Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Normalization of Key West

I like to show the changes a tourist like me notices since his or her last visit.  In my case, the changes in the 8 months since March 2012.  Here they are:

The biggest change is that Fast Buck Freddies closed in May.  
Fast Buck Freddies with a closed sign on the main front door.
Evan & Elle (740 Duval) has closed.  I don't think many people would be surprised at this, they sold high end branded goods and at very high prices.  Here's what remains today.

The dessert only restaurant, Better than Sex (now at 926 Simonton Street) has moved and been replaced already.  Here's the current incarnation on Angela Street:

Blue Heaven has changed and "improved" its male restroom - but now it's a one person cubical so there is a massive line outside.  Sorry, I know it's not important, but it's really annoying!

An art gallery on Duval has closed and become Little Room jazz bar.  It looks very nice inside, but they don't make it clear from the outside if there is any live jazz, or when it is.

Little blue dots of light on Duval Street from the Little Room jazz bar.
Tiny street off Duval Onlywood new restaurant seemed very popular last night.
American Apparel has gone (good!) replaced by Deja Vu.
Down on Applerouth Lane there is a new restaurant next to Leather Master.
On Fleming, there is a new antiques shop, Old Bones, with interesting nautical items.

The Normalisation of Key West continues

It's interesting to note a few things going on in Key West:
  • local, eccentric, weird shops (like Fast Buck Freddie's) are closing for good
  • they are being replaced by chain stores (I call this process the Normalization of Key West)
  • there is an awful lot of house construction and refurbishment going on in Key West.  Maybe it's this new money coming in, forcing real estate prices up in general that is resulting in small, local/old stores not being able to afford the rent and closing.
In any case, Normalisation is not good and Key West suffers as a result, in my eyes anyway.

Of course, on the bright side, KW is not all that normal as these crazy Key West pictures show.  There is certainly enough uniqueness here still.

Let's hope it stays that way.

If you have any views on this, or any of these changes, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.