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 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.