Seeing Ybor City

 photo 97916c28-a9fc-4cdf-8060-95e3126271bb.jpg While visiting my husband in Florida last week I took an afternoon trip to Tampa's historic neighborhood of Ybor City (pronounced E-bor). It was a true melting pot of the vibrant Cuban, Spanish, Italian and Eastern-European cultures. There were so many colors, aged textures, patterned tiles and a lot of wrought iron. Ya gotta be touristy in your own country every once-in-awhile, and I felt like the quintessential American tourist with my sneakers, backpack, sunglasses and camera.  photo IMG_0360.jpg ⬆ Can't cage these bad ass street chickens.  photo IMG_0354.jpg  photo IMG_0358.jpg ➡ Here is how Ybor City originated, according to Wikipedia:
Ybor City was founded as an independent town in 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers led by Vicente Martinez-Ybor. The original population was mostly composed of Cuban and Spanish immigrants who worked in the cigar factories. Italian and Eastern-European Jewish immigrants following shortly thereafter, predominantly founding retail shops, farms and grocery stores, and other businesses which catered to the cigar industry. The city was annexed by, and became part of, Tampa in 1887.  photo IMG_0345.jpg  photo IMG_0352.jpg ⬆ The colors and pattern of the tile floor of La Creperia CafĂ© really struck me. Wouldn't this be a beautiful fabric pattern?  photo IMG_0349.jpg  photo IMG_0362.jpg ⬆Do I really have to say it? ⬇I'm adding this to my "inspirational color pallet" file!  photo IMG_0348.jpg  photo IMG_0359.jpg
Ybor's familiar revitalization story reminds me of the neighbor hood where I live, Plaza Midwood. The timeline isn't exactly the same, but the events are.  photo IMG_0351.jpg
Ybor saw late 19th and early 20th century prosperity, followed by a steep decline after the Great Depression. Years of decay and crime in the 50s/60s and failed Urban Renewal initiatives by the city in the 70s left a shell of a town with dirt cheap property values. After re-inhabitation by artists in the 80s/90s there was economic recovery and growth by the early 2000s and soon a vibrant restaurant & nightlife presence arose. Pair that with mid-income habitation by a young & hip crowd, and finally you have an area attractive to high income housing developers and inevitable gentrification by wealthy residents of all ages.  photo IMG_0353.jpg
The bad thing is that if you get just a few blocks off of Ybor's trendy 7th street, there are people living in poverty. I clearly saw this on my drive into Ybor and my walk around. The new economic growth has left many of the long-time residents out (either pushed them out or just forgot them), which is true where I live also.  photo IMG_0355.jpg Moving on to lighter subjects...  photo IMG_0366.jpg ⬆My husband and his co-worker cutting up.  photo IMG_0350.jpg
⬆⬇Some parts are obviously newer but are still interesting.  photo caae3c7c-e9db-4eea-9fe5-c516cdf224ed.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment