Thursday, March 12, 2015

2014 changes in Key West

Key West 2014
What in Key West changed for the better and what changed for the worse in 2014? Here is my annual review of Key West changes - a personal selection. If you want a comprehensive list then read the Citizen! I do this every year and you can see links to previous years' reviews at the end of this post.

The two anncouncements offering the most impact were not new or surprising and had been brewing for years:

US to normalise relations with Cuba - 90 miles from Key West
Cuba came whole lot closer to Key West in December when President Obama announced more normal relations with Cuba, including relaxing travel barriers for vacations to Cuba. Subsequently, Cuba was named the #2 top destination in the New York Times's 2015 list.

This has potential for profound impact on the closest US real estate to Cuba (e.g. Key West) and could well mean a lucrative tourist route starting between the two. Day trip to Havana, anyone?

The alternative prediction for Key West is a reduction in cruise ship traffic because they choose to stop off / divert to new, interesting, different Cuba rather than good ol' Key West (which regrettably is looking more indistinguishable from all Caribbean / sunny destinations with each passing year).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 changes Key West

It was all change in Key West in 2015. The biggest story of 2015 (officially, according to a Florida wide poll) was Florida gay weddings - the very first of which were conducted right here in Key West. Just after midnight on January 7 2015 (as soon as it had become legal in Florida) on the steps of the county courthouse in Key West. Watched by a good sized crowd who wanted to be part of history being made.

Keeping with gay, later in the year on 29 May 2015 a "gay" (i.e. rainbow) crosswalk was installed (painted on the road) in the gay block (Petronia Street) of Duval Street. I think this is a most excellent idea and as I believe they are permanent, I look forward to seeing them when I visit later in the year. They gained lots of international media coverage.

Now to the major themes running throughout the whole of 2015 in Key West. According to my radar, in order of strength of signal, I would say they were:

1. Key West is going to the dogs. Typified by talk like: "Woe is me, Key West is getting busier, very noticeably this year, especially with all the tour buses arriving for the day. Key West isn't what it was, the homeless have taken over..." etc etc
2.  Tree commission is out of control and literally killing Key West's natural heritage
3. More new building development hits Key West. In particular inappropriate construction approved in Old Town.