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Garagemahal

A garagemahal is a home where the garage (often a 3-car garage or more) dominates the front view of the house. I don’t know that the word applied to townhomes that may have only a one car garage, but the point is the same when you see the garage but not the entrance and no other facade than the garage. The word comes from the Taj Mahal, so there’s a bit of irony in that most of these garagemahals have none of the majesty of the originating building. We have to assume that somewhere behind the garages, there IS a house.

The opposite to this is a development such as Dolphin Cay, where the single family homes (other than the waterfront homes) are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, generally with a front porch. The garages are behind the homes, unobtrusive, and occasionally with living space above the garage – a home office, a guest suite, a recreation room.

The Old Northeast, a popular neighborhood in St Petersburg that is close to downtown, is pedestrian friendly, which adds to its appeal. Some of the homes in the Old Northeast date back to the 1910s – others are still being built, though generally on lots that previously had homes. Characteristic of the neighborhood, garages are typically behind the house, with alley access. The front porches encourage neighbors to know one another, as you’re much more likely to chat if one of you is on the porch and the other is on the sidewalk walking by. People are unlikely to walk up to your house and ring the doorbell just to say, Hello! When you’re within sight of one another, it’s only natural to nod, wave or strike up a conversation.

Hint: if you want to get to know your neighbors, take a dog out for a walk (yours or one that’s borrowed) – just remember that they’ll know your dog before they know you.

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