Aquaknots Dive Center
The attitude of the owners of Aquaknots toward their dive classes is indicative of why they do so well: They just want everybody to join them and get wet. They run their scuba certification classes at cost; $200 buys you the two-week course (two nights a week), including equipment use and two open water dives. "We don't consider the classes as a source of revenue," says co-owner Mario Ginoris, who has been working for the company since he was twelve years old. "We just look at it as a way of making new customers." Instructors at his shop come highly recommended. Ginoris and staff trained Latin crooner Marc Anthony and wife in Tommy Mottola's Miami Beach mansion pool. In addition to carrying a full range of scuba gear, the shop specializes in custom-made spearfishing equipment. Aquaknots is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The attitude of the owners of Aquaknots toward their dive classes is indicative of why they do so well: They just want everybody to join them and get wet. They run their scuba certification classes at cost; $200 buys you the two-week course (two nights a week), including equipment use and two open water dives. "We don't consider the classes as a source of revenue," says co-owner Mario Ginoris, who has been working for the company since he was twelve years old. "We just look at it as a way of making new customers." Instructors at his shop come highly recommended. Ginoris and staff trained Latin crooner Marc Anthony and wife in Tommy Mottola's Miami Beach mansion pool. In addition to carrying a full range of scuba gear, the shop specializes in custom-made spearfishing equipment. Aquaknots is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

This is one of those old washes in Westchester where your car changes hands between rag-wielding immigrants stationed on either side of a tunnel, where the lathering takes place. The quality of the wash is top-notch, as it should be for a business that's been operating continuously for 30 years. The basic scrub plus a thorough vacuum is just $8.95; a full-throttle wash, wax, and interior deodorizing is a steal at $17. But Sun Glo's real value is the entertainment. It's neat to watch your ride pushed along a track through what seems a menacing, dark vortex. But if the mysterious mechanisms of a car wash don't hold your interest, those wacky wash guys also spend the day ragging on each other with hilarious jokes. If you understand Spanish, listen for the ones about Argentines. The last couple of years has seen an unprecedented number of them hired at Sun Glo, to the smirking amusement of the other Latin employees.

This is one of those old washes in Westchester where your car changes hands between rag-wielding immigrants stationed on either side of a tunnel, where the lathering takes place. The quality of the wash is top-notch, as it should be for a business that's been operating continuously for 30 years. The basic scrub plus a thorough vacuum is just $8.95; a full-throttle wash, wax, and interior deodorizing is a steal at $17. But Sun Glo's real value is the entertainment. It's neat to watch your ride pushed along a track through what seems a menacing, dark vortex. But if the mysterious mechanisms of a car wash don't hold your interest, those wacky wash guys also spend the day ragging on each other with hilarious jokes. If you understand Spanish, listen for the ones about Argentines. The last couple of years has seen an unprecedented number of them hired at Sun Glo, to the smirking amusement of the other Latin employees.

Unaffected, in every way, by retro hype, Shoppie Seconds prices its wares, displayed in jumbled, Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse-scene infinity, as if it realizes that some of this stuff is actually not very valuable. You can, nonetheless, snag authentic Atomic Age plastics, mad housewife shifts from the Fifties, and nearly-new mod furniture at u-carry bargain basement prices. A recent expedition yielded four minimalist-yet-chunky dining room chairs for $105, an authentic Joan Jett and the Blackhearts tour T-shirt for $5, and a vintage orange chiffon maxi cocktail dress of indeterminate (Forties? Sixties?) decade origin for $15. And the proprietors -- fun to visit with even if you're not in the buying mood and always generous to the neighborhood's many ne'er-do-wells -- are decent, honest, and willing to make a deal.

Unaffected, in every way, by retro hype, Shoppie Seconds prices its wares, displayed in jumbled, Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse-scene infinity, as if it realizes that some of this stuff is actually not very valuable. You can, nonetheless, snag authentic Atomic Age plastics, mad housewife shifts from the Fifties, and nearly-new mod furniture at u-carry bargain basement prices. A recent expedition yielded four minimalist-yet-chunky dining room chairs for $105, an authentic Joan Jett and the Blackhearts tour T-shirt for $5, and a vintage orange chiffon maxi cocktail dress of indeterminate (Forties? Sixties?) decade origin for $15. And the proprietors -- fun to visit with even if you're not in the buying mood and always generous to the neighborhood's many ne'er-do-wells -- are decent, honest, and willing to make a deal.

Books & Books
Courtesy of Books & Books
Special bookstores are few and far between. If you merely wanted an infinite selection of books or endless browsing you could just go online or to the library, but then you'd miss out on what continues to make Books & Books the literary draw in South Florida: There's a sense of community -- of belonging to Miami and its own internal neighborhood of book lovers. The seemingly endless parade of special events and readings has produced cherished memories for patrons. Most important, the warm, knowledgeable staff makes the shops feel more like personal libraries chock-full of friends. Here, you get a lot more than just books and books.

Special bookstores are few and far between. If you merely wanted an infinite selection of books or endless browsing you could just go online or to the library, but then you'd miss out on what continues to make Books & Books the literary draw in South Florida: There's a sense of community -- of belonging to Miami and its own internal neighborhood of book lovers. The seemingly endless parade of special events and readings has produced cherished memories for patrons. Most important, the warm, knowledgeable staff makes the shops feel more like personal libraries chock-full of friends. Here, you get a lot more than just books and books.

In 1984 Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesized the existence of biophilia, an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." Parks and wilderness areas make people happy because of the abundance of life, according to Wilson's theory, and this holds true of a trip to Santa Barbara Nursery as well. Joe Oves's nursery is home to seven sprawling acres of every type of plant South Florida has to offer, and some it doesn't. Oves has owned this gem for five years, and if you're looking for bargains along with the scenery ($3.50 anthuriums for instance) take a stroll around the nursery. "We don't really specialize in any one thing," Oves says. "But we have a little bit of everything."

In 1984 Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesized the existence of biophilia, an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." Parks and wilderness areas make people happy because of the abundance of life, according to Wilson's theory, and this holds true of a trip to Santa Barbara Nursery as well. Joe Oves's nursery is home to seven sprawling acres of every type of plant South Florida has to offer, and some it doesn't. Oves has owned this gem for five years, and if you're looking for bargains along with the scenery ($3.50 anthuriums for instance) take a stroll around the nursery. "We don't really specialize in any one thing," Oves says. "But we have a little bit of everything."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®