Photo Gallery: What does Key West look like without its tourists?

Wednesday night after supper, Ed walked to downtown Key West. Though we live less than a mile from the wild and wonderful tourist destinations, our home is in The Meadows, one of Key West’s quietest neighborhoods, filled with long-time, permanent residents.

He was curious. How would the mandatory tourist evacuation in place on Wednesday, followed tomorrow with the mandatory resident

evacuation, affect Duval Street and Old Town? Seemed to make sense to go look. With the bikes chained up as part of the storm prep for Hurricane Irma and the car packed for a possible evacuation on Thursday or Friday, he walked.

For every local who’s dreamed of a Key West without tourists, for every swear word we’ve uttered when the cruise ships disgorge their thousands, there’s little doubt downtown is a different, even ghostly, place when a hurricane vanishes the people.

Still, one thing remains. Key West is a beautiful city. And tonight’s full moon shining in clear skies through the palms is joy-making. Godspeed our beautiful island and its people.

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