Key West's Main Drag?

<p>Residents and public officials are calling on merchants to clean up Duval Street in Key West, Florida. Long considered the city's economic engine, the opposition believes some of the questionable quirkiness give the street and the city its character.</p>
March 12, 2008, 8am PDT | Mike Lydon
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"Dorie Hochstedler was part star tourist, part terrified grandmother when she offered perches on her body for an iguana, four exotic birds and an albino Burmese python called Lemon Drop.

'I'm doing it so my grandchildren will get a kick out of it,' the Indiana native said as a gawking crowd instantly assembled.

The unique memory is why Hochstedler and millions of other tourists come to funky, laid-back Key West. And the prime lure is famed Duval Street, known for its bars, high-end art galleries, drag queens and an unending parade of offbeat characters.

Many Key Westers think Duval, stretching 1.2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, is the city's crown jewel.

But many others believe the street, with its T-shirt shops that sell bongs, and cracked sidewalks littered with cigarette butts, is a source of embarrassment.

They want Duval to clean up its act."

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Published on Monday, March 10, 2008 in The Miami Herald
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