Ask the Locals: Nadine Smith & Andrea Hildebran, activists

Posted by Heidi Kurpiela on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Longtime LGBT advocate Nadine Smith has served as the chief executive officer of Equality Florida since its inception in 1997. In 1993, she co-chaired the LGBT March on Washington and organized a historic oval office meeting between LGBT leaders and then President Bill Clinton. Smith, a former Tampa Tribune journalist, served four terms as co-chair of the Equality Federation and served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She writes columns for both LGBT and general audience publications and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.
Andrea Hildebran is the executive director of Green Florida, a non-profit organization that helps create community gardens. She founded the organization in 2007 to better manage the Bartlett Park Community Garden, a flourishing vegetable garden in a low-income neighborhood in South St. Petersburg. She’s a writer and community organizer with decades of LGBT advocacy work under her belt.
In August 2012, with their toddler, Logan, in tow, Smith and Hildebran were among the first couples in St. Pete to register for a domestic partnership.

Favorite neighborhood: Gulfport. Nadine: “It’s bohemian. There are boat bums and well-to-do retirees. It’s funky. It’s laid-back. It’s friendly. There’s the beach, a playground and a place to grab a cold beer all in one concentrated little area.”

Where they’d eat every day if they could: Habana Café. Nadine: “It’s almost the de facto Gulfport Community Center. Everybody goes there. It’s super friendly and the Cuban food is excellent.”

Where their kid would eat every day if he could: Bella Brava. Nadine: “The little guy loves, loves, loves spaghetti. We love going there because the food is good, affordable and the owners care about the community.”

Favorite sweet spot: Cassis Bakery. Nadine: “The little chocolate truffles … good gravy, they’re so completely satisfying!”

The place where everybody knows their name: Stella’s Deli. Nadine: “It’s a fun place. It’s absolutely the intersection of all the different kind of folks that inhabit Gulfport, and the breakfast is great.”

Favorite happy hour: Our kitchen. Nadine: “Check back with us when Logan turns 18.”

Best bargain basement finds: Goodwill at Central Avenue and 34th Street. Nadine: “They’re clean. There’s a good selection of stuff and they hang things in the right place. I got a great pair of boots there.”

Favorite weekend ritual: The Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete. Andrea: “We go to The Dancing Goat for our eggs, The Taco Lady for our breakfast and the popsicle man [Pop Craft] for Logan.”

Favorite mode of transportation: The bus and downtown trolley. Andrea: “We’ve really just now started taking the bus. We believe in mass transit, so we’re trying to do our part. I’m really committed to doing that for half of our errands. Logan has more fun on the bus than in the car.

Best guided tour: St. Petersburg Trolley Downtown Looper. Andrea: “The St. Pete Trolley is an overlooked gem. A quarter will get you a pretty good tour, depending on who your driver is.”

Best hidden children’s park: Maynard A. Duryea Park. Andrea: “The fire truck park in South Pasadena is one of St. Pete’s best-kept secrets. There are gazebos on the water, little hills and a wilderness trail.”

Best place to be up with the birds: Albert Whitted Park. Andrea: “Sometimes you’ll catch us on these super-early little boy mornings watching the sun come up at the airplane park.”

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