Hyde park premiere neighborhood


The sun rises and sets in Hyde Park the same way it does throughout Tampa and around the world. Only the residents here think it does so differently. And for them perhaps it does. Before sunrise, the quiet, tree-lined streets are first and frequently interrupted by the steady beat of the heels of runners and fitness folks that make their way down the streets to the waters of Bayshore Boulevard. Bayshore in the morning comes alive before the sun. Here is where you'll find the athletes, former athletes and wannabe athletes or those who seek a better body to go along with their better homes and cars and lives.

Our athletes are quickly joined by the first commuters making their way downtown. They drive Bayshore for the energy they derive from the rising sun and serene water around them. Of course, the chance of a passing glimpse of a young, firm and attractive person of the opposite sex is added incentive. Athletes of their own sort, they can drive their cars while delicately balancing a latte, a cell phone and still maintain a watchful eye on the youthful and energetic on the boulevard. So they think their solace is here. This is SOK: South of Kennedy, and some never leave or venture beyond unless, of course, it is to the mall. Our perfect little existence is here. In fact, most residents will reference where they live by how many blocks off Bayshore they reside.

The weekdays and weekends have no start or end in Hyde Park. The party is on every night. The options for entertainment can be staggering. Go to the Samba Room on any night and the newly rich will be there. Here they can be seen putting back drinks and appetizers few can pronounce correctly. Caution: Leave early while you can still hear. The crowds build early, stay late and before too long, you'll be shouting at your partner or trying to read her lips over the music.

The restaurants, bistros and clubs are many. The locals that frequent them live a happy and largely sequestered life, free from many of the realities so many face not just NOK, but in other lands. There are also plenty of Barbies in search of a life with Ken, and Kens in search of a night with Barbie. The perfect tan is as important as the car, the watch and the wardrobe. You'll find all in abundance here in Hyde Park. There is also more silicone in Hyde Park than there are cell phones, and those with silicone wear their wares as proudly as an Olympic Medal. Prouder.

We have a few classic places as well. The Old Meeting House. A standard. It's a great place to feed a hangover on a weekend morning or to take your child for an old-fashioned ice cream. Alas, the Tiny Tap. Cold beer, a great juke box of old and new, and a 25-cent pool game. People are as welcome as pets, and both are as real as the sign out front. There's no pretentiousness here. It's a place where you can unwind. Larry at Bella's knows you by name and will always serve a drink with a smile. Does it get any better?

There are good people here in Hyde Park. This is the land of Ward and June Cleaver. We have families with family values. We know our neighbors, their children and our mailman by name. We talk with each other on the street at night and share our days over a cool beverage. There are families with two kids, two cars, one dog and a lifestyle some only dream of. The churches are full on Sundays and the parks are clean and well kept. Our schools have wonderful reputations and the teachers are as devoted as the parents are. Crime is low here, but everything except the newspaper machines has an alarm on it.

It's all here in Hyde Park. If you don't think so, just ask a local. You'll find them