Tampa 24: Finding Tampa at 2 – Part 2
The past two years have allowed me a good introduction to the city of Tampa. Despite the city’s shortcomings, I’ve come to feel a sense of pride living here, and have enjoyed sharing Tampa’s many visual features. As I wrote earlier in the week, I’m approaching the final post for Finding Tampa. When I started this blog, I didn’t realize it would give me such a sense of purpose during a time of transition. Now, here are 12 more photos that represent Tampa’s diversity but, for various reasons, did not make it into the blog originally.
1) Friendship Trail: In February, 2011, I posted a series of photos of the Gandy Bridge connecting Tampa with St. Petersburg, including a mention of the abandoned Friendship Trail Bridge. At this time,there is still a movement to save the Friendship Trail, despite the plans of officials on both sides of the bridge to use taxpayer money to destroy it.
2) Free t-shirts: No, free t-shirts aren’t the best reason to donate blood, but whatever works. Who will you depend on if you need blood in an emergency? Donate today and encourage your friends to do the same. Be nice to me, because my blood type is O-, making me a universal donor. This is my feet in a Florida Blood Services (now OneBlood) bloodmobile.
3) Ybor Bunker: An excellent cafe in Ybor City, apparently the full name is Tre Amici @ The Bunker. I was interested to learn the building was originally constructed to serve as a cafe in 1926. Regular events include local TedX talks.
4) Downtown is still not dead: Pretty much since the day I moved here, I disagreed with the conventional wisdom that downtown Tampa was dead. It’s only this year that conventional wisdom seems to have caught up with me – downtown is very much alive. While I’m not generally a fan of chains, Pizza Fusion is one of the businesses that has helped turn around popular opinion. I found it a little pricey but delicious.
5) Purebreds are for snobs: I have a soft spot for all the strays of the world and I’ve done volunteer fostering for several Bay Area dog rescue groups. Dog breeding is an evil business – if you’re looking for a pet, it’s hard to do better than Hillsborough County Animal Services. This is a shot of their Petmobile at an event in Ybor City.
6) Lovely, yes, but where’s Santa?: From a holiday event in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park last December. I don’t know how they relate to a holiday, but I’m not one to complain about cheerleaders. I couldn’t help but gloat a bit when I saw a recent TBO.com article with the headline: Hixon Park Emerges as Tampa Jewel. That’s news? I’ve been photographing Curtis Hixon for this blog since the beginning.
7) Wild kingdom: There are several types of spiders that resemble black widows, and that’s what I hoped this was when I found it in my apartment last year.
8) A river of dreams: The Hillsborough River has been a vital part of Tampa’s commerce over the years. It is also a fun place to stroll along or boat in. Kayakers are a common sight and it’s a physically fit way to take in some downtown views.
9) Holding on for some heroes: I have seen the Tampa Fire Department in action twice, once in response to a house engulfed in flames, and later, pictured here, responding to a suspected gas leak in a restaurant in Hyde Park Village. I was dazzled by how quickly and efficiently they operated. If you’re ever trapped in a burning building, there are men and women with the courage to come in and save you. Think about that for a while.
10) Remember when we Occupied?: It was a real failure on the part of city leaders when they harassed peaceful demonstrators and forced Occupy Tampa out of downtown. I was there – they weren’t hurting anyone.
11) Looking up: Tampa doesn’t have a lot of buildings we can look up to, but the Floridan Hotel is one of them. As far as I know the renovation is still in progress – however, you can already get married there. Still one of my favorite Tampa buildings.
12) We can all be #1 together: Athletes from around the world gathered in Curtis Hixon last August for the opening ceremonies of the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships. That was, and remains, my favorite Tampa experience. For one amazing evening, Tampa became the world-class city it was always meant to be.