Posts Tagged ‘Slumming in Naples’

Naples Mercantile Exchange 1919. Photos by Paul Goldfinger

Naples  Mercantile Exchange 1919. Now a restaurant (La Campanile) 5th Avenue. Naples, Fla.  Photos by Paul Goldfinger. 2013 re-post. Blogfinger.net 2020.

By Paul Goldfinger, roving Editor.  Winter, 2013.

We’re reporting live from the west coast of Florida.  There are quite a few Grovers who hang out down here in the winter, but we won’t give them away. We are in the southwest area—Fort Myers, where we have an immobile home. We wander around among Minnesotans and Canadians, searching for a one-liner and a good bagel.  But the weather is fabulous.

One of the places we like to visit, for comic relief, is one of the ritziest towns in the world:  Naples, Florida, about one hour south of us, down the Tamiami Trail (Route 41.)

Naples is a very classy and beautiful  place with a zoo, a museum, golf courses, botanical gardens, country clubs, and a symphony orchestra.  Oh, and they also have the Gulf of Mexico.

There’s lots of money, celebrities, expensive cars like Bentleys, and beautiful houses, but it is fun to walk around and soak up some of the international flavor.   You can hear multiple languages spoken as you go window shopping along 5th Avenue or 3rd Street. But sometimes that international thing isn’t so alluring.  We were eating lunch outside when a European couple stopped in front of us and proceeded to smear suntan lotion on each other.

The stores are fancy-shmancy—you feel like you are on Fifth Avenue in NYC.  It’s fun to window shop. You can also walk around and look  for a condo;  we peered through a metal barrier fence to view one. There was a brochure—it was about $2 million. We passed on that bargain.

Cafe Luna on 5th Avenue

Cafe Luna on 5th Avenue

There are quite a few good restaurants.  We had lunch at a crowded  Cafe Luna at 467 Fifth Avenue.  You can sit outside  (or in) and people watch.  We had salads.  Mine was with Norwegian smoked salmon (actually, it’s just lox)  and garnished with apple slices, strawberries, and asparagus. Eileen had a simple small  Italian salad. The prices were reasonable.

I saw a few silver-haired guys with young blonds, but what’s wrong with that?  Actually I was with a blond with a retro-hat made of bark cloth. Two people asked her about it.


Eileen in her Liza Doolittle hat.

Eileen in her Liza Doolittle hat.

Then we found a  sidewalk cafe where the coffee was great and you get a cranberry/orange muffin and a chocolate scone, both for the price of one. Eileen ate nothing. She has will power.  I ate half the muffin.  I have will power, but it is limited.

Our favorite store there is Tommy Bahama.  He has a men’s shop and a women’s shop separated by a restaurant.  I treated myself to a pair of shorts made of ultra-soft-thin cotton that fit just right, and that’s not a simple thing to find. Eileen bought nothing, so I got off easy.

SOUNDTRACK:  It’s Maude Maggart singing Irving Berlin. I don’t think Irving would feel at home in Naples, but I could be wrong.  After all, he wrote “Easter Parade.”

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