Tampa 24: Finding Tampa at 2
Finding Tampa is two years old on July 5. When I started this, I didn’t really expect anyone to pay attention. I see the statistics from WordPress every week and I’m surprised, and thrilled, with how many people are viewing this blog. To observe my second anniversary, I searched back through my photographs from the past two years and found 24 photos that, for various reasons, did not make it into the blog, but still represent what I’ve observed in my short time living here.
1) There’s a train in the distance: Tampa is still on the wrong side of the tracks when it comes to transportation. Thankfully us train-lovers can get a minor fix during National Train Day every May. It’s a good excuse to tour one of Tampa’s architectural gems, Union Station.
2) Ybor Hookah: The most frequently searched image at Finding Tampa is the photo of the Ybor City hookah lounge I posted in July, 2010. I don’t know why. This is a different side of that location.
3) The genuine tea party: It pains me that fanatics have hijacked the phrase “tea party.” I’m allergic to coffee, so tea is my hot beverage of choice. I was very disappointed that Hooker Tea’s location in South Tampa didn’t work out. But Kaleisia Tea Lounge on Fletcher Avenue is always a good bet. Try one of their free monthly tea tastings. “Kaleisia” is a combination of “kaleidoscope” and “Asia.”
4) Feeling crabby: Maybe wildlife in coastal areas isn’t really more diverse than the landlocked state where I grew up. But it sure seems that way. It was a real treat to watch these colorful crabs at Cypress Point Park in Tampa’s Westshore area.
5) TECO Streetcar: I never see many people riding the TECO Streetcar that connects Ybor City and Channelside. Sure, it’s a little pricey, but still a fun way to ditch the car and get around.
6) Too hip for SoHo: Ybor City at night is always an interesting place for people-watching.
7) Food, movies and bowling: I haven’t spent much time at Channelside, but the views of the Bay are hard to beat and it’s close to the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Bay History Center.
8) Ballast Point Park: Originally called Jules Verne Park because Verne chose “Tampa Town” in Florida as the rocket launching point in his book “From the Earth to the Moon,” Ballast Point Park is one of Tampa’s southernmost attractions and close to the south end of Bayshore Boulevard.
9) Where the names are holy: The neighborhood of West Tampa is a treasure trove of vintage architecture, including the Academy of the Holy Names. The marker reads: “On September 14, 1896, Sisters of the Holy Names established the Academy of the Holy Names by order of Bishop John Moore. Sisters Mary Emiline and Mary Hubert were the first teachers in this brick school. On Nov. 29, 1896, Friar William Tyrrell, S.J., offered the first Catholic mass in West Tampa in the second floor chapel. It is here that the history of St. Joseph Parish begins. In 1930, when the Academy was moved to Bayshore, the Salesian Sisters took charge of the school renaming it St. Joseph School. In 1955, the school moved to Cherry and MacDill.”
10) Tampa Harness and Wagon Company: I haven’t found much about this business on Franklin Street in downtown, just a short blurb in a Tampa Bay Times article and a vintage photograph of the business courtesy of USF. Apparently there was a plan to renovate the building into a nightclub but it didn’t work out.
11) We survived Plattagedon: I’m glad I took photographs of the Platt Street Bridge before it was closed for a lengthy repair. The bridge is open again and looks spiffy, but a lot of the graffiti is gone. Gear up for more traffic problems, though, as the bridge will apparently be closed when the heathens come to town.
12. The Pause that Refreshes: You’re still not enjoying sunrise strolls along Bayshore Boulevard? Set your alarm early one morning and try it. I promise it will be time well spent.
Next time, the second half of the Tampa 24.