Monday, August 8, 2011

Gato Village Pocket Park

The city's newest pocket park is located on the 600 block of Louisa Street and it is quite pretty. From a distance it looks like a cottage with a garden.

Which was in fact the effect the designers were looking for.

At the end of the 19th century many cigar makers fled the chaos that was Cuba in the throes of ongoing revolt and repression and came to the US to carry on their trade in Key West. The Gato family were the big cheese in the new industry and their footprint can still be seen in the large white county building on Simonton Street nearby called fro some reason the "Gato Building."

In those days employers provided - get this- employee housing for their workers and it was thus Key West got Gato Village, which this little spot now represents. Not forgetting the symbol of that transient prosperity, the cigar.

"Gato" in Spanish means 'cat' so this a play on words with the silhouette of a cat in the window of the cigar maker's cottage.

There is a convenient bench under a tree in the park which makes for an excellent spot to hang out. I could see getting a batboy burrito around the corner on Simonton Street this winter and coming here to devour it. right now it's kind of hot to be eating a Gaucho Ernesto burrito in the noon day sun.

The illusion of shade looking through the window is quite powerful though there is actually a shaded porch on the front of the facade.

It could make a refuge from the rain even.

Looking north across the First State Bank parking lot. It's worth noting that eventually it became obvious that Key West was too costly a place to roll cigars when there was land available cheap Up North, whence the industry decamped giving the world the district known to all as Ybor City, Tampa's main claim to ethnic fame.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Chuck and the Pheebs said...


Gato Village Pocket Park has been there for years. Yes, it's cool, but the cigar thingie is all that's fresh about it. The cottage front and el gato have been a fixture for quite some time.

Now Bad Boy Burrito less than a block away's a different story...And they ride a purple scooter. That's gotta be worth something!

man - I miss the place.

Conchscooter said...

The sign board says 2008.