Thursday, February 25, 2010


Thursday, February 25, 2010
I realized I never properly introduced readers to my city.

Miami: the Magic City. The American Riviera. Home to world-class beaches, the nation's worst drivers, and (according to some) ground-zero of the mortgage crisis. The state of Florida as a whole seems to boom and bust about every 10 years or so. Still, it's where I call home.

For starters, let's head over to Wikipedia, shall we? Miami has its very own entry.

Done reading? Good. Now let's clear up some common misconceptions. What most people see on TV -- white-sand beaches, art deco architecture and topless women galore -- isn't located in the City of Miami. In fact, all of this is located across the Causeway (MacArthur Causeway, Julia Tuttle, etc.) in the city of Miami Beach.

Still with me? Miami and Miami Beach are two different cities, with different mayors, zip codes and schools. I'll be perfectly honest: I didn't know this when I first arrived in Miami -- and it still amazes me just how poorly the city is portrayed on television in terms of geographical accuracy. The only shows that come close are Dexter and Burn Notice.

As for mainland Miami, there are three main areas that I hang out in. First off is Brickell, also known as the financial district. There are quite a few banks in the area, but not too long ago the place was deserted after 6 p.m. Now, glittering sky scrapers and shops, restaurants and clubs are making it one of the city's hottest places to live and work.

Next up is Coconut Grove. Once known as a bohemian artists' colony, the area has gentrified in some respects, though unfortunately there still exists an impoverished area known as the West Grove. I always hate saying this, but it's really not wise to be in this area after dark -- even by car.

Last but not least is the beautiful suburb of Coral Gables. Known as "The Gables" to locals, it's one of Florida's wealthiest neighborhoods and a city in and of itself. Several of my longtime clients live in the Gables, and even though I don't often venture there during my non-working hours, it is a beautiful neighborhood.

So, there it is, a brief introduction to Miami. Though the recession has dampened the mood the past year, dare I say spirits are (slowly) starting to lift. Recession or no, boom or bust, Democrat or Republican in the White House, Miami will always remain America's most vibrant and exotic vacation destination.

I certainly hope the city continues to grow and evolve beyond a tropical playground for the wealthy and tourists from the northeast. Only time will tell, I suppose. Still, the Magic City will live in my heart forever.

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