Wednesday, April 28, 2010

United Untied

This mysterious white ball is best viewed from the United Street side of United and White. It's not actually that mysterious, it's just the back of the National Weather Service office built a few years ago on what used to be, as I recall, an RV park. It was open space for years and the weather service built a hurricane resistant office with category five resistant toilets. So if the mother of all hurricanes threatens, the weather forecasters get to lurk in the windowless toilets in the middle of the building. It was probably not designed by someone planning to use the office. In my experience architects are like that. This building was designed a few years ago and thus has pretensions to beauty, a concept alien to modern designers who like cubes and concrete.It's not that lovely, the Facilities Department for the financially ailing school district but the setting sun illuminated it in a way the NWS office would never glow. Plus the school district has tons of parking around here for a fleet of vehicles.The 1300 block of United has an almost light industrial air to it, with all these cement office structures from the 1960s, also devoted to utility over beauty.
The Monroe Association of ReMARCable Citizens got stuck with an awkward acronym for their valiant work taking care of their segment of the population in need. Some bright spark from a cold hearted era before ours coined the term Monroe Association for Retarded Citizens and the term MARC has become part of the local lexicon so they came up with an alternative reading. Either way they teach self sufficiency, they run a superb plant shop for those that like to grow flowers and they have avoided any hint of financial scandal or impropriety over the years, just doing what they do so well. Across the street a wooded residence.United is a wide thoroughfare across mid town all the way to the south end of the Duval Tourist experience. Out here east of White Street it is utilitarian.With touches of Art. And before we get another outbreak of artistic temperament let me just say the artwork is here whether you like it or not:
Another Hansel and Gretel house:And a mother and child walking home playing and talking as they went. They seemed happy together which unhappily struck me as unusual.MARC House plants for sale. I have no idea how the doormat made it's way here.
Privacy in bloom.
More public Art.
Kids playing. The elder girl liked Cheyenne, her younger brother was scared but I reassured him saying she'd eaten her quota of small noisy children for the day (would that were true). He got the sort of apprehensive look you see on a Congress member's face when asked to regulate big banks and congressional lobbyists: irrational fear.
A small house, a porch, a yard, a scooter: idealized Key West living.This area of New Town took a beating in Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Fogarty Street ended up looking like a trailer park with FEMA RVs every lot while homeowners struggled to rebuild. It was a tough time unnoticed in the shadow of New Orleans much worse disaster.

A house on stilts might be very useful "next time." Horace O'Bryant School has nothing to do with United Street except it is nearby and on my route back to work.
Plans are to tear HOB down and build a new facility. In a town dedicated to the principle of nicknaming everything and everyone it's often known as House of Brats, but that's just because it's a middle school. It has nothing to do with the heroic educator for whom the school is named.