Friday, January 27, 2017

Florida Keys Journal: Marathon

photograph of Seven Mile Bridge by Hallie Cohen
Marathon which lies in the middle of the archipelago is the largest of the Keys and the Seven Mile Bridge between Marathon and Big Pine is the longest. Parallel to it are the remnants of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad conceived by the oil tycoon, Henry Flagler in l912, a feat of engineering and design (termed "the eighth wonder of the world") that would be destroyed by the Hurricane of l935. Marathon was so named due to the speed with which the original tracks had been laid. True Lies and Fast and Furious both used the railway line as locations. The oldest house in town was lived in by Bahamanians who turned sea sponge into a birth control device. As you proceed southward huge billboards advertising Sandal Outlet where four tee shirts can be purchased for $10 are as ubiquitous as the Key Deer, Lilliputian versions of the animals that account for the Adirondack hunting season. These miniature creatures are so prized that a driver who hits one will have his license taken away. There are dozens of small islands off the Seven Mile Bridge which wealthy yacht owners use as a backyard for their boats. From the distance you can see piers reaching out into the water from these otherwise uninhabited spits of land. JZ apparently bought one for Beyonce. You know you're getting closer to Key West when you begin to see cafes along the highway with names like the Buck Tooth Rooster (roosters are ubiquitous in Key West) and you hear the fighter jets flying overhead from Naval Air Station Key West.

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