Monday, October 13, 2008

Fort Lauderdale Cheap Thrills:
Broward Boulevard and Beyond

Some places, like some people, make one’s heart skip a beat. I rarely enter a library without a feeling of excitement at the treasure hunt that lays before me. I almost never enter a place of worship without a feeling of wonder at the magic of faith that has inspired humankind to both art and depredation for so long. And although I my life no longer includes the sight of thoroughbreds galloping around a race course at dawn, the sun gleaming off their shiny coats, I can never see those athletes of such power and elegance without thinking of the words of racing handicapper Clem Florio, “You gotta love this life.”


The Fort Lauderdale Main Library, just off Broward Boulevard in the heart of the museum district, is an architectural relic of the 1960s. The entire non-fiction collection fits on one floor.

If you have spent time in a university library of any size, or one of the great libraries such as Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Fort Lauderdale Main Library is not much. However, I spent much of my teenage years ransacking the shelves of a neighborhood library that occupied the space of a pharmacy which had built a larger, modern accommodation across the street. Pharmacies were changing from dispensaries of pills, salves, ointments, bandages, and hospital equipment to the popular vendors of everything from auto motor oil to T-shirts and teddy bears that we know today.

No matter how small the library, I never despair of finding true treasure on its shelves. The day did not disappoint. As I searched for architectural guides to South Florida, I discovered a photo illustrated volume of the architecture of the South. I do long to take a little expedition one of these days along the Natchez Trace and into the heart of the Mississippi Delta blues juke joints.


Nothing beats free when it comes to cheap thrills

Adjunct professors are paid beggars’ wages, but a perk of my job is free parking on Broward College campuses. The downtown campus is across from the Main Library.

The seventh level of the parking garage is free if you have a staff or student window hangar. The climb to the top is perilous, with young students whipping cars recklessly around the hairpin curves, despite traffic driving two ways. But the elevators are air-conditioned and clean. And the price definitely is right.


Hot Dog Central at 4200 West Broward Boulevard in Plantation is an old-time drive-through with a quaint outdoor deck, pictured above. The Top Dog comes with homemade corn relish and mustard and is a winner.

Be sure to read the paper menu if you go. I craved some fresh coleslaw but didn’t see it on the menu next to the order window. The paper menu brags about the fresh-made slaw. Another menu brag is the fresh-cut fries.

A chicken salad sandwich was on the special menu today. Regular menu features include burgers, Philly cheesesteak, veggie wrap and even a chopped salad.

Hot Dog Central is well off the tourist path, just west of S.R. 7/U.S. 441. It closes at 5 p.m. and on Sundays.


When was the last time gas was $2.89 a gallon? Cash only and expect to wait in line about 20 minutes. I passed up this real deal yesterday, hoping the lines wouldn’t be as long on a workday as on Sunday. It was worth the drive even though far, far from Broward Boulevard, on University Drive between Riverside Drive and McNab Road.

I returned to my lair just as the afternoon rains were starting.

It’s been a good day, of unexpected small pleasures and treats -- the best kind.


Sylvia K said...

Hey, we have to take them where you find them! Sounds like fun to me. And lunch sounded particularly good, which reminds me -- I haven't eaten. Hmmm wonder what tidbit I can find in the fridge?

Dogwalkmusings said...

The more I read your blog the more I'm finding you should add "extra" to the ordinary in your title!

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Natasha said...

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June Saville said...

I'm into cheap thrills too! Today's cheap thrill is going to be riding my bicycle around the neighbourhood bike tracks. Classic wind in your hair and oxygen in your lungs stuff, but with positive leftovers such as actually feeling you may get fit again.
Of course, libraries and the smell of books really do get my heart racing too. The feeling that there is so much knowledge out there ready for the harvesting ...
June in Oz

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