SECOND-BEST REASON TO STAY IN MIAMI FOR THE SUMMER

Back-yard mangoes

They're sweet and juicy, big as softballs, and more numerous than flies on a cow. They're versatile, too. You can make them into breads, cakes, salsas, jams, or chutneys. And if you know someone with a tree (and who doesn't at least have a friend of a friend?), mangoes are free all season, from spring to autumn, when mango-tree owners actually are relieved to see the last one plop to the ground. What else could you ask for from a fruit? Only that it not crack your skull on the way down.

With a powerful singing voice and boundless energy, Sessions conjured up the memorable title role in the best show of the year, staged by Actors' Playhouse. Sessions's Floyd Collins was a high-spirited Huck Finn whose entrapment in an underground cave led him from optimism to panic to horrible despair. Sessions is that rare musical-theater performer who keeps his work fully grounded in emotional truth. He adroitly handled the difficult challenges of his role -- long, musically complex solos and significant athletic demands.

For closing down the MacArthur Causeway, BBII lived up to its name. But we're willing to bet that once the film opens, all will be forgiven. The original Bad Boys was arguably the first film to portray Miami as a truly urban center, with all its glitz and its grit, and we have similar expectations for the sequel. Besides the reteaming of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, aren't you just a teeny bit curious about that causeway sequence? Special mention goes to the practically straight-to-video Big Trouble. Based on the book by Dave Barry, the subject of a nuclear device on a passenger plane was too hot to handle post 9/11. Despite its many flaws, the film boasts some memorable moments of Barry's spot-on skewering of the local scene and its population.

BEST REASON TO STAY IN MIAMI FOR THE SUMMER

Sultry nights

Summer in Miami can make you want to hole up like northerners do during deepest, darkest winter. We race between the cool comfort and the deep freeze of office buildings, malls, and restaurants. We shun our barbecues and stoves (who wants to stand over a hot piece of metal?) and our patios (too many mosquitoes). We curse those monsoon downpours that always seem to catch us when we're wearing good shoes and forgot an umbrella. Yet once the sun goes down, the heat and humidity that torture us in daylight meld to create a softness in the air that positively caresses the skin as you glide through the night.

About seven years ago Robert Moehling, owner of the renowned fruit and vegetable market bearing his name, boarded a collection of turtles and tortoises for his friend Richard Paul, who was leaving town. Moehling was thinking trash removal. The creatures helpfully eat his organic refuse. Now the acre he set aside for the hardbacks has become an intriguing roadside stop. About 40 turtles, including bright-green spur-thighs, so-named because of the large scales jutting from their legs, mix in lethargic grace with others termed simply redfoots and yellowfoots. But clearly the star of the show is Centurion, a Galapagos tortoise who is between 160 and 170 years old, weighs approximately 725 pounds, and ambles about like a slow-moving coffee table. Apparently Centurion had some trouble sharing his space with a large Aldabra turtle named M-2. From the sign on the enclosure: "Centurion #11 isn't usually here because he can't stand M-2.... Centurion has his reasons. M-2 walks, stands, and sits on Centurion's food, cuts him off, makes disgusting noises, and doesn't make the proper Galapagos tortoise head-raising signs in greeting." You'll be happy to know they tolerate each other now, so you can catch both. Best of all, Moehling doesn't charge to view the beasts.

Psssst, this is a good one. Absolutely free parking, with only the thinnest of strings attached. A two-block stretch of Twelfth Street next to Flamingo Park's athletic field is reserved for school buses during high school games, mainly football. It's busy a handful of nights a year. The rest of the time? Absolutely free unlimited parking. No residential permit required, no meters, no threat of getting towed. Park there and it's a quick walk to Lincoln Road, Washington Avenue, and the beach. It's such a good spot it'd be a shame to, you know, publicize it in some free weekly.

The damn car's A/C broke. Hurricane season has begun, with temperatures never dipping below the average on planet Mercury. And you're stuck in that perpetual traffic jam next to the airport. Life couldn't get worse. But hark! There is a very thin silver lining. Bring on the heat! Bring on the sweat! Bring on the tractor trailer that cuts in front of you and comes to a complete standstill! You are experiencing the cheapest and easiest diet program known to Miami Man. The longer it takes to get to Kendall, the more the pounds will melt away (do carry a water bottle, though, as we want you to remain alive). And remember, if you do happen to gain back a few pounds, September is just as hot!

Outhouse of mirrors. First drink: It's a fun house. Second drink: It's the ever-receding reflection of your sense of self. Third drink: It's the Versailles (the one in France, not Little Havana)!

During his first season in aqua and orange, the dreadlocked one busted out for 1853 yards on the ground. That broke the Dolphins' single-season rushing record and garnered for Williams the NFL's rushing title. (He also broke Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard's record for most coverage in a single season.) The Dolphonics gave up two first-round and two fourth-round draft picks to grab Williams from New Orleans and have him run roughshod over arch-rival New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills. Naturally Miami's NFL franchise, in typical fashion, wasted (check that: obliterated) Williams's banner year by missing the playoffs in yet another end-of-the-season collapse.

Miami-Dade Transit's Route B is a study in contrasts. Originating downtown, your bus soon offers a postcard view of the concrete jungle you left behind and of the Brickell skyline as it crosses the Rickenbacker Causeway on the way to the manicured municipality of Key Biscayne. This trip affords access to several of Miami's prime recreation locales. You can hop off to visit Virginia Key's sandy coves or Seaquarium; the golf course, tennis courts, and beach of Crandon Park; or stay to the end of the line to reach Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (for the park, the bus sign must indicate "Key Biscayne by Way of Crandon Boulevard"). By taking public transport you also save on the Bill Baggs admission fee.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®