Saturday, January 19, 2019

Former digs

Whenever we visit Paulita's parents in central Florida we make a side trip to St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast.

We see friends and former colleagues from the now-deceased Tampa Tribune.
We were all thrown together in the mid-1980s as soldiers in a newspaper war with the Tampa Bay Times, then flying under the banner St. Petersburg Times.

It's where I had an apartment in the city's Old Northeast. I love walking the neighborhood of tree-shaded brick streets, 1920s arts-and-craft homes and traditional Florida houses with breezeways and open porches.

My former apartment is at the lower right.
Those were the days of drinks atop the St. Pete Pier's inverted pyramid and watching the St. Louis Cardinals spring training games at Al Lang Stadium (now home to the Rowdies soccer team). I became a Cards fan after six years as a reporter in the St. Louis market during the days of
Ozzie Smith and Whitey Herzog.

The now-demolished St. Pete Pier pyramid.
To my former Trib editor Bill Prescott: Bill, there were a few times when I told you I was headed to the courthouse to check filings when I instead caught a ball game. Mea culpa.

The still-standing Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach
The Old Northeast has changed, and I think for the better. More homes have been renovated and the city's strip along Tampa Bay and downtown have a lot of good dining and entertainment options.

And a quick trip across the peninsula ends in St. Pete Beach with more good restaurants, warm gulf waters and the Pepto-Bismol-painted Don Cesar hotel.

Me and former Trib colleague Tom.

Unfortunately, Old Northeast prices have ballooned beyond the means of a retired newspaper reporter. So Paulita and I will be flying back on Sunday to spend another year in southwest France.

Not a bad consolation prize.

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