People, I’m sick of hearing the negativity among locals denouncing the place that we call home. I swear if I hear one more cool band or artist or restaurateur say in an interview or bio something along the lines of “I would have stayed in South Florida, but it sucks there and we/I couldn’t get any love there, so now we are in Brooklyn” I am going to scream. Didn’t anyone see “Orange County?” It doesn’t matter where you are. You can be living in Iowa (sorry about that if you are actually from Iowa), but if you surround yourself with positive people and embrace the place for what it is, you can be creative and succeed anywhere. And if you can’t get any love at home, how can you expect to take your show on the road and find a different climate? I have lived in South Florida for almost 10 years, and there is not a day that goes by when I don’t meet someone who is energetic, positive, and passionate about their life. Sure, I work from a mini school bus serving hot dogs on the street, so I am bound to meet some interesting characters, but that is besides the point. Here are the reasons why I love South Florida, what are yours?
1. The lighting. Our sunrises, sunsets, clouds, and afternoon storms are something truly unique. No place on earth looks better than Miami at sunset. Take it in.
2. The fact that it is a melting pot of cultures. Our food choices are endless. You can travel all of the Americas and the Caribbean by plate in any ethnic enclave usually located on or around Dixie Hwy. from West Palm to Miami. There is also University Drive in central Broward, home to countless Indian, Korean, Isreali, and Thai restaurants and markets.
3. The fact that we live on an island. Not literally, of course, but close. You can only go North! The Everglades to the west, the ocean to the east and south. Both places totally inhospitable to humans, crawling (and swimming) with alligators, snakes, and sharks. In between, in and out of our everyday lives, in the parking lot at CVS, we are in the midst of beautiful banyan, mangrove, and cypress trees, herons and egrets, and brightly colored lizards. The Norfolk Pine only grows in 2 places. Here, and Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. There is always something in bloom. No other large urban area in the country has our wildlife diversity.
4. The fact that our cars always look clean and we can leave 26 inch rims on our tires year round (I don’t have 26 inch rims, I just like seeing them).
5. The urban artwork. Just take a look at the industrial areas and freight trains around I-95, the “spine” of South Florida, and in and around Wynwood and the Design District in Miami and you will see some truly awe-inspiring works of graffiti art, totally uncommissioned, and free for all of us to see.
6. Our sunglasses and sandals. We need them to survive. Enough Said.
7. Art Deco and hacienda style architecture.
8. Walking down Collins and Ocean at night, and people watching on Lincoln Road during the day.
9. The Palm Beach Zoo, The Mai-Kai, and Tate’s Comics. Tate’s is the largest comic book store in the United States. Also, the Bear and Bird gallery puts on great free shows. The Mai-Kai is literally the “mecca” for tiki aficionados worldwide, and is a lasting relic of 1950’s and 60’s Polynesian pop in America. The Palm Beach Zoo is a perfect, cozy, shady oasis and the best way to spend a lazy local afternoon.
10. The smell of sun tan lotion as soon as you get off the plane, you know you are home-