Orlando

Located in Central Florida, Orlando is the third largest metropolis in the state of Florida by population, but its status of a travel hub easily causes the city to swell in size. Much of the city’s streets are simple gridwork, running north-south or east-west, with commercial centers located along major roads, and residential neighborhoods behind it, mostly ‘out of sight’. There are various neighborhoods, ranging from the affluent to the poor, and many of them are nearby or adjacent to each other. Parks are a common sight in Orlando, as are empty lots, usually filled with trees or retention ponds.

Much of the construction in Orlando is fairly small and sprawling. Most buildings are only one or two story affairs, but apartment buildings easily go as high as three or five. Occasional buildings, especially office buildings, or buildings near and around the Downtown area tend to be taller or larger. Most buildings are painted in somber tones of white or tan, with trimming of various colors, especially brown or blue. Houses generally do not have basements.

Orlando lifestyle comprises of a combination of low pay, high rent and expensive entertainment. It’s not uncommon to find people heading out to various restaurants late in the evening. Nightclubs are also another option, though most are rather dubious at best. Those with a wider social reach may be invited to private parties or affairs, and whole-house rave parties are not unheard of. Due to the nature of the elderly in many of the neighborhoods in Orlando, though, many have police pounding on the door before too long. This usually results in a “Shit, it’s the cops” moment and many of the partiers fleeing in as many directions as they can.

Weather in Orlando tends to be sweltering hot and surprisingly muggy. Although most think of Florida as tropical, it’s more indicative of a subtropical environment. Summers are hot, muggy affairs with afternoon storms to temporarily break the heat, only to have it rise up again just before night. Autumn is hot and rainy, with slightly brisk mornings. Winter is chilly, surprisingly so for those expecting a tropical paradise, with temperatures diving into the 30s and 20s at night. Spring is nice, with cold breezes early on leading into balmy summerish days. Hurricane season tends to last from June through November, with at least one big storm forming every year.

Culturally, Orlando is a bit of a melting pot. in the 1990s, a large influx of hispanic and island families swelled the town’s size, and the popularity of the attractions and airport certainly provide a robust variety of peoples. The town also sees a fair number of people from the New England area, especially those with winter homes in the less severe climate. Fortuntely for the economy, this means the city sees a constant influx of new arrivals, visitors and consumers. It also means that exploitation of these people is fairly commonplace.

Neighborhoods

Parramore

Located just west of Downtown Orlando and bordering Pine Hills, this predominantly African-American neighborhood contains countless small bungalows, projects and cheap commercial space the area has sparked debates on what exactly can be done for the people who live within. Located just west of Downtown Orlando and bordering Pine Hills, the high crime rate tends to seep into Downtown itself, especially at night. Yet, the area is not a stranger to culture, and though its never been completely devoid of criminal activity, it has served as an inspiration to many black youth, as well as a place to get authentic island cuisine.

Orange Blossom Trail

More of a Street than a Neighborhood and on the Western most fringe of town, this area is known as the lowest of the low. Though originally a main thoroughfare for many to commute home from work, most currently use the more newly constructed highways. The cheap lodging and business have fallen into hard times, with many closed, closing or in disrepair. Naturally, this gives the street a tired, run-down look. The street’s motels stay busy, though, as this is one of the few areas where prostitution is commonplace. Towards the north end of the town, a struggling gay community surrounds the P-house, which isn’t much better than the streets around it.

Orlando

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