Nashville: Music, Grand Ole Opry
Atlanta: Capital of the New South, "Hot"lanta, Underground Atlanta
New Orleans: Music, Food, French Quarter
Miami: South Beach, Little Havana
Ok. Now. When I say 'Jacksonville'.. what comes to mind if you havent lived there?
Right. Anything else?
No? Thats pretty much everyone, including myself - when I had to find it on a map when I came first came down to visit my sister.
Now that Ive lived here, I wish more people knew at least where it is.
Jacksonville, Florida.. pronounced Jack-SOHN-ville by longtime natives, by land area, the largest city in the lower 48 states (Sitka, Alaska is the largest city in the US geographically), 16th in US population with almost a million people.. more than the city of Miami. Its the most populous city in the state of Florida.
There are very good reasons this area has its own NFL football team.
In the spirit of revisiting memories, I went looking for another residence of mine - when I lived in the San Marco area near downtown Jacksonville, across the the St Johns River from the Riverside area where I previously lived.
I drove up to Nira Street and looked for # 628.
Hmm. Wait.. there is the Sapphic Counseling Center at the corner (yes, really) and the Apple Jax Bar and BBQ, but... not 40's-style 4-flat building that was oh-so familiar to me. Nor the rest of the pre-war buildings that were all on my block of Nira Street.
My first apartment in Jacksonville. My first flea-infested furniture. Where I lived as the returning Gulf War planes thundered over downtown. The huge palms in the backyard. All gone.
Nope, all there was was this:
Oh yeah, and that stretch of Nira is now called 'Childrens Road".
I knew the local childrens hospital had planeed to expand, but whoa.
I drove around a few times, but the surety of what happened hit me.
All I have are the colors of my memories living in San Marco.
Random images of Jacksonville familiar to those who have lived in Jax in the past 10 years or so.
Jacksonville being a river city, its also a city of bridges.
You kinda know the bridges by its colors (except for the newer ones which are all concrete).
The blue is the Main Street Bridge
Its a concrete overpass now, only technically being a bridge because it spans a body of water - its still called the Acosta bridge - but I remember the Acosta as a yellow drawbridge before they dynamited it.
They are still working on it 6 years later.
The St Johns River.
One very large and long mutha, spanning miles across its width.
It flows north. The only river in the country to do this.
Most Jax folk know the old Maxwell House plant downtown.
Even if you dont drink coffee, the smell of this plant roasting coffee beans will make you an addict.
Where the Jack-SOHN-ville Jag-WHARS (not Jag-WIRES, as most folk incorrectly assume by South Georgian, Northern Floridian Southern drawl around them) play, AllTel Stadium, formerly the Gator Bowl.. where the Georgia-Florida game is still played every dagummed year.
Man, people still remember the SCORES of every Florida-Georgia game played.
Yep. Thas old Andrew Jackson, who the town is named for...
The livin aint easy in Jax... but most folk stay here.
For reasons like this..
No, the livin is far from ez in Jax, but its not bad either.