Friday, April 1, 2016


A” is for Avenue and not the Madison kind. That kind denotes swankiness, and at the very least, some kind of thought or regard, or tip-of-the-hat to say, “John Madison” and this is not the same at all. This is regarding Nebraska Avenue, running right spang along the eastern side I-275 and parallel to Florida Avenue, which is on the western side of I-275, which runs north-south, in Tampa Florida, of all places. The only tip-of-the-hat to ANYTHING is the name of 21st Avenue, which beyond all reason is named “Floribraska” Avenue. Why? 'Cause Nebraska Avenue. That's the ONLY answer that makes any sense around here.

Camp Nebraska is still open for business and is a local place for people to camp and visit nearby attractions, like Busch Gardens, our beautiful beaches and Disney World. I couldn't find any information on the history, but it's still open and running. It's probably one of the oldest businesses along Nebraska Avenue. 

Well, not really. Some settlers in the 1870s from Nebraska settled along this route, which has historically been the way most people have traveled to get from the frozen tundra of the north to, well here. I, myself traveled I-75 from Michigan to Florida, which becomes I-275 and runs concurrent with business 41, which is, you guessed it, Nebraska Avenue. Further south, it becomes the Tamiami Trail, which wends its way along the byways of Sarasota, Venice and Ft. Myers, Florida. From there, you have the option of taking Alligator Alley due east across the state to West Palm Beach, or just continuing south-southeast past Naples, all the way across the bottom of the state to Coral Gables.

A murder investigation on Nebraska Avenue. These are actually atypical. Most crime involves burglar, petit theft and assault and battery. I have had friends shot though, mainly because they were in places they had no business being. There is a "small town" quality to Nebraska Ave. and several networks of communication between various groups, so that we know where we should or shouldn't be. Of course, there are those, who are out looking to make a buck, either with selling drugs, or themselves. They're a surprisingly wily and healthy lot.

But, Nebraska Avenue is different because it has had the reputation as a hard-living area. The merchants who did settle here, named their businesses after their old home state, and attempts to change the name of the Avenue have been met with stiff opposition, my voice among them. “Nebraska Tires” would seem odd on “Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Avenue”. The idea of a name-change created a firestorm for other reasons as well. Ole Pedro was a 16th century governor in St. Augustine, Florida. Pedro was responsible for the genocide of French Protestants, so, even though the words “Nebraska Avenue” may connote drug use and 'hos, we aren't quite up to practicing genocide here. Yet.

Not to mention the fact that it would cost thousands of dollars to change ALL of the street signs from “Nebraska Ave.” to “Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Ave.”, so nothing has been heard about this little name change since 2013. On top of that, we'd have to change the conundrum of “Floribraska Ave.” to “Floridro Menéndez de Avilés Ave.”? Not that “Floribraska Ave.” is any prize and I'm really perplexed at the decision to name what is really 21st Avenue to “Floribraska Ave.” just because it intersects “Florida Ave.” on one side of I-275 and “Nebraska Ave.” on this, the eastern side of I-275.

The first time I saw "Floribraska Ave." on the street sign, I thought it was some kind of mistake. Why on earth anyone thought 21st Ave. needed to be named "Floribraska Ave." just because it was connected to both "Florida" and "Nebraska" Aves. is really beyond any logical comprehension or conclusion I can reach. There are no other streets in Tampa named thusly. Someone in Civil Engineering must have gone on a drunken tear one Friday afternoon, before the naming of street names became something the City Council got it's weasel claws into. 

Just think if settlers from other states had claimed the rights to “Nebraska Ave.”, like say Kansas. “Florisas Ave.” sounds like Sasparilla, or Sarsparilla; something you might sip on of a lazy afternoon, when the bullets have died down. But, I think everyone around here drinks brake fluid, so that's just a southern conceit of mine. Or, say, Texas. “Florixas Ave.” would most likely have people thinking it's Christmas all the time. The combinations are endless and like the “Blips” would undoubtedly sprout its own unique culture, that is already somewhat slightly worse than Cass Corridor in Detroit, but not as deadly as south Bawlmer as depicted in “The Wire”.

This picture was the lead-in to an article "How to Confuse a Hooker" and it was regarding the name change of "Nebraska Ave." to “Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Avenue”. I highly doubt this would work. What mostly happens, is the police chase all the hookers north for a while, and prostitution dies down for a while on South Nebraska. Then, some irate businesses get on the police up on north Nebraska, and the cops go harass the hookers up there for a while. Then, the hookers all run down here, to the southern part of Nebraska. This has been going on for years.

When I lived in the homeless shelter, I spent several evenings being highly entertained by the TPD, as they ran a “sting” near our shelter. We were all sitting on the front porch, the best place to view all the action that goes on at night, right there on the Avenue. At first, we could not figure out, why these two dewds in a huge, lemon of a black Lincoln Continental were backing into our driveway and then pulling out. They did this several times. Me, being about the least street-savvy person (or giving the best impression of one) was yukking it up about what a couple of dim-bulbs these two idiots were. Were they lost?

I lived in the green house next to the white house, when I was homeless. The white house was a notorious whore house way back in the days of Teddy Roosevelt and up into the 30s and 40s, I believe. It is a historical monument, and is part of V. M. Ybor, which is part of Ybor City, famous for its hand-rolled cigars. Now, the white house is respectable, and I can see it from where I live; my "pretend-adopted son" Alex lives there. We're each other's family.

When I lived in the homeless shelter, I spent several evenings being highly entertained by the TPD, as they ran a “sting” near our shelter. We were all sitting on the front porch, the best place to view all the action that goes on at night, right there on the Avenue. At first, we could not figure out, why these two dewds in a huge, lemon of a black Lincoln Continental were backing into our driveway and then pulling out. They did this several times. Me, being about the least street-savvy person (or giving the best impression of one) was yukking it up about what a couple of dim-bulbs these two idiots were. Were they lost?

Across the street, this woman, dressed as if she were about to head into the office and take a meeting was strolling back and forth between the “La Ideal Market” and the Laundromat. No one stopped to talk to her. She strolled back and forth; back and forth, while the dewds backed into our driveway, pulled out, went around the block and repeated the backing into the driveway and, so forth. What we were seeing was the world's most incompetent sting, I believe. I think they picked up one guy, and then they all left. But seriously, TPD, if you're gonna run a hooker “sting”, you need to make your bait look like a hooker, not a CEO. So, that was a fun two hours.

A little while later, 4 guys came up to us, carrying a 40-foot ladder, that they had probably just stolen. They wanted to know if we wanted to buy the ladder for 40 dollars. We all looked at one another. Did we look like we needed a ladder at 11 p.m.? I didn't think so. We sent them on their way. This is as bad as the time my shelter friend Holly's boyfriend asked her if she had a hacksaw in her purse. His name was Ray-Ray; a miscreant's name if ever. More about them, later. Nebraska Avenue is where reality has gone completely out the window and you never know what's around the corner.

Nebraska Avenue today. This is a mixed-zoning area, which makes it impossible to try and police. Businesses sit cheek-by-jowl with residences and empty lots. The opportunity is here to make lots and lots of money; both legally and illegally. Because it is a "main drag" police have nabbed such luminaries here as Daryl Strawberry, the baseball player and many politicians and other athletes, looking to score drugs and/or hookers. I'm pretty sure you can get anything here, including heavy and illegal military weaponry. 

I'll talk a bit more about that and our own “opportunity zones”, regarding the hookers, that were also a part of that show, later on in the Challenge, But, for now, just revel in the naming of streets and how they do or do not come about, here. 'Cause Nebraska Avenue!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Floribraska Ave - now that's funny.
It would cost way too much to change all of the names now. There are better things the city needs to spend money on.

ViolaFury said...


Thanks for stopping by. Floribraska Ave. is priceless to me and so flummoxed one individual in our homeless shelter who was trying to give directions to a friend, that someone in the kitchen just shouted out "21st Avenue, you nitwit!" to the offender on the front porch after his 56th attempt at saying "Floribraska". This is a rich and varied area for many reasons. It's largely Cuban and Puerto Rican, and there are also many African-Americans who live here in Progress Village. But the businesses are run by mane people who are of German stock and they, too live hard. The VFW has two chapters that fill up on Friday and Saturday nights and they run their Harleys up and down the Avenue.

I'll have more about the denizens and some of the craziness; someone has even dropped a grand piano in the middle of the street! Again, thanks for stopping by, and I don't think we'll be seeing any name changes soon! <3 Mary

Andrea said...

Floribaska!!!!!! You have such tales to tell, so thank you for sharing and Happy a-z!

ViolaFury said...


Thanks for stopping by! If they EVER try to change "Floribraska" (which the City Council won't after the barrage of raspberries and incoherent gibbering they endured over wanting to change "Nebraska" to "Pedro the Genocidal Maniac" or whatever) they would have SUCH a problem from ME alone, they would quickly abandon all hope and flee the ship! More on City Council affairs later. It's just sooo cheesy and great, but at the same time it sounds refreshing like, "I'd love a glass of iced-tea with a splash of Floribraska, if you please!" I had to make sure I got a pic of the sign itself, because I thought "hmmm, people will think I'm lying, if I just TELL them about this gem!" Anyway, thanks again for the visit! Hope you are having a happy a-z! <3 Mary

DiscoveringHome said...

A great post! I felt like we were walking through any hometown together - just talking and observing and remembering. Thank you for this visit to Nebraska Avenue!

ViolaFury said...


Thanks for stopping by! It is quite a 'hood! We'll take more strolls through it and it's not as dire as it may sound. Letters "B" and "C" may seem a bit dramatic, but really aren't. I was going for a contrast and compare in "B" but trying to keep it short, and I just confused people. "C" is about our beat Cops, whom we actually know and are fond of; nothing at all like Ferguson or other places you read about. Nebraska Ave. and my section of it, in particular is very "small town" in that way. Primarily, it has to do with our V. M. Ybor Association and it's historical roots and the fact that it is partially mixed-zone and while it contains homeless, low-end poor and many fixed-income and disabled people, it is also home to many professionals, thus it defies any pigeon-hole description, so it's a mish-mash of things and sights and goings-on to write about. I hope you enjoy hearing about some of my adventures here. I live about 50 feet off of the "Avenue" so I'm a bit closer to some of the action, and by that I mean, the real danger. But, hey! I've got plenty to write about! Thanks again for stopping by! Mary

Heather M. Gardner said...


Lots of great information in all these posts.
Very well done.

Heather M. Gardner / @hmgardner
Co-Host, Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
The Waiting is the Hardest Part

ViolaFury said...


Thank you so much for visiting and I apologize for the lateness of this reply! I really appreciate and value your comments and I'm so sorry I didn't see this sooner! I've been in and out of town and for awhile didn't have internet, because half of the ISPs in Tampa were being idiotic. I've always enjoyed this challenge and #IWSG as well. Thanks for reading and thank you so much again for the kind words! Mary