Sunday, January 1, 2017


You get the feeling sometimes that Key West is just too crowded. Sitting in traffic that seems true enough. I would like people to drive efficiently, but telephones crowd out the driver's impulse to pay attention and training for drivers is in short supply so traffic moves at a snail's pace frequently.
Naturally I have to think about this from a broader perspective because I like to travel by car and I have to say I have enjoyed monumental traffic jams in many many places that weren't Key West. Let's be honest traffic problems in the Lower Keys are frustrating but not that terrible compared to places that have real traffic issues. 
I overheard a tourist, a young woman on Whitehead Street telling her companions how great life in New York City where you can do anything you want, lots more opportunities ...I don't think she was comparing the Big Apple to Key West  of course but she's right. If you live in New York you have lots of opportunities to stand in line and see things the rest of the world can only envy. But sometimes when I'm in Old Town I feel as crowded on Duval Street as I might in Manhattan. 
Walking Cheyenne in Brooklyn felt  much like a village of course, sunny and leafy...just like...
...Key West today. 
And yet Key West for all that it is little draws in art and talent and the outside world not just because its a nice place to be in Winter but because people here appreciate the offerings. Voltaire Books closed but the Freemason's building now has an outpost of a Coral Gables institution, Books and Books.
616 Eaton last year:
616 Eaton Street won't end up looking like this picture below, as the owners have planned massive compound behind the rebuilt Conch house in front. In the land of wholesale reconstruction of everything I guess one over sized mansion isn't a big deal but the neighbors have been fighting this  as hard as they can. The idea is for a large modern building to be thrown up behind the pretty house in front and thus create a multi family retreat a couple of blocks off Duval. Even the sellers are feeling remorse according to the paper and want the sale rescinded to prevent the horror from being built. They claimed the buyers fooled them by not telling the truth about the planned mega-building. Lawsuits and to spare.
Further up the street a traditional Key West mansion decorated in the restrained traditional style that looks so good:
We are moving through a holiday season whose drive to sell as much as possible fails to overwhelm me as I don't watch television and I dislike frenzied gift giving so I look around for the signs of the season that appeal to me. Naturally mixing up the Christmas tree with a non-Nordic palm frond suits my sense of humor.
If you want a  frost-free retreat at the end of the road this delightful little house is on sale for $1,675,000. You could rock on the porch and ponder the mysteries of life in the Keys.
Luckily he doesn't care for conspicuous consumption so the cost of housing doesn't bother him and he expects no gifts. The perfect Christmas companion.