Sunday, September 6, 2020

Appelrouth Lane

The former Strand movie theater, now a chain pharmacy is the rainbow lighting on Duval Street that marks the spot where Applerouth Lane,  a one way street connects Duval to Whitehead Street.
Appelrouth Lane was previously known rather more prosaically as Smith Lane until 1981. The street got a new name in honor of a Key West merchant Billy Appelrouth. His real name was William Herman Appelrouth and he belonged to the Jewish community which has thrived in Key West from the city's inception. He lived from 1924 to 1978 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery which is part of the main city cemetery in the middle of town.
I was struck by the mass of pipes and cables hanging off the side of Virgilio's restaurant which is a fixture on the corner of Appelrouth and Duval. Other businesses on this short street have come and gone. Mary Ellens was one I didn't expect to last but...as usual I am a rotten predictor of these things.
They have a reputation of making astonishingly good grilled cheese sandwiches and they have created a quiz night mystique which, as I think about it could make this my long sought replacement for Finnegan's Wake, the only Key West bar I ever really liked. Perhaps in a year or two (!) we shall find out. I do like the signage outside: "a/c eats" makes me grin each time I see it.
I like this view of Duval Street down Appelrouth. People often ask me if aI am afraid to walk Key West at night which question I find quite funny. If I were, I wouldn't do it I guess. On the whole I do find fear to be overrated and too many people indulge themselves in it too often. On the whole I like fear as it keeps people away from placesI like to go so yes, walking the streets of key West in the dark is terrifying.
Appelrouth used to be home to a sex club where Mary Ellen's is now and Leathermaster a fetish shop still has a home there. Actually Leathermaster promotes itself as a place to buy inadequate clothing and whips and stuff, like the wrong sort of masks for covid protection for instance, but they also do rather quality leather work on mundane items or accessories you might own. You could bring your leather jockstrap to be refurbished but a purse would get the same quality attention. Needs must to make a living in Key West.
The courthouse deli has been on the corner of Southard and Whitehead for ages too and I like the bench outside as a perch to drink con leche and listen to the so called sound checks, afternoon performances at the Green parrot across the street. That famous bar has no air conditioning but keeps its barn door windows wide open, letting in air and allowing the music to get out. I have always had an aversion to crowds, even before Coronavirus so taking in the music without the sweaty armpits of close contact has been my preferred approach.
These days the bar is open for limited hours for take out only which sounds weird to me. The whole point of a bar is to sit inside and talk to strangers but I guess to go is better than no sales at all. As much as I enjoy being apart I miss the activity, seen from a. distance especially. Key West is supposed to be the happy place  and this is not a happy time. I thought the colors looked good though.