The Key West Mystique

Key West Island News


Key West Island News connects Key West residents and friends of the island, fosters our One Human Family culture and advances understanding of shared goals for our island community

Photo Gallery: What does Key West look like without its tourists?

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


Wednesday night after supper, Ed walked to downtown Key West. Though we live less than a mile from the wild and wonderful tourist destinations, our home is in The Meadows, one of Key West’s quietest neighborhoods, filled with long-time, permanent residents.

He was curious. How would the mandatory tourist evacuation in place on Wednesday, followed tomorrow with the mandatory resident

Key West Island News

evacuation, affect Duval Street and Old Town? Seemed to make sense to go look. With the bikes chained up as part of the storm prep for Hurricane Irma and the car packed for a possible evacuation on Thursday or Friday, he walked.

For every local who’s dreamed of a Key West without tourists, for every swear word we’ve uttered when the cruise ships disgorge their thousands, there’s little doubt downtown is a different, even ghostly, place when a hurricane vanishes the people.

Still, one thing remains. Key West is a beautiful city. And tonight’s full moon shining in clear skies through the palms is joy-making. Godspeed our beautiful island and its people.


  1. Natasha

    Beautiful Key West. Thank you for the photos. Fingers crossed all goes well for the island. It was my first experience of paradise in 1999 and we keep returning whenever we can. Hope to be back soon.

  2. Julie Thomas

    Hi and be safe from the crew at Psaltis Chiropractic Clinic in Rockford. I’ve been to KW numerous times and these pictures are very eerie. I hope Irma is kind to all of you.

  3. Diana J. Atkin

    I use to visit my in-laws here and I have never seen it this empty. Prayers for my friends who still live in Key West! Beautiful place with many sweet people-Toni Tarracino being one of them.

  4. Kerry

    I’m glad to hear you are in a safe (hopefully) place!! I’ve been thinking of you when ever Key West is mentioned in the news. Praying for everyone in the path of this monster storm. Looking forward to our “girlie get together.” Be safe?

  5. Sandra Beak

    Glad you and the kitties are all packed! Safe travels while you go ! Hope to visit your area someday.

  6. Abby

    God speed to all Key West – and all the Keys – residents. I hope everyone is leaving. This storm is like no other.

  7. Leslie Flowers

    When I lived in North Miami Beach I always wanted to experience a hurricane – just a small one. As if I could select it from a catalog. I think I’m going to just cross that off my bucket list. Sending prayers for safety for you, Ed and your kitties.

    • Linda Grist Cunningham

      LOL! Yeah, and a piece of my journalist DNA is frantic that I can’t be there. We humans are strange peeps.

  8. Valeree

    Prayers to one of the greatest places I’ve visited! Worried for y’all down there!

  9. Matt

    Incredible. I’ve never seen it so desolate at anytime of night. Please stay safe this weekend.

    • Linda Grist Cunningham

      Thanks, Matt. We’ll surely make a best effort!

  10. Ronald Kunkel

    Looks nice. Someday I might visit there.

    • Linda Grist Cunningham

      I’m safely in Virginia with my mom. Came up a week ago for a routine visit, long before this hurricane mess. Was supposed to go home today, which obviously didn’t happen. We’ll see how the models look tomorrow — and weigh that against the gasoline shortage, the horrendous traffic and the path of the storm. Won’t make much sense to get on the road and run out of gas right in the middle of Miami and the eye of Irma! Thanks for your concerns, Ron; it matters a lot to have friends like you. I am grateful. Let me know when we can show you our beautiful island home!

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