'Fernando's Footsteps': La Séptima

The first part of "Fernando's Footsteps reflects the importance of 7th Ave. to Fernando and other inhabitants of Ybor City.

Fernando and Ignacio continued walking eastward along 7th Ave.

"Zapato, parece que esta avenida es la calle principal del barrio, verdad?"

Gaitero had asked if they were on the primary street of the neighborhood.

"Sí, y nosotros llamamos a esta propia zona entera "La Séptima", no solo a la calle misma. Es el centro comercial de Ybor."

Iganacio responded in the affirmative and told him that locals referred to the whole area as "The Seventh", and it is the commercial center of Ybor City. Fernando was impressed by the dense nature of the neighborhood. While infinitely smaller than Havana, it was similar in that there was a distinct urban atmosphere. Shops and businesses of all kinds lined the street. Fish mongers, dry goods stores, and meat markets sat alongside small cigar factories, pharmacies, blacksmiths, and a few houses. Electric streetcars provided public transportation. Spanish was clearly the dominant language. Sicilian, which Fernando had quickly learned to recognize, could also be heard. The atmosphere belied the small size of Tampa...it had the feel of a much larger city, except for the streets made of dirt.

"Una pregunta, Zapato. Me gusta lo que veo, pero por qué las calles son de arena?"

Fernando told Ignacio that he likes what he sees but wonders why the streets are made of sand.

"Recuérdate que, hace solo quince años, donde estamos parados era una ciénaga. En esa época Tampa tenía menos de mil habitantes...un pueblo de pesca. Ha crecida muy rápida en pocos años, y va cambiando y mejorándose."

Ignacio reminded Fernando that only fifteen years ago, there was a swamp where they were now standing. At that time, Tampa had fewer than a thousand inhabitants...a fishing village. Tampa had grown very quickly and was changing and improving. As if to emphasize his point, Zapato pointed out workmen who were stacking bricks alongside the street, preparing to pave 7th Ave.
(Tony Carreño, Chapter 10)