The day off: Tampa
Story by Nicolas DeRenzo | Hemispheres April 2019
Tampa has long been a pop-culture punchline (see Magic Mike), but it's on the brink of a rebirth, thanks to a $3 billion investment by Bill Gates and Jeff Vinik, the owner of the NHL's Lightning. The resulting 53-acre Water Street development aims to be one of America's top medical-tech hubs and the world's first WELL Certified community. Here, a sweet one-day tour of the Big Guava's present that'll leave you hungry for its future.
No trip to Tampa is complete without a taste of its greatest culinary export: the Cuban sandwich. Start your day with chef Felicia Lacalle's A.M. version (topped with fried eggs and guava-glazed pork belly) at Hemingway's, in the Heights Public Market, a new food hall inside Armature Works, a cavernous 1910 streetcar warehouse.
Work off the pork belly on the Tampa Riverwalk, a pedestrian and bike path along the Hillsborough River. Cross the Kennedy Boulevard bridge to the University of Tampa campus, which is known for its iconic Moorish Revival minarets (pictured), and then duck into The Shop at Oxford Exchange, a chic lifestyle boutique in 19th-century stables.
The first phase of the Water Street development is the new Sparkman Wharf, where the city's top chefs serve quick bites out of rainbow shipping containers. After a brisk game of shuffleboard— Florida's official sport?—order piri piri Key West pink shrimp at Edison's Swigamajig and raw Cedar Key oysters, from just up the Gulf coast, at Boat Run Oyster Company.
Spend an afternoon on the water with eBoats Tampa, which rents out eco-friendly, electric boats that drive as easy as golf carts. They're so quiet that bottlenose dolphins and manatees will often swim up to investigate.
Back on dry land, hop the free streetcar to Ybor City, which once ranked as the world cigar-making capital and is still home to a slew of storefront tobacco shops. Stop into Coppertail Brewing Co. for a distinctly South Florida brew, such as the Guava Pastelitos Berliner Weisse or Captain Jack's Stone Crab Stout, infused with real crab.
Dinner is a 10-minute drive away, in up-and-coming Seminole Heights, where strip malls hide inventive bars and restaurants like Rooster & the Till. The kitchen here works magic with local seafood— especially unexpected cuts such as Vietnamese-style cobia collar (pictured), swordfish belly crudo, and chicken-fried grouper cheeks and throats.
Head back downtown to the Le Méridien Tampa, a hotel in the 1905 former federal courthouse and post office, and follow the glow of the uplit Corinthian columns to your room. Drift off content that you knew this future rock- star of a city before it got big.
Photo Credits: Michael Oster (Heights Public Market facade); courtesy of eBoats Tampa (boat); Images-USA/Alamy (minarets); courtesy of Tabanero Cigars (cigar rollers); courtesy of Rooster & the Till (cobia collar)
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 56 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 8,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.