Monday, August 8, 2011

Keys Pix 2

I like to take a walk before I go to work in the evening, it clears my mind and makes my dog happy. Some days I walk and read, some days I walk and medicate on the views, but most ays I carry my camera. Some people like to sit and think which is an entirely admirable way to spend a muggy summer afternoon.

It's been raining a bit as I have documented elsewhere and this nicely set up boat looked ark-like to me in it's bucolic wooded Big Pine setting. I wondered if the owner knew something I didn't about the forecast.

The tarp covered something that looked like a classic truck, something from the 1940's perhaps?

I am always amazed how many survivors there are from the hard times of the 20th century. I hope some of our 21st century artifacts will survive the coming depression.

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Driving Electrons

Working for the police doesn't make the sinking feeling of being 'lit up' any better, indeed perhaps it makes it worse. Having to tell your Lieutenant you got a monster speeding fine is just the icing on the cake when it comes to feeling like crap. Thus I like to see a fine police motorcycle safely parked as I'm driving by.

Texting while walking. Suits me. Texting while driving drives me nuts and we seem to be suffering from an epidemic of this kind of stupidity. In Key West we also suffer from people, visitors perhaps, stepping off sidewalks like they're in Disneyland. Yet it is real traffic rolling by in the street.

I thought this scooter riding was getting a riding lesson but that was just me being sexist. She was actually texting and happily she was not moving. I see tons of people riding scooters operating cell phones. I don't understand how it is that driving became a secondary occupation while operating a motor vehicle.

Here's a woman focused solely on riding her bicycle. Today's gold star recipient. Not an electron in sight.

Not only did they park their motorcycle like it was a car in a parking lot but they couldn't figure out how to pay to get out.

Just around the corner the Westin has free covered motorcycle parking and all around town there's free parking on the streets. Why ride and think like a car driver?

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La Trattoria Oceanside

There aren't enough restaurants in Key West with a proper ocean view. I used to like Martha's, an old fashioned steak house that sat right on South Roosevelt Boulevard, here:

When I rode past the restaurant I could see the diners at their window tables as though swimming among the fish tanks they used to use for decor. The fish tanks are gone.

The views remain.

Off to the east you cam see across Cow Key Channel to Stock Island in the distance.

Interestingly the remodel has included hives in the front windows so that in suitable weather window-front diners could feel like they were outdoors.

The afternoon we strolled by it was hot and bright outside. The restaurant opened at five according to some construction workers busy renovating a space alongside Benihana next door. Apparently that space is soon to be a sushi bar attached tom the Japanese eatery.

My wife and I have eaten at the downtown Trattoria and it was okay. I suspect we may like this place a whole lot more for it's waterfront location,

And tons of free parking.

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Walking The Waterfront

I doubt this boat has spent much time in St Vincent, but the owner will get a nice tax break by registering the thing in that tiny Caribbean tax haven. However it's more fun to be tied up at the Westin Marina in Key West than in the Tobago Keys apparently.

I was trailing along following a bunch of happy beach goers one recent humid afternoon when I saw bits of this one guy's beach towel. I guessed it was a reproduction of a famous local monument.

This elderly pick up truck is serving out it's retirement as some sort of fruit stand on the waterfront walkway, or come to think perhaps I misread it and it serves fruit drinks at sunset or something. Whatever it was it seemed vaguely undignified.

Rain clouds, Sunset Key in the background and a docking post for cruise ships in the foreground. This is a working waterfront.

I spotted the sailboat motoring out of the harbor while the speedboat was rumbling round chasing it's own tail with a loud exhaust and kidney crushing jolts across the surface of the water.

There was far less activity on shore Mallory Square where nothing was going on. Everything was waiting for the sunset celebrations.

And like me...

... a few people were staring gormlessly out to sea. A very pleasant vacuous way to relax of an afternoon in Key West.

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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.

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