I have rumbled about gentrification on this page from time to time but every now and again when I look around I manage to find signs that the gentry are being kept well at bay in Key West. Check out the Coca Cola Bottling Complex off Simonton Street which aspires to looking nice in a bland sort of way but the details don't meet the standards set by suburban corporate America. Raggedy ass bushes, weeds and hosepipes. Hmm.
These excrescence would never be tolerated Ina town that cared about its appearance. My own aspirations in favor of gentrification get defaulted by these things because at heart I like the slightly chaotic. Disheveled mess that is Key West. As misplaced as it might be my feeling is that these public messes do actually express a certain civic rebelliousness that appeals to me.
Then you meet the occasional eccentric who is still hanging on to a modest life in the ever more expensive town. Here he came prancing down Eaton Street carrying his own leash in is mouth which I thought was a remarkable piece of self reliance. An example for all America to admire. His owner said he just started doing it and she decided he knew what he wanted. Cheyenne, more conventionally leashed was intrigued, even though she went to the wrong end to investigate.
You've heard end plaintive cry of the frustrated visitor asking where exactly is it that locals eat? I usually reply, only slightly sardonically, Outback because we can afford their prices. But there is this place to which I have to confess I have not been for several years, but that continues to operate in a very low key manner. I don't know if it's locals only, I doubt that as there is hardly a corner of this island that sells food in secret, but the Carriage Trade is particular. Check the menu, and you get what you are given.
You eat under the stars in this lovely rear garden, served by one owner while the other elderly gentleman, a real par of gentlemen actually, does the cooking.
Sometimes you'll see them watching the world going by from their porch, anticipating the delights they plan to serve up no doubt. I really have to get back there some Friday.
The Carriage Trade is still there, happily and the reputedly haunted theater is still there across the street, seen in the corner of the pictures above, while here below we see the ghost of Voltaire Books, gone too long ad saving us with only Island Books to fend off Amazon. Voltaire Books is now a gallery, one more place selling pictures. Voltaire's owner told the paper people perused the books and ordered them on Amazon. I did the reverse but not enough to keep the place open. Rats!
I went into the parking lot across Simonton Street hoping to see the Voltaire books reserved parking spots still labelled but parking is too previous to leave it hanging and the signs are gone. Nothing deterred Cheyenne started her clean up operation sniffing back and forth until she found a box of nachos (I think) to dispose of, as only she knows how.
I found this sign rather ironic, as I wondered where the sign was that required dogs to make sure they cleaned up aft their owners instead of letting them spill food everywhere...
Mind you this lot are pretty harsh, and those parking here for their devotions are most decidedly not welcome apparently. The church across the street has a couple of spots reserved on the street for services and my wife who is a Jew and not a Methodist likes to park there when no services are scheduled. However the church apparently is doing well in a town filled with churches and needs more parking. Not here.
It's a pretty church too, a touch of New England in Key West.
So, the book store came and went, the restaurant came and stayed, the gallery came and the church? There it is surveying the changes, and churches don't come and go do they? Even in this town of endless change.