Friday, December 4, 2015

Jack Riepe In Hospital

Jack Riepe just called me and he didn't  sound at all well, which was not surprising as he is in the hospital suffering from what I can only assume are complications from his long running bodily ailments. Jack hates making a fuss but he did tell me it was okay for me to post about this to let others know of his misfortune, holed up at the Community Medical Center in Tom's River New Jersey. 
Piecing together his story as far as I can gather his diabetes got the better of him and he went into a coma, discovered after possibly 24 hours by his brother. From what Jack told me his blood sugar was so far out of whack he is lucky to be alive. 

Jack is indomitable so I suppose one can only stand on the sidelines and watch him recover from this setback. I was reeling as he spoke to me from his hospital bed but his  sense of humor was alive and well in the middle of his recitation of woes with a metaphorical jab at my lack of testicular strength so I was thus certain that the whispered voice on the phone was indeed riepe's.
God speed and swift recovery Jack.

A very  valued friend, more than he realizes. 

Caroline Street

Caroline Street is  getting a long overdue makeover. It's complicated for the businesses in the corridor but this street really does need to be improved because the surface is horrible.
Caroline Street is one block set back from the Key West Bight and it's here you have to pass if you want easy access to the Schooner Western Union and the docks, the Cuban Coffee Queen, Half Shell Turtle Kraals or the new Waterfront Brewery. In it's way it is an important artery and its been worn down to a series of potholes, jagged kerbs and rotten asphalt. You can be bounced out of a scooter seat on some of these holes if you don't notice them in time.
The street is also subject to frequent flooding so the storm drains will get a clean up I'm sure. They re-worked them about a decade ago but this looks to be a more comprehensive redo for the entire street. Below we see the old West Marine store now gradually becoming a  24-hr gym. 
The new West Marine will also get a fresh coat of asphalt on the street and even though the uneven surface is hard to photograph it is astonishingly bad:
I tried to capture the awfulness here against the afternoon sun:
The construction plans are also more sweeping than just a re-surface and better drains, its going to be a beautification project as well.  
The construction work has been designed not to interfere with the first amendment panhandling zone:
The idea ultimately will be to have Caroline Street street properly landscaped with nice sidewalks and cut outs and everything a good looking street should have, they say. Something like this maybe, which I photographed on William Street alongside the old West Marine:
This is a sample of the future design, a proper turnout built to accommodate the Marker Hotel newly built at the end of William Street, which you can see off to the left.  What you can also see is that traffic including bicycles is supposed to keep right...good luck with that.
The connector street past Cuban Coffee Queen and the Brewery will also need repaving as you can see:
It's another of those projects that are making everyone crazy, street closures, difficult access for businesses and general disruption but one can only hope that the finished product will look good, work well and not bounce me out of the saddle anymore. Oh and no more high tide flooding please. I think this could be pretty good.
 And check out the amount of equipment they've assembled to tackle this job!
Serenity will return to this corner of Key West.