Saturday, October 27, 2012
It was hectic last night until the bars finally started to close. I snapped a quick picture of my colleagues taking calls and dispatching help all over the city, not just in the "Fantasy Zone" of Duval Street. I was in the back of the room running the radio channel monitoring the officers on Duval Street
The quiet of the Fall months gets interrupted every year by the chaos and activity of this bacchanalia. In the police department everyone works, leave is not allowed and you would be amazed by the careful planning for every eventuality. I show up at dusk to take over the night shift and all the details of the police fire and rescue coverage are laid out ready for us. I like working most days and Fantasy Fest is especially satisfying because it is so intense and so demanding. I'd rather be in the room at the top of the police station than out on the streets drinking. And I get paid to boot. Nice.
It came as a bit of a shock when Buco Pantelis fell out with the city over the rent charged for his organically inclined market and then he was gone. Wha...? The building has been empty ever since a small northern grocery chain had a go and failed. This summer new plans were unveiled and approved by the city which is the landlord, and the last we the people heard was that a brew pub was going in.
Renovation work on the building ruined the old mural by the marine artist known only as Wyland but a new rather more colorful, possibly garish, mural has taken its place. Like most people who live in this town of constant change I get a bit leery when something new pops up - again! - and my first question, a reflexive question really is why do they have to change it? In this case the garish stripe at the top suddenly looked like a tropical sunset when my brain cleared and I realised that the top of the building looks west when seen from this side and the sunset ... Well, you get my point. In my defense I am no artist and it takes me a moment to see these subtleties.
I ignored the no trespassing signs and peered through the dusty window and of progress inside there wasn't much to be seen. However I have come to realize that construction apparently stalls out from time to time for some mysterious reason, then hey presto! the job is equally mysteriously done and everyone goes home after packing up their tools.
There was lots of fussing about the brew pub proposal at first when neighbors learned of plans for a rooftop terrace facing the water but music restrictions were written into the permit, so that calmed people down. Some talk of a bowling alley had raised its head but according to the developers of the property a bowling alley wouldn't make enough money to sustain the property. So brew pub it is, we think.
I actually quite like the idea of a brew pub. Which if it is anything like The Porch, owned by the same people, means there is a chance we'll get a second adult watering hole in a town devoted to juvenile drunkeness. The mural seems like a good start.