Smooth Operators

Miami Beach and urban hip-hop make up for last year

This year, Machin said, the weekend went so well that many guests checking out Monday were making reservations for 2003: "That's a good sign."

De Lucca was full of praise for his officers, saying, "They refused to give us that one incident that would put us in the papers." When the field force moved in on the Sunday-morning fight, for example, some in the crowd replied with "yelling, screaming, and bottles," said the chief. "But our officers took the high road."

So is Urban Beach Week now a fixture on the Miami Beach calendar? "This was our second year," says Gonzalez. "I'm not ready to declare that it is like the Jazz Fest in New Orleans yet. But I think next year will be the test. If visitors are happy with the way things turned out, not scared or frightened, I could see it turning into something regular. The momentum is there.

"This year was a major test. It is not often that any city in America can welcome a crowd [of a quarter-million], and not only handle it, but see smiles. Everybody knew this would be a test, and I think we passed it."

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