Coral Gables Here's a little real-estate advice for any savvy entrepreneur with some green to spread around. Miami Beach is too expensive, and everyone knows downtown is riddled with cranes and dump trucks working away at creating a metropolis for the millennium. But where is that diamond in the rough? The undeveloped area waiting to explode with profit and booze is on the outskirts of the Gables, not far from Little Havana. The vacant building that once housed La Moderna Poesia is just the right size and only blocks away from DJ Le Spam's weekly gig, which is always packed. The Suenalo Sound System commune is right around the corner, as are many of the group's fans. A creative person just might be able to revitalize the area into the new hot hang. Don't be turned off by the demise of the previous tenants. Much of Miami doesn't like to read, let alone in Spanish. Much of Miami does, however, love to party.
301 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami We're sure Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes, the perpetrators behind all things Ultra, would love to hear that their little bash by Biscayne Bay is awesome because of the music lineup -- which is in fact awesome. We're sure the City of Miami would like to hear that Ultra is bomshizzle because it brings people of all races and all ages together under one continuous melodious house beat, which it in fact does. But really, folks, we're not gonna kid around here. Ultra is the absolute best festival because it inspires such an uninhibited, gluttonous consumption of recreational drugs. Imagine the extreme pleasures of smoking blunts, snorting coke and special K, and popping Ecstasy pills of every hue in the rainbow -- from noon until well past midnight.
Readers´ Choice: Miami Improv Festival and Coconut Grove Arts Festival (tie)
www.miamichildrensmuseum.org Finally housed in a permanent location, the Miami Children's Museum has been able to turn its attention to developing a world-class educational playground for youngsters. Permanent and temporary exhibits, day camps, and classes are the main draws, but there is also an intriguing film program for budding auteurs that is perhaps the crown jewel (and boasts its own festival). Some parents have complained about the excessive branding from corporate sponsorship. That just sets up the opportunity to teach the little ones an important lesson about tuning out intrusions.
305-604-9282 Do you feel dirty? I mean really dirty? Then you need to have some fine young men and women scrub you down from top to bottom, inside and out, including your tires. With no monstrous machines to smack you around and bend your antenna, you'll be rubbed and caressed until you shine like the day you rolled off the lot. While you enjoy your day at the spa, your owners can relax in the air-conditioned lounge or keep an eye on you from the outdoor patio. A detail wash will set them back only $14 ($17 for SUVs and $20 for trucks and vans), so there will be extra cash to fill you up with the good gas. Do you have a lady driving you around? Tell her Wednesdays are her days to receive a twenty percent discount -- maybe she'll spring for the (regularly priced) $35 wax job.
Readers´ Choice: Busy Bee Car Wash
www.taraink.com An ageless former journalist gleefully packed it in and went over to the dark side with considerable verve and a very adorable fiancé who got his humble start as a clerk at Sephora. This year Tara Solomon opened an office in Los Angeles (new clients include Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson), notched the Evian and Cadillac Escalade accounts, and earned a closetful of designer clothes, gifts from friends (and clients) Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. Locally notable clients include durable hot spots (restaurants the Forge, OLA Miami, and Sushi Samba Dromo) and soon-to-open mega-destination Karu & Y, a nightclub venture by the Ciccone family (i.e., Madonna and peeps). Through it all, Solomon, who possesses a sharp wit, remains serene and approachable, handling harangues from Dolce & Gabbana hangers-on and hanging with Alicia Keys with equal dignity and aplomb.
"I am moving to Washington, D.C., to do sports at the NBC affiliate up there," Czarniak admits. We can only hope the Redskins appreciate who they're getting.
Best sports or concert venue in Miami: Homestead Miami Speedway has my vote for coolest sports event we'll see this year, with the NASCAR season finale Ford 400 "under the lights." That is going to be amazing, but right now there is nothing like the energy inside the American Airlines Arena for a Heat game. Where else can you see Shaq, Dan Marino, Jamie Foxx, and Jay-Z at the same time?
Best reason to live in Miami: Because it's so hard to find a reason not to live in Miami. The sun and the salsa, the music and the dancing (although I'm still learning the latter). There is so much character and style to this city. I love that within a 30-mile distance you can be someplace where the dress code is Miami chic or boots and a cowboy hat.
Best cheap thrill: Walking to the beach from my home. And the ability, at any hour, to grab Cuban sandwiches or empanadas after a night on South Beach.
Best not-so-cheap thrill: Highlights in South Beach. Not sports highlights; I'm talking hair. The best haircut and color in the world is in the hands of Rodrigo and Alysne at Stella Salon in South Beach. And even though it's not so cheap, it is one of the gazillion things I want to take with me and will miss dreadfully about this city when I start my new adventure in Washington, D.C. I would stick them in my suitcase if I could; basically I would pack the entire city.
Best name of a professional sports figure: Skier Picabo Street, New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi, and Minnesota Timberwolf Wally Szczerbiak (because it sounds like my last name) are definitely top favorites, but the best I've come across here in South Florida is Obafemi Ayanbadejo, former Dolphins fullback; he and his brother Brendan definitely have the most mispronounced last name in the NFL. It's eye-en-buhd-aye-zho.
Best sports bar: Not your typical sports bar -- more of a great restaurant/hangout and great place to watch a game: My choice is Tuna's in Aventura. Ask for Pete the bartender; he's the best.
What sports or physical fitness trends do you predict for the year 2035? Thirty years from now, hmmm, I predict Rollerblading. I just hope Rollerblading because I love it and hopefully by then I'll know how to stop without throwing myself into the vegetation on the side of my favorite trail. By the way, that's another definite South Florida bonus: flat terrain. There's no way I will be as graceful on my skates up in D.C. -- too many hills!