Restoring Nassau’s glory days

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Every time I drive through downtown Nassau it depresses me.

Downtown Nassau used to be a beautiful place with fine shops where gifts from all over the world could be purchased at duty free prices.

There were nice arcades filled with shops and decor. There was the famed Bernard Sunley Arcade with its beautiful water fountain. Only an empty fountain and statues remain and only visible through Scotia Bank offices. There were fine restaurants with local and international cuisine.

The Straw Market consisted of 100 percent Bahamian handicrafts from straw work to woodwork among others. Straw vendors in addition to being in the Market also sold wares on the side of the streets.

Downtown Nassau has lost its charm consisting of mostly jewellery and T-Shirt shops. Back in the day you could buy fine china, crystal, figurines, cameras, duty free liquors, beauty products, toiletries, watches, fine fashions - all from top brand name companies. There is a T-shirt shop near where Mademoiselle used to be, called the Mad Hatter selling souvenirs from the Bahamas. The sign painted is the most horrible colour. Could they have not come up with a better name something more authentically Bahamian?

There is a Port Market Place opposite Rawson Square. It is not very attractive looking. At Christmas time there was a beautiful Christmas display that was phenomenal and enjoyed by many tourists and Bahamians.

Could they not set up a display of something nice maybe in a Bahamian theme that could be year-round?Travelling along Bay Street heading east is a real eyesore. Many of those buildings need to be knocked down. Taxi drivers taking people on tours and I think what is there really for them to see? The history of Bay Street has not been restored. I applaud the Gazzorolli family for the development on Delancey Street, which includes the Bahamas Heritage Museum. I keep hearing about the redevelopment plan of Bay Street, but nothing seems to be happening. The only stores remaining from Bay Street’s glorious past are Coin of the Realm, John Bull and the Perfume Bar - even the Stop ‘N Shop, where everything was available, is no more!

Bay Street to return to its glory days - Bay Street was the centre of Nassau. Bring back Goombay Summer when Bay Street came alive at night with stores and restaurants staying open late with local vendors coming out showcasing their wares. Like at Marina Village on weekends they could have a Junkanoo rush out. We need more for our tourists. Our tourism slogan says “It’s Better in the Bahamas!” – well let's make it Better in the Bahamas. Let's restore Bay Street to what it once was.



April, 2022.


Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 11 months ago

"gifts from all over the world could be purchased at duty free prices."

Unfortunately 'duty free' is no longer relevant with the advent of online shopping. Fine quality items that were not so easy to get, are now readily available online for cheaper prices (including taxes) than can be obtained duty free in The Bahamas.

"Back in the day you could buy fine china, crystal, figurines, cameras, duty free liquors, beauty products, toiletries, watches, fine fashions - all from top brand name companies."

The current generation has little or no interest in these items, and if they do, they can get them online.

I think there is still a place for genuine Bahamian handicrafts, but unfortunately most strawmarket vendors are only interested in selling cheap chinese made souvenirs, given that most of the cruise ships that come here are the budget cruises with lower class (living on a budget) passengers, who can't afford to spend $$$$$ on genuine Bahamian handicrafts. If we can attract more high end luxury cruise ships, then those passengers would probably purchase more expensive locally made handicrafts.


tribanon 1 year, 11 months ago

The so called "high end luxury cruise ships" are the primary reason Downtown Nassau has become a ghost town. The gargantuan polluting floating hotels have been our major competitors in the tourism industry for decades now and their "all-for-themselves" very aggressive business model has left their passengers with very little to contribute to our local economy.


Flyingfish 1 year, 11 months ago

The reason downtown ceased being lively is because there is no demand to shop there anymore. No one lives downtown, no useful everyday goods are sold, and there isn't good access (good public transit or parking)

Instead of building stores for no one and ripping down historical buildings to be replaced by nothing lets understand the problem of why Bay Street became degradant. Not reminiscent about how there once was this and that shop.


bahamianson 1 year, 11 months ago

Make it all digital. That is where the future is headed, virtual reality.


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