Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Glorious 4th

I noticed last Friday how traffic was building and  he town was hopping. I worked all weekend including Friday and there was a higher volume of 911 calls than usual so I figured people were in Key West determined to squeeze the most out of  tomorrow's summer holiday. ZI took a quick look around.
I honestly don't get the bar scene. For me sitting in a noisy environment surrounded by people gradually losing their inhibitions and frequently their good manners while paying through the nose for a drink  that I can have at home for much less... it makes no sense to me.
And besides that people come to Key West  specifically for that privilege. When I travel exploration is high on my list and when its time to sit back a  crowd is not what I seek out.  Luckily I am unusual because this city thrives on urgent crowds seeking alcohol. They throw in a bit of history and the bars argue over which really was Hemingway's preferred. I struggle to picture Hemingway in either of them but when you think about it the bars in those days just looked a bit different but their function was the same. Most likely he'd be massively at home being bought drinks and cheered on for his derring-do. 
 People will tell you the t-shirt shops the bars and the drunks make Duval Street unsuitable for children. I have no children so I haven't a  clue but I do know from talking to people the grungy nature of Duval Street is appealing. I guess in a world that is overly preoccupied with being clean and safe Key West is still promoting its alternative bad boy image and trying to look edgy. It works.
I'd like to see Duval treated differently, as an open air market, a pedestrian zone with shade trees and benches, a place that would attract people not repel them.
I still think about Church Street in Burlington, a place I visited a couple of years ago when in Vermont and I was impressed by the outdoor cafes, the food stands, busy shops and tons of people milling around talking and playing music, throwing horseshoes and generally treating the street as a playground. Duval doesn't even offer anywhere to sit for fear the bums will take over.
And then there are the businesses that have closed and there is nothing apparently to tell property owners to make the empty buildings at least look presentable. 
But these are considerations that don't amount to much. Key West is a summer playground and that's what matters.
 Old City Hall is getting a  face lift and the clock face wrecked by Hurricane Irma has been fixed.
 The scooter parking out front used to be a trench filled with rainwater and trash. They fixed that too with cement and everything:
Small steps.