It’s no surprise when a local restaurant closes the kitchen and makes way for overpriced cocktails and amateur booty-shaking. And for this holiday weekend in particular, New Times has received countless e-mails hawking this and that Memorial Day blowout and “No work on Monday” party. And while most had us smiling at the un-special “drink specials,” one from downtown retaurant Karu & Y had us shaking our heads in disbelief. And the chic eatery’s Rob Garcia was just as shocked to learn that a press release bearing the restaurant's name and touting a Memorial Day soiree also contained this line: "All those staying in Miami for Memorial Day Weekend, you know that South Beach becomes unbearable because thousands of ghetto tourists take over…"
"[This is] a huge problem," Garcia said when contacted by Riptide this afternoon. “We approved a flyer for that night, but we didn’t approve this, or anything else.”
For the past seven years, South Beach has been THE hottest Memorial Day destination for young blacks -- the people that party promoters from Mag Entertainments affectionately called “ghetto tourists.” Revelers flock to Miami from all over the country, eager for some major fun in the sun and MTV-worthy celebrity sightings; they often get more than what they see in the videos. The weekend has been plagued for years by complaints of reckless behavior, public drunkenness, and an overzealous police department.
Subtract the lockdown-lovin police and the predominatly black crowd and you have the Winter Music Conference, or any other weekend in November. The only difference is that when WMC comes to town, the MBPD doesn’t start shining up their riot gear and the locals sure aren’t warned to “evacuate” the beach as if it’s the second coming of Hurricane Andrew.
We know everyone marches to the beat of their own drummer. And that my drum may pound out a hard bassline and yours may sound more like my computer crashing. Isn’t that what makes our little city great? Yes, last weekend’s festival might have had you pulling all-nighters, and this weekend you might be in front of a Law & Order marathon, but that’s okay. What’s not okay is the name-calling and judgments.
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This Memorial Day members of the ACLU will be patrolling the streets of South Beach in order to police the police. As for the people at Mag Entertainments, they couldn’t be reached, but Garcia assured New Times that they would be taken care of. The ACLU is here to defend the vacationers, and Rob is dealing with the scum. It’s a start. --Raina McLeod