For a city that's relatively young, geographically challenged, and sitting at sea level, Miami should be grateful to have even one dignified place to bury its dead. It does. This is the only cemetery with the age and landscaping and, most important, notable permanent residents to make it worth visiting just to visit. And on those terms, this landmark delivers in a big way. Fat old oaks and floppy palms mix with bright bougainvillea and about a dozen other types of trees to provide shade and beauty to the burial ground, which dates from 1897, one year after Miami declared itself a city. Civic pioneer Julia Tuttle may be the most famous of the interred, but there are many other personages who played important roles in Miami's history. The fascination and revelation, though, comes in seeing how the cemetery was divided into sections for "colored," Jewish, and "other" (white) people, then trying to imagine how these folks lived together back in their time. The city's first and greatest cemetery is a moving place to visit, but note the access times. The imposing arched gate is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Check it out while you still can.

Miami City Cemetery
For a city that's relatively young, geographically challenged, and sitting at sea level, Miami should be grateful to have even one dignified place to bury its dead. It does. This is the only cemetery with the age and landscaping and, most important, notable permanent residents to make it worth visiting just to visit. And on those terms, this landmark delivers in a big way. Fat old oaks and floppy palms mix with bright bougainvillea and about a dozen other types of trees to provide shade and beauty to the burial ground, which dates from 1897, one year after Miami declared itself a city. Civic pioneer Julia Tuttle may be the most famous of the interred, but there are many other personages who played important roles in Miami's history. The fascination and revelation, though, comes in seeing how the cemetery was divided into sections for "colored," Jewish, and "other" (white) people, then trying to imagine how these folks lived together back in their time. The city's first and greatest cemetery is a moving place to visit, but note the access times. The imposing arched gate is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Check it out while you still can.

This past November the Miami City Commission passed a vaguely worded, overreaching bit of paranoid legislation that was an embarrassment. Worried about protesters arriving for the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit, the commission, at the police department's urging, passed a law that would make it a crime to possess a variety of innocuous items. They tried to be specific at first -- marbles, water balloons, stilts -- but then they just gave up and stated: "No person may carry or possess ... any materials or substances or pieces of hard materials or substances that are capable of being thrown or projected." Originally the city hall brain trust wanted to have the law apply to a single event of specific duration, but that effort was thwarted when someone pointed out the obvious: It was unconstitutional. So commissioners made it applicable 24-7. King Mango Strut, Miami Book Fair International, you name it -- all were subject to the same Draconian prohibitions. It was a stupid law, they were told it was a stupid law, and eventually they agreed it was stupid. Three months after enacting it, city commissioners repealed it.

This past November the Miami City Commission passed a vaguely worded, overreaching bit of paranoid legislation that was an embarrassment. Worried about protesters arriving for the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit, the commission, at the police department's urging, passed a law that would make it a crime to possess a variety of innocuous items. They tried to be specific at first -- marbles, water balloons, stilts -- but then they just gave up and stated: "No person may carry or possess ... any materials or substances or pieces of hard materials or substances that are capable of being thrown or projected." Originally the city hall brain trust wanted to have the law apply to a single event of specific duration, but that effort was thwarted when someone pointed out the obvious: It was unconstitutional. So commissioners made it applicable 24-7. King Mango Strut, Miami Book Fair International, you name it -- all were subject to the same Draconian prohibitions. It was a stupid law, they were told it was a stupid law, and eventually they agreed it was stupid. Three months after enacting it, city commissioners repealed it.

Actually, make that personalities. With their El Vacilón de la Mañana show on El Zol, these two get away with stuff Howard Stern types can only dream about. Maybe no one at the FCC speaks Spanish. Despite the recent brouhaha over indecency, anybody who regularly listens to radio knows the real shock jocks are celebrated on the seemingly unregulated Hispanic stations. Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero are rated highest among young listeners in Miami, but what makes them really worthy of accolades is their campaign to humiliate world leaders of local interest. In the past months they've managed to place prank phone calls to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and they just barely missed snagging Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was gone when their call was taken by an unamused secretary to the former Haitian president. Beats the hell out of some has-been New Yawker using airtime to humiliate lesbian stripper amputees.

The body contorts.

Masters of forms undefined,

Divine and unmatched.

Men come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, and this venerable clothier has seen them all. The thing about a really good men's suit salesman, what sets him apart from the off-the-rack hacks, is judgment. He has to be able to take the measure of a customer -- and not just literally. Is he a two-button kind of guy, or a three-button? Classic gray, dark blue -- or pimpin' metallic purple with pinstripes? Is this a man who has come to terms with his middle-age waistline, or one who needs to be gently nudged into a new size and style? The guys at Austin Burke (in business since the Forties) are experts in sussing out a man's soul. Stepping into the cavernous warehouse is like a journey back to some earlier time and place that's not quite Philly, not quite Miami, but all good. The salesmen and tailors know their business. So sit in one of the waiting chairs, or lurk among the racks and watch them work. They just might find the right man for you. Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, except Thursday, when they are open until 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, when they don't open until 11:00 a.m.

Men come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, and this venerable clothier has seen them all. The thing about a really good men's suit salesman, what sets him apart from the off-the-rack hacks, is judgment. He has to be able to take the measure of a customer -- and not just literally. Is he a two-button kind of guy, or a three-button? Classic gray, dark blue -- or pimpin' metallic purple with pinstripes? Is this a man who has come to terms with his middle-age waistline, or one who needs to be gently nudged into a new size and style? The guys at Austin Burke (in business since the Forties) are experts in sussing out a man's soul. Stepping into the cavernous warehouse is like a journey back to some earlier time and place that's not quite Philly, not quite Miami, but all good. The salesmen and tailors know their business. So sit in one of the waiting chairs, or lurk among the racks and watch them work. They just might find the right man for you. Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, except Thursday, when they are open until 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, when they don't open until 11:00 a.m.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Like any worth-his-salt railroad baron, Henry Flagler had his tracks laid and then proceeded to build a city around them. Several cities, actually, but we care only about Miami. It's not surprising a museum should honor, and document, this tropical "railroad" town's history. The museum began life under the auspices of the University of Miami at the Richmond Air Station, moved to Broward, then back again. It quickly grew, thanks to donations and wise purchases of old locomotives from around the nation. Included in the collection are gems like Roosevelt's presidential locomotive (Presidential Train One?) and a rescue train that arrived to help victims of the 1935 hurricane. (The museum itself took a direct hit during Hurricane Andrew.) As well as being displayed, several choo-choos are still operating on the property's tracks. Take the kids and explain how millions of Chinese, black, Native American, and other slaves suffered and died to build this great land of ours by driving spikes and laying rails.

A daily existence in which a simple walk down the street can be life-threatening, where the boom-boom-boom of bass music seems to emanate continuously from cars to bicycles, where all of humanity appears to be simultaneously marching toward you -- an existence like that can push even the most placid creature to the verge of homicide. But before you're condemned to death row, step off, ease up, relax. Enter the verdant haven that is the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Founded in 1962, floundering in the Eighties, rescued in the late Nineties by a nonprofit group named the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy, the botanical garden sits on a five-acre plot across from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Aside from housing orchids, topiary, herbs, bromeliads, a Japanese water feature, and palms of all sorts, the garden hosts tai chi and Asian cooking classes, horticultural lectures, and even classical music concerts. Every year a week's worth of events pay homage to the venerable palm tree. Tending the land helps ease a troubled soul and is always welcome. If digging in the dirt becomes a habit, you can show support by becoming a member of the conservancy. It's a serene green space in the center of a hectic city better known for its sun, fun, and surf. And best of all, admission is always free.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®