Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sunrise And Shadows

Rusty went walkabout in the mangroves so I took the time to watch the sun rise. 
I had had a particularly hard night at work and it was pleasant to feel the cool morning air and watch the sun come up over the trees in  a place where there was no one else.
A Key deer popped out of the bushes and stood in the road for a a bit looking thoughtful. Slowly it meandered away and survived without meeting a  car. 
They have at last blocked off the trail closing the backwoods to people driving out camping and making a trail of trash. Rusty and I come and leave footprints and take photographs. 
In my pursuit of the answer to the question: why is black and white photography so fascinating I like to revert to full color to remind myself of the reality of a place. This is poisonwood: touch it and you get a poison oak-like rash. 
With a  lifting hook this huge block of cement could be moved to re-open the trail. I hope they don't. 
Rusty was muddy and wet and happy. I had my pictures. We went home.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Albury Mansion

I was delighted to see Bonnie Albury's old home being properly restored after the former school teacher died at a ripe old age. She was a cranky old woman when I first started taking 911 calls from her nearly 14 years ago. She was angered by people painting her home and demanded we send officers to remove the offending easels from the sidewalk in front of her home...If it weren't so complicated to be a rebel, Bonnie Albury was the kind of no nonsense old timer we would all like to become, a rebel who cared not one jot what others thought..
I miss her phone calls which started out as rants and ended up as conversations as often old people are lonely and call 911 to hear a voice as much as to register a complaint. I got the impression Ms Albury was delighted to chat on more than one occasion. Every time I waslk by her house at 730 Southard I tip my metaphorical hat to her.
When she died and the place was bought and restored the hope might have been for a people to live here and bring the place back to life. But this is 21st century Key West and the driving force is money not life.
The house has been meticulously restored they say and includes a big brash No Trespassing sign on the lawn, which in light of the fencing seems unnecessary and rather ugly. No matter the owners of the home aren't living here they are flipping it.
And  if you thought buying the Albury Mansion might be in your plans be ready for a hefty monthly nut.

"Impeccable style and grace..." Bloody hell, for sixteen mill I would hope  that's a given. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Key West Night

I haven't taken night pictures in a  while. 
In case you were wondering Key West at night is still lovely and a pleasure to walk.
The characteristics of Key West architecture are highlighted by the shadows and darkness surrounding them:

All I could think was a multi-tasking chimney sweep with hammer and surfboard:

DJ's Clam Shack. New England seafood in Key West. Weird but popular.
Willie T's overflow
Motorcycle gangs on Duval Street:
And their pedal powered equivalents:

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Rest Beach

They call it the nature preserve on the south shore of Key West. It's a rather grandiose title for a narrow strip of more or less sandy beach backed by mangroves.
There are two nature reserves off Atlantic Boulevard wedged between the condominiums that line the south shore between Higgs and Smathers beaches. 
The views across the Straits of Florida are what you might expect. When I was there last week the winds were honking and the sun was shining. Quite perfect.

He had a better time than I would have expected. He ran back and forth sniffed everything and as usual stayed away from the water's edge.
Rusty also made a friend. He doesn't get close to just anyone. Often he stays well clear if he gets a bad hit.
This guy was sifting through the shells on the beach looking for whatever he might find. He found a dog as it turned out.
Not everyone was alert. This guy ad an episode on the viewing platform then repaired to the sand and passed out. That's how we handle the hopeless insane street people across the fruited plain and on the beaches and parks of Key West.  
But the views are still quite pleasant taken from the right spot.
The boardwalk is how you know this is a Nature Preserve.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Cemetery Scenes

I can't get enough of the cemetery which is as  much for the living as the dead in this town. 
Walking in off White Street it's as though it as an extension of the world outside:
 In a country dedicated to the proposition that death is for other people the idea of enjoying a cemetery touches Americans the wrong way.
 For Conchs, forced by a high water table to bury their families above ground the cemetery is a place composed of memories.
 For historians it is the place where Key West, officially founded in 1828, is recorded, by birth and death.
 Some people complain the cemetery isn't kept up to their exacting standards, but these are the same people who complain about parking and speeding and noise and leaf blowers and trees (for trees or against trees as the mood takes them) and on and on. 
 Soon enough they will be silenced by the Grim Reaper and here they will be planted.
 The cemetery is a park, a place to rest and commune with the dead and their history.
 Tourists get trapped in here from time to time as the gates are locked at dark. 
 You can drive into the cemetery and ride a bicycle but motorcycles and scooters are banned thanks to persistent bad behavior. I rode my Vespa one last time in the cemetery the day before the ban came into effect probably 10 years  ago now. Unfortunately the cemetery can be a useful short cut and scooter riders were speeding on a mission to save time. A bit ironic in a cemetery.
 A canopy standing by for the next resident to arrive:

 Joseph Cullen Root originally founded the first group, Modern Woodmen of America (MWA), because he wanted to create a fraternal benefit society that would "bind in one association the Jew and the Gentile, the Catholic and the Protestant, the agnostic and the atheist."  While he succeeded with MWA being that type of organization, heated arguments resulted in Root and another man being evicted from the society.


Friday, March 30, 2018

Truman Waterfront Construction

I do miss the open spaces left by the Navy when they handed over 34 acres of former base to the city almost two decades ago. Tomorrow Important People will be open a child's park at Truman Waterfront in a symbolic re-opening of the entire space which is still largely a construction site. Change has finally come and a new park is sort of appearing from the debris and planning that is currently Truman Waterfront. As was:
As  is:
The  Navy warehouse was supposed to be saved but it was ruled too decrepit and swept away in the changes that are clearing Truman Waterfront and turning it into a neatly clipped park:
There are green spaces appearing between the broad avenues paved across the land:
One has to acknowledge it never was terribly trimmed  during the interregnum when no one had plans for the space. I enjoyed walking my dogs around here.
I shall be interested to see what this all ends up looking like by the time they are done. There are no plans to open up the waterfront to join the park to the Margaritaville property. The Hilton (and then Westin) owners made n move to bridge the gap to help create a waterfront walk all across town. Now Jimmy Buffett owns the place now but still no sign of change there.
I suppose it was too much to hope there might be some whimsy left in the old open space. I found this picture from a long while ago of Cheyenne walking near the old Navy guard huts at the entrance to the military property:
And the performance space has opened much to the irritation of residents. And yet neither the noise nor the traffic seems as bad as the critics suggested they might  be. Who knows maybe this new fangled park might work out.
Image result for truman waterfront amphitheater
I will miss the old unregulated open spaces but I am glad I enjoyed them while I could:
And the quirky illustrations of a way of life lost to Key West in the drive to be neat and clean and tidy: