Gloucester Avenue now a scanty town

August 22, 2017
Sections of Gloucester Avenue are like a ghost town at night.

Gloucester Avenue, popularly known as the Hip Strip, needs a massive overhaul in order to once again attract large numbers of visitors, property owners there contend.

The avenue is home to a myriad of attractions, including the Aqua Sol Theme Park, Walter Fletcher Beach, and some of Montego Bay's oldest and most notable hotels.

However, even though it is listed among the 74 things to do in Montego Bay, 59 per cent of visitors who provided reviews of the Strip have ranked it as either 'average' or 'poor' on travel site, TripAdvisor.

For Montego Bay home girl Paula Blake, owner of the historic Sunset Bar, which sits across the road from the Old Hospital Park, the avenue was a thriving place for business up to a decade ago.

"My mother has been operating here since the 1970s, but I took over just since 2008," she said.

"This building is over a 100 years old. The oldest on the Strip. Everybody else tear down and renovate and whatever. They used to call it 'Hospital Shop'. Everybody from the hospital use to buy their little snacks. Sometimes they buy their last meal here.

"It is no longer hip. Nobody come out anymore; maybe it's because of the crime where they live, and stuff like that. I can remember back in 2007, the Strip was like people party from all day. Tourists were on the street and you can see people going by but now, you don't see anybody," she said.

She said that even when ships dock at the Montego Bay port, there is very little economic impact nowadays, as very few visitors traverse the Strip.

"When ship come in, you have to wonder if ship down there because you can't believe. There is nobody on the road walking. It was lively because of locals and foreigners; people going by, they stop to buy their beers, they sit out here and have their nice time. They talk, they laugh, they do all of that. Now, we don't see anybody," Blake said.

"Who you might see is people coming from work, and maybe a few persons coming from work go to the park and walk by. But it is not how it used to be."

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