Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Neighborhoods

All Key West is divided in two parts, one of which is called Old Town and the other New Town.

Julius Caesar, in the first lines of his Commentaries on the Gallic War, sets the stage for all subsequent historic discussion of Gaul in the 1st century BC: "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, the third, those who in their own language are called Celts, and in ours, Gauls. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these people the bravest are the Belgae. They are the furthest away from the culture and civilized ways of the Roman Province, and are least often visited by the merchants who bring luxuries which tend to make people soft; also they are nearest to the Germans across the Rhine and are continually at war with them."

Old Town is the tourist part. It's where Duval Street is, and most of the bars and restaurants, the guest houses, the condominium resorts, Bahama Village, and the cruise ship piers.

New Town is the commercial part and where the majority of full-time residents live. Here is where we shop at supermarkets (3) and department stores (1?), get our cars fixed, got to the movies, and the like. There are some tourist businesses in New Town, primarily hotels and chain restaurants.

There's a small piece of Key West across the Cow Key Channel bridge, over on Stock Island. It's where the hospital, the Monroe County jail, and Florida Keys Community College are. It's also where Mount Trashmore is, the old incinerator and current transfer station for our refuse.

There has been renewed talk over the last year of annexation of Stock Island to Key West although, as far as I know, no official moves are underway to make that happen. It's certain to become a knock-down, drag-out if and when a move is made.

All Old Town and all New Town are further divided in several parts, the neighborhoods. Over time, I want to try to describe those neighborhoods, as Caesar described the Belgae, the Aquitani, and the Celts or Gauls.

Stand by.

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