May 1, 2009

Whose Bay Street?

Competing Narratives of Nassau's City Center in the 20th Century
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Bay Street has always been at the centre of commercial, cultural and political life in the Bahama Islands. It also acts as a gateway for millions of tourists who come to Nassau, the Bahamian capital, via cruise ships every year. Not surprisingly, Bahamians and non-Bahamians have widely divergent impressions of Bay Street. The need to accommodate the tourists who are critical to the Bahamian economy has meant that Bay Street, despite its deep social significance for Bahamians, has increasingly become a tourist space. With reference to the ‘sense of place’ and place attachment literature, this paper traces the transformation of Bay Street and attempts to tease out the most obvious tensions between the Bay Street that Bahamians experience and Bay Street as a port of call.