Best Reason Not To Go To Cocowalk

Because it's there.
An unlikely combination in an unlikely place. During the day this little storefront, wedged between an antique shop and a plumbing-supply store near the Miami-Coral Gables frontier, is mostly a haircut hangout. Nelson, an affable, experienced barber, dispenses 'dos and relationship advice, in both English and Spanish, to customers who recline in two barbers' chairs. DJ Flex Perez devotes one wall to baggy jeans and T-shirts the size of pup tents. Perez also oversees a rack of vinyl for party-spinning (heavy on rap and house), a few CDs, some caps, and some videos for sale. But the place's real genius lies in the crossmarketing. On his business cards, Perez emphasizes Nelson's scissors skillz, including "Fadez," "Caesars," and "Close Cuts." If you're kickin' it old-school, Nelson offers a half-price senior-citizen discount on weekdays -- five bucks.
A John Deere lawn mower, a pair of K2 snow skis, used IBM computers, Madonna's Erotica CD, a metal folding bed, an antique Kodak camera, silver chains, Sony cordless telephones, a Huffy mountain bike, a pair of Pioneer stereo speakers, gold watches, a pneumatic hammer, a JVC car radio, a Panasonic video camera, used Nintendo video games, and best of all: no guns.
Metal Arte is one of those places you could walk past and never notice, partly because of the distraction offered by the numerous sex-and-drug transactions in this somewhat sleazy neighborhood. But don't let the unseemly stuff deter you. In a strip of industrial buildings just north of NE 79th Street, you'll find José Trujillo, his son, and one or two helpers working away in a small garage workshop. Without visiting you could never imagine the exquisite creations that emerge from this dingy joint. But ask the Trujillos to show you. José made jewelry in his native Colombia; here he designs much larger baubles -- all sorts of furniture as well as items large and small, decorative and functional. Just about everything is fashioned from discarded metal, marble, glass, and other raw materials. Tables, chairs, candlestick holders, mirror frames, cabinets, whimsical bric-a-brac, and elegant doohickeys. Each piece is stunningly original. Prices and workshop hours are variable, but generally Metal Arte is open every weekday and sometimes Saturday during regular business hours.
Whether your game is baseball, boxing, or Ping-Pong, Midway Sports has your bases covered. This small shop is packed with gloves, bats, football helmets, shoulder pads, roller skates, and hockey sticks. The wall of balls (volley-, soccer-, basket-, foot-) even has junior sizes. Midway doesn't carry golf equipment, but hey, that's not really a sport, is it? The footwear selection is ample and includes cleats. Attendants will help you find stuff; they'll even restring your old tennis racket for about $11. Midway also caters to local teams, hence the racks of baseball pants for $16 per pair, and coaching accessories like whistles and watches. For those too lazy to actually sweat, there's an assortment of pro-team caps, jerseys, banners, and posters.
What's impressive about the beer selection at Milam's is that it's so civilized. All those nations coexisting peacefully on the shelves, waiting to be sampled by someone who likes to raise a glass and toast the merits of ale, porter, and stout. The assortment probably isn't the biggest in town, but who wants to pick through the undesirables when this midsize market has done it for you? Milam's carries a bevy of imports, including Italian Peroni, Canadian Molson Golden and Labatt Blue, Irish Guinness, Scottish Tennant's, Japanese Sapporo, and Czech Staropramen. The grocery gives good representation to our island friends, too: Kalik from the Bahamas, Blackbeard Ale from St. Croix, and Carib, hailing from Trinidad and Tobago. You'll also find Sierra Nevada, Hurricane Reef, and Pete's. A few good ciders are available as well, such as Hornsby's and Cider Jack. And don't turn your nose up at the domestics (you weren't too good for them once upon a time). Plenty of us still swear by the good ol' red, white, and blue: Schaefer, Schlitz, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Old Milwaukee. Nice.
Okay, so Burdines isn't one of those megaoutlets that carries everything from bottles to baby-joggers. It's a department store that specializes in clothing, especially baby wear. Need booties for a newborn? Check out the Carter's display. Overalls for a six-month-old? The Osh Kosh B'Gosh rack's got the togs. And the selection of Tommy Hilfiger is so extensive it's hard not to be envious of the wee one's choices these days. Of course Burdines has the practical stuff, too: onesies and pj's and socks for all sizes of funny little feet. Best of all the goods frequently are on sale, so even the most made-poor-by-baby parents can outfit their kids to the nines.
Fruit and vegetables don't get any fresher than this. All you need to do is grab a bucket and choose the best ones. The selection here would make the produce manager at any supermarket green with envy. Amid the verdant rows that stretch for about 80 acres are basil, parsley, sunflowers, strawberries, raspberries, five varieties of tomato, cabbage, corn, five kinds of eggplant, eleven types of pepper, turnip greens, collards, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and more. If you're fasting or even if you're a pure carnivore, fresh flowers are available for the picking. Then there's the scarecrow, whose dangling stuffed sock adds a tad of obscenity to this fresh-air activity. Strawberry milkshakes, hot dogs, and sweet roasted corn are served at a stand in front. The farm belongs to the Norman Brothers Produce company, which also runs a store at 7621 SW 87th Ave. Granma's is seasonal, opening in November and closing in early May.
Aquaknots Dive Center
Many of Aquaknots' devoted customers have been patronizing this shop since it opened in the early Seventies, and they're not about to go anywhere else. The proprietors, Manny Seoane and Mario Ginoris, have been around for quite awhile, too. Both were on the sales staff before deciding to buy the store ten years ago. Aquaknots maintains one of the largest inventories of dive supplies in town, and it's the only place specializing in spearfishing equipment. They even produce custom-made spears. Naturally Aquaknots offers classes certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors; the beginner course lasts two and a half weeks and includes four open-water dives.
Clothing peddlers usually triumph in this category, but for 2000 we look past the duds to Senzatempo, which means "without time" in Italian. For ten years this store has featured some of the most interesting, top-shelf, vintage material in the area. Besides stocking distinctive designer furnishings from the Roaring Twenties and the mod Seventies, this well-located place offers rare finds like a table crafted from the wing of a Forties-era DC-3 airplane. There also are unique knickknacks, such as novelty guns and unusual light fixtures. And Senzatempo carries a wide selection of vintage watches, the first love of owners Massimo Barracca and Matthew Bain. Indeed Barracca and Bain are such authorities that auction houses sometimes call for expert advice on timepieces.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®