#PelicanYoga Remembering St. Petersburg Pier and Seafood Shack STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT NEFF

March 5, 2017 — The Pelican Beakon, the pelican newspaper, ran a gut wrenching story interviewing pelicans on how much they enjoyed #PelcianYoga at the St. Petersburg Pier. Then PelicanYoga was further devastated when its World Headquarters at the Seafood Shack was closed. In one year, #PelicanYoga lost both, St. Petersburg Pier and Seafood Shack.

Mayor Foster had prematurely closed the Pier. It became a city eye soar.

Closing the Pier and losing the referendum to use a modern design for a new pier called the Lens, was the reason Mayor Foster lost. Everyone was upbeat when Mayor Kriseman won. He removed the fence and opened the Pier, but not the building. Unfortunately, Mayor Kriseman did not run a transparent Pier Selection Committee. First, his pet project, Pier Park, lost in a city wide survey to Destination St. Pete. He was so angry, he threw out the results!

The Destination St. Pete design refurbished the Pier. The local team used the architect who designed the Dali Museum's glass. Unfortunately, in Mayor Kriseman's Pier Selection, Destination St. Pete placed second. The Pelican Beakon research staff found out that the name had been trademarked and slipped the info into the right hands.

Mayor Kriseman's Pier Park design team had not done their homework. The trademark owners filed a Cease and Desist with the City. Our staff research presented research that showed how the Pier Park design had sidestepped the rules. But the Tampa Bay Times, who did not want a refurbished pier, failed to properly research the City's data.

The Pelican Beakon's stat sheet had placed it ahead of "Pier Park," which is another story the Pelican Beakon broke.

When Mayor Kriseman held the "Celebration for St. Petersburg Pier," residents showed their dismay.

So did Mother Nature!

Mayor Kriseman never released the final results. When City Council voted to award the funds, City Council Chair Gerdes presented his spreadsheet. He said Pier Park won. Well, the editor submitted a Public Records Request for his presentation. Our staff research team examined the numbers and discovered Chair Gerdes' math was wrong. Destination St. Pete actually won! When confronted, Chair Gerdes did not ask for a new vote, he just said, "Thanks".

Then reality hit home for residents. The demolition started.

Seems that when the demolition finished, Mayor kicked off his reelection. However, the way he handled the pier did not sit well with residents. Many residents believe Mayor Kriseman has an uphill race.

Enjoy some special Pelican moments at the St. Petersburg Pier as captured by our staff photographer.

Portrait of PelicanYoga Instructor. Black and White.

PelicanYoga in its early days.

PelicanYoga teaches rest and relaxation. Sunrises over Tampa Bay with the sun's rays streaking the sky and water will be missed.

Our staff photographer embedded in PelicanYoga classes. Here, the instructor is leading a class on the rail when the staff photographer took this photo. The instructor was not pleased with this distraction. The instructor made the photographer buy a round of fish for the class.

Here, the PelicanYoga instructor is trying not to laugh at our embedded staff photographer. He is not as flexible as the pelicans and was always losing his balance. Moments later, the instructor could not contain his laughter. He burst out into a roaring laugh, lost his balance, and fell off the rail!

This instructor was getting ribbed for this new position.

Two instructors are in training.

The senior instructor was trained by the PelicanYoga founder, Lois.

Meet Lois, the white pelican who stopped being a snowbird. Read her story and how she founded PelicanYoga. The book preview was posted online as a draft and had over 3.2k views in a couple months with no advertising. She is looking for an agent or publisher.

Then Pelican Yoga suffered another major loss. Its World Headquarters at the Seafood Shack was shut down by the marina's out of state owners and their management company.

The neighborhood lost their watering hole and community gathering spot.

Then reality hit everyone hard.

Pelicans have been holding classes in Pass-A-Grille at Merry Pier.

If you know of any Old Florida seafood shacks that are still standing, PelicanYoga is conducting a search for a new World Headquarters.

How Mayor Kriseman handled the St. Petersburg Pier Selection Committee was a travesty and unAMERICAN. He also refused to come to the aid of the Seafood Shack, a women-owned, veteran-owned small business. He said this was a private business matter. Yet, he had no problem helping other businesses. In November, residents and patrons will remember how he conducted himself when they go to the polls. Odds are he will not be reelected.

Enjoy more stories and images of what I get to enjoy everyday!

Purchase Robert Neff's Photography online at Saatachi Art, Adobe Stock Photography and Fotolia. If you see a photograph that is not there, let me know. I can add the image.

Venice, Italy. 2007

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Robert Neff
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