Dishing with Mark and Carrie

Dishing with Mark and Carrie

Dish_NOTW-2948Nephew of the Week: Daniel Fry

Originally from St. Petersburg, Daniel now calls Tampa his home. On party nights he can be found in GaYBOR with his good friend Alexis Mae! Cheers!

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Square Plaza Apartments

The date was February 3, 1980. The U-Haul truck was all packed and we were heading to Florida. Excited, we were looking for a apartment close to USF and the VA Hospital in Tampa. Our first stop was at a nice complex in the USF area in North Tampa.  We walked in and asked if there were any one-bedrooms available or two-bedrooms.

The leasing agent said to us, “WE DO NOT RENT TO HOMOSEXUALS!” We both looked surprised and said, “Who said anything about us being gay?”  She replied, “Only HOMOSEXUALS would ask for a one bedroom.”

Welcome to Tampa, LOL.  Our next stop was at Square Plaza on 30th Street next to the VA Hospital.

We asked again, “Do you have any one or two-bedrooms?” She said the one-bedrooms were all gone. She did have a nice two-bedroom on the ground floor. We both said YES! Then the leasing agent asked us, “With no jobs and all your belongings in a truck, why should I rent to you?”

We smiled and said, “How about we pay the first six months in advance?” She smiled and said, “I’m Brenda. When do you want to move in?”

In that first apartment we had many firsts, including our first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, new jobs, our education, and we made many new friends and memories there.

Now fast forward to November 2014. We were going to the VA Hospital to get flu shots when we noticed next door…the VA Hospital had purchased the apartment complex and were starting to tear it down.

WOW, have things changed since that time, and WOW, have some things not changed!  Just this week in 2014, some friends of ours were turned down for an apartment for being gay. The reason is still the same. Only the excuses and terminology have changed.

December Will Be a Busy Month!

A busy month is planned for the GaYBOR District Coalition. The eighth annual Ybor City Holiday Storefront Contest will be judged by people from the Ybor Merchants Association, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce and the GaYBOR District. There will be four different judging classifications and big prizes with bragging rights for the year. Judging is the first week of December. So dress up the storefronts and houses and hang the garland. Categories are retail, clubs/bars, offices, and Ybor residences.

The huge GaYBOR District annual Holiday Storefront Party is Friday, December 12th. It is being graciously held at the Honey Pot’s third level. The party starts at 7 p.m. Everybody is welcome. There will be great food, amazing entertainment and holiday beverages!

Dish-2948_copyOld Becomes New in Tampa

Times are a-changing from just a few years ago. In Ybor City, 44 properties were sold in June alone to an investment group that purchased well-adorned boutique Don Vicente Historical Inn, the Blue Ship Building, the old Frankie’s Patio, and the historic Olivia Cigar Factory, among large property purchases. Many vacant lots and city properties are also in the investors’ coffers.

Yes, change is coming to the Historical Landmark District. New apartments are being planned on the drawing boards, new renovations are coming to existing structures, and a couple of announced hotels are all going to add to the historic existence of Ybor City.

Yes, we all love the old culture and aspects but it’s especially true when that culture turns our quaint historic district into a well-polished sparkling gem. More major changes are soon to be announced in Ybor City, but in the meantime, take a look and take in all the sights of Ybor City while gigantic changes are underway in the Channelside District.