Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Key West Community vs Mainland Mentality "One Human Family" ... plus, Traffic Headaches
^ Listen to the benefit as you read the blog! Recorded by Gary Ek via the streaming video^
Key West Community vs Mainland Mentality “ONE HUMAN FAMILY”
Talk about a great community! Two newcomers to the island jumped two employees of the Green Parrot at closing time. Knocked Adam “Dude” out cold and Tim “Mookie” Grandy’s ankle was actually crushed to the point that he has two plates in it and his leg has 17 screws on one side and five on the other. The town is outraged. This is something we’d expect to hear of from the mainland. A common phrase we hear on the island is “This is not the real world” and when the real world came crashing into our island, the community all bonded together for a HUGE fundraiser for our fellow Conch Republic citizens at the Green Parrot last Saturday. My guess is that there had to be at least 1000 supporters over the afternoon benefit. Both Dude and Tim were able to attend the event as well. Performers The Muse Gurus, Caffeine Carl and Nick Norman, Key West Chris (thanks Edwy and John!), Ericson Holt, Robert Albury, Richard Crooks, Tim McAlpine, and Fritz handling guitar duties as well as sound. Tom Luna was the MC for the event and had everyone in stitches and kept the ball rolling throughout the event. Auctions were held throughout the event, as well as three 50/50 drawings. One note on the 50/50 drawings: Each of the three drawings would award the winner roughly $500, with the other $500 going to the cause. Every winner of the three rounds tossed their winnings back into the cause!
In addition to the Green Parrot, bars across the island also were giving their bar tips to the cause during the event at the Parrot, which I find just amazing! Additionally, bartenders from other bars were helping out at The Parrot outside in front on the sidewalk selling beer. I saw Vicky from Schooner working her tail off. Also, prior to this event being held, bars such as 2 Cents, did likewise for special fund raising events of their own.
Key West all came together in support of their own and to support the values we collectively stand for, as well as our own island way of life.
“ONE HUMAN FAMILY”
Note: Center picture in the collage of Tim (in wheelchair) and Dude is by Johnny White and http://www.milezerokeywest.com/
Key West has revised its speed limit over the entire island to 20 MPH. In my viewpoint, this makes sense. It’s safer and with so many pedestrians and bicyclists around, it’s really the only way to go. Besides, if you’re in Key West, what’s the point? There’s no rush, you’re on “Island Time”.
The Florida Keys are always rated as one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Over one hundred miles, island hopping on a highway that spans the Florida Keys , with the Atlantic Ocean on your left and the Gulf of Mexico on your right, as you travel south. This is a great way to see the Keys and I highly recommend it to anyone who is headed this way. Even more than that, I suggest if you’re coming to Key West this way, to take a couple of overnight stops and experience what Keys Tranquility really is, After all, Key West to us is actually “The Big City”.
Once you get to Key West and check in, the absolute smartest thing is to ditch your car and don’t dream of using it until you plan on leaving the island. Parking is a pain in the ass. If you park in a residential spot, just count on being towed. If in desperation you find a parking spot on the other side of the street and park against traffic, you WILL get a ticket. Parking in a pay parking lot is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!!! Park your car in the hotel parking and forget about it! Please do yourself this favor. You come to Key West to relax, so like the song goes “You came here to unwind, so why get all wound up?" So, get a bicycle, or walk. Forget the scooters. The hospital is full of people who never rode a scooter, or do so infrequently and end up with a bad case of road rash, or broken bones… sometime making the ultimate sacrifice in the quest of the next bar.
Speaking of a related subject (and yet another reason to ditch the car), the State of Florida has embarked on completely revising N. Roosevelt Blvd/Truman Ave. from White Street to the beginning of the island, just off the Cow Key Bridge from Stock Island. Regretfully, instead of repaving, which would have taken several weeks, City Hall voted that an entire make over was due. So, instead of a three to five week inconvenience, we’re looking at a two and a half year major project that will severely disrupt traffic all over the island. I had been saying this for more than a year, as it will affect businesses throughout the island, regardless of their proximity to the construction area. Traffic right now is complete chaos, with detours and long traffic jams everywhere.
Back when the Conch Republic seceded from the U.S. it was because there was a road block at the Last Chance Saloon, in Florida City, at the end of the eighteen mile stretch, hence, the northern most boarder of the Conch Republic is The Last Chance Saloon. The U.S. government was searching all vehicles for “Illegal Aliens”, looking in trunks, back seats, under seats, and glove boxes. This, of course resulted in miles and miles of long delays. Naturally, there were no delays whatsoever heading into the Keys. Make that of which you may, as that’s another story unto itself, however at the time the Florida Keys earned the motto “The Florida Keys: You can get in, but you can’t get out”. Tourism plummeted.. and for those who might not know, Tourism is the #1 business in Key West.
So today we have history not only repeating itself, albeit in a different guise, but also actually augmenting itself, as not only can one not get out, but additionally, one cannot get in either! Good morning! Personally, I feel that repaving and patching the sea wall where needed and that would have been acceptable. However, for this complete makeover is just a folly. The inconvenience factor will be paid by the tourists, citizens, and businesses. “Key West: The City You Can’t Get In Or Out Of”.