All good things come to an end. Nothing is forever.

Fast Buck Freddie’s closed down three years ago. Support for a store of its quality no longer existed.

I loved Fast Buck Freddie’s! Great stuff! Expensive prices! Nothing cheap. It was not a place you shopped in often. Anything purchased there was a treat.

I recall 15 years ago buying my wife a mask for Fantasy Fest. A gold eye mask with big green feathers. Looked terrific! It should have. Cost me $125. The mask sits to this day on my bedroom dresser on top of a glass head. I got it in the divorce.

Whenever I made a Fast Buck purchase, it was based on impulse. I walked in one day and saw this elephant chair. Short. Heavy. I could never have lifted it. With a pair of two foot tusks. I knew immediately where it would look good in my living room. $1,000.

My Boston granddaughter Samantha was visiting. She was 12 at the time. Grandpa offered to buy her a tee shirt. Why or who or what directed us to Fast Buck Freddie’s for the tee shirt, I cannot recall. I remember however that the tee shirt for my 12 year old granddaughter cost $60.

I am not listing complaints. I loved every minute I spent in Fast Buck Freddie’s and every penny I spent. The place was the Taj Mahal of Key West!

Its street windows were long and huge. The best window displays in Key West! I doubt anyone would dispute the representation.

Over the years, the building housing Fast Bucks was owned individually or jointly or whatever by Tony Falcone, Jimmy Buffet, and David Wolkowsky.

Tony Falcone operated Fast Buck Freddie’s for 37 years. The store has been empty for three years. Falcone has done everything possible to get a Key West type occupant in the store. To no avail. CVS is going to open a drug store in place of Fast Buck Freddie’s. Falcone feels bad. However, he had no choice. No one can blame him. Money is money. He hung onto an empty store way too long.

CVS in its new location will be blight on Duval Street. Such is progress!

My house was shown two times yesterday. No one bought it.

There were two highlights in my day yesterday. A visit with Jim Wallace at Joy Gallery. He has my Jack Baron’s for sale. The other was dinner with Lisa and the family last night.

Cameron is back from Turkey. He brought Robert and Ally each a fez. Bright red with a tassel. Robert wears his all the time, except when sleeping. He looks Turkish. Ally was not thrilled. She never wears her fez.

After dinner, I did something I never do. I was driving home. Suddenly had a desire for a soft chocolate ice cream cone. Dairy Queen! Oh, so good!

Enjoy your day!



Show time! My blog talk radio show tonight at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me for a quick half hour of eye opening revealing topics.

This evening I will be discussing the Japanese purchase of Jim Beam, $224,000 Congress authorized for a federal study re making custom fit condoms, Congressional wealth, Nixon’s electronic surveillance of private citizens, the French taxing CEO’s who make in excess of 1 million euros 75 per cent, and more.

Heat up some pop corn, sit back and enjoy!

Sloan and I spent a hard two hours working yesterday afternoon. It was her teaching me how to use the computer more efficiently.

Went to Don’s Place first last night. I was looking for Keith and Jimmy. They are always there. Except the one night I needed to talk with them. Instead, I enjoyed a brief chat with Frankie the Plumber. One of the best.

Then to the Chart Room. Chatted with Mary, Peter, and Che. Mostly with Che.

Che hit me with…..I see your face all over town! He was referring to my cover picture on KONK Life which in effect was advertising my book The World Upside Down. Che wanted to read the book. Buy it, I told him. and Turns out as smart and well read as Che is, he cannot operate a computer. Che is 80, which should mean nothing. I am 78 and do.

One way or another, Che will come up with the book.

I got into David Wolkowsky who I blogged about yesterday. I was curious if the present Chart Room is the original built by Wolkowsky. I thought Che might now. He has lived in Key West more than 40 years. Not long enough to know, as it turned out. No one seemed to know. Che and the Chart Room go hand in hand. Che is one of the last two persons living who when dead will have their ashes placed in the bar rail.

Che and I covered Italy, Greece, and London. Che is seriously considering leaving Key West after all his years here. That is how we got into European locations.

I stopped at Tavern ‘n Town on the way home for a bite to eat. A small pizza. I sat at the bar and was enjoying the Duke/Virginia game. All of a sudden, information regarding the Syracuse/Boston College game flashed across the bottom of the screen. I had forgotten about the game! I thought it was wednesday night! When I got home, I learned Syracuse had won by 10 points. Syracuse was behind several points with 10 minutes to go in the game and went on a 15-0 run. Pittsburgh saturday. I will not forget. It will be as big as the Villanova game. Pittsburgh has only lost one game this season.

The bartender looked familiar. He said I looked familiar to him. Once I told him my name, he remembered. He used to work for Great Events back when. Great Events used to do my big parties. One hundred fifty to two hundred people. His name is Andrew. We had an interesting time recollecting the parties and the fine work Great Events did.

I may have missed the Syracuse game. I finished the evening on a high note, however. I watched a 1936 movie with two great stars. Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman. Strike Me Pink was the name of the movie. A funny musical with a happy ending.

A final reminder. Watch my show tonight. I guarantee you will find it interesting.

Enjoy your day!



Jimmy Buffett was in Key West friday night. He attended David Wolkowsky’s annual cocktail party which has become a part of the Key West Literary Seminary. The Seminary is on going this week. The party was held on the roof top of the Kress building. Better known to most as the building which housed Fast Buck Freddy’s for years.

There was a picture in yesterday’s Key West Citizen of Buffett and Wolkowsky at the party. Buffett and Wolkowsky are business partners. Buffett also proudly tells all that Wolkowsky was the first person to hire him.

The old timers in Key West know of Wolkowsky. Some of the newer residents perhaps not. Most of the tourists not.

I want to share with you David Wolkowsky’s story.

Wolkowsky is 94 years old. He is a legend in his own time. A quiet unassuming millionaire. He is responsible for much of what is Key West today. He worked diligently to preserve the best of old Key West. He was primarily responsible in the prevention of high rise buildings on the island.

He is known as the American Developer. Not for his efforts in Key West alone, but also for the significant preservation work he did in his younger days in Philadelphia.

His grandfather came to Key West in the late 1880s and opened a fine clothing store on Duval Street. Wolkowsky was born in Key West. The family at some point moved to Miami. Wolkowsky later went to college at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, he settled in Philadelphia. He was best known in those years for the renovation and preservation of what once had been Philadelphia’s best neighborhoods.

He was financially successful. In 1962 at the age of 40, he retired to Key West. Soon after, he started developing Key West real estate.

Today’s Captain Tony’s stands because of Wolkowsky’s efforts. This goes back to when it was Sloppy Joe’s and Hemingway’s first hang out. The building had been condemned. Wolkowsky saved it.

In 1967, he built a 50 room motel and restaurant at what would be 0 Duval today. It was called the Pier House Resort Motel. The forerunner of today’s Pier House.

My favorite haunt the Chart Room was a part of Wolkowsky’s Pier House. Here is where Jimmy Buffett comes into the picture. Wolkowsky was the first to hire him and it was at the Chart Room.

Wolkowsky built a dream home some eight miles off Key West on Ballast Key. He entertained often at both the Pier House and Ballast Key. He entertained the likes of Truman Capote, Tennesee Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, and Lillian Hellman. The Rockefellers,  Mellons and Vanderbilts were his guests, as well as British Prime Minister Edward Heath.

Wolkowsky entertained at Ballast Key with a menu consisting of hot dogs, white wine and potato chips. For which he was famous.

Another significant accomplishment was his construction of the Reach Resort.

Wolkowsky  could be seen over the years driving around Key West in a golf cart or his beloved 1926 Rolls Royce.

A man for the ages. Key West is fortunate that he settled here and his family before him. Conchs all in every sense of the word!

Enjoy your day!