Saturday, February 26, 2005

This Week on the Island 10/04/2003

'This week on the Island' is written by Doug Bennett and is an update to friends about happenings in Key West last week. Everything is true except for those parts that are lies.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It is kind of slow on the island so why don't you take a walk with me.When Wyleigh dog gets me up each morning, she and I and Nevada go for a SHORT walk. Out the door, down Elizabeth Street past the VFW, past the Key Lime Pie business, over to Conch Republic Seafood. Then we go up Lazy Lane past Buffet's Recording Studio, past Schooner Wharf Bar, past the Wyland Wall, and toward Turtle Kraal's. The we go out to Caroline Street and past Flagler's Railroad Museum, past Harpoon Harry's, past Pepe's Restaurant and then back home. I read the paper and check the internet as I drink coffee. Then Wyleigh and I go for a LONG walk. Down Caroline Street 2 blocks to Duval, right on Duval and past the Bull and on toward Sloppy Joe's. Then we take a right on Green Street and past Captain Tony's and on toward Mel Fishers and the cruise ship's. We walk to the port past the Hilton and over to Mallory Square and then to the Aquarium area so Wyleigh can play in the fountain. We leave there and go by Hog's Breath and on up Front Street past Two Friends Restaurant and up to A&B Lobster House. Then we circle the Bight, go past Conch Republic and head back home. It is now about 9:00 AM. Next I do some work around the house and then either go for a long bike ride or go kayaking. In the evening I take Wyleigh for another long walk, and later at night I take Wyleigh and Nevada for another short walk.

This is the slow time of the year and there is very little happening on the island, so let's talk about what is happening.

We are getting about 7 to 10 cruise ships a week and each ship dumps about 2,500 people in Key West. So that is about 25,000 visitors a week, and this is the slow season.

There is always construction going on in Key West. Eckerd's has taken over the old Quay Restaurant on the 1st block of Duval and Walgreen's has taken over the old Movie theater on the 600 block of Duval. Of course Wendy's just moved into the 300 block of Duval. The Key West Bight is getting ready to open the new ferry terminal on the corner of Grinnell and Caroline and the old Plantains Restaurant in that area will be renovated into a new restaurant.

Across from my house and next to the Schooner Wharf Bar a new hotel will be built next year. The lower end of Simonton has been blocked for months as the city puts in a pumping station to try to help with the flooding that occurs in that area of Simonton and Front Streets. The Old Coca Cola Bottling Company on that corner is also getting new tenants and lots of remodeling. The Key West Kite Company on Green Street has moved to the house behind the Audubon House and their old place is being remodeled. Crabby Bill's on Green Street across from Sloppy Joe's has leased half of it's area to Duncan Donuts and they are remodeling that building. The Aloe factory on the corner of Simonton and Green has been completely gutted and is being rebuilt. The building next to BankofAmerica on Southard Street was torn-down and a strip mall is being built. All of this is within about 1/2 mile from my house.

This week I read 3 short books: (1) 'Old Town Key West' by L.P. Artman, (2) 'Postcards from Paradise' by June Keith, and (3) 'The Conch that Roared' by Gregory King. I enjoyed all three but would recommend #3 to anyone that wants to know about Key West's secession from the union in April 1982.

So, I am getting my exercise, the town is really busy even if it is the slow season, there is a lot of construction going on, and I am keeping my mind busy..
I first met Robert while walking the dogs very early one morning. I couldn't help but notice a heavy set black man in his late 30's riding a bicycle down Caroline Street and singing with a deep voice that could be heard in Miami. Robert sings in a band and likes old rock and roll and blues. He is really good. I always enjoy his booming voice and the way he loves his music.

Doug Bennett
Key West, You have got to love it.