the common view of Key West as that picturesque little burg. Off to the right of this picture by a couple of blocks lies the Key West High School:The houses and apartments lining the street reflect utility for the most part, but gthey show individuality nonetheless:I never tire of noting that there are parents in Key West who nag on about there being nothing to do for their offspring in the city. Being child free myself it's a difficult judgement call to make, but here on unpromising Bertha Street we have this fine erection, a covered skating rink for the delectation of our bored youth:Less magnificent but still critically needed by bored adults is the corner store further up the street. They were looking at me a bit old fashioned as I parked the motorcycle, so I sauntered off up the street looking for things to photograph and came across Hans Hamel's VW shop next to the new storefront church:I've never seen the roll up door at Hamel's shop ever actually rolled up and that could be explained by the access alongside:I also spotted this very useful looking contraption nearby; it almost qualifies as Art:While across the street Shanna Key, the Irish pub, was doing a fair imitation of a sidewalk cafe in the evening sun:The liquor purchases were still happening at the corner store down the street as I made my way back:Gathering outside the package store is apparently a daily event:And there you have it, the tough working class underbelly of the little town at the end of the island chain. Well, not really but it sounds good. Key West isn't all frou frou wine bars and conch cottages.