A recent poll found that more than 70 percent of registered voters in Miami-Dade County oppose expanding the urban development boundary westward for development. While increased traffic, water shortages, and environmental protection were all good reasons to protest suburban expansion, perhaps there's a sense of cultural responsibility as well. Grunwald, a reporter for the Washington Post, shows us that stewardship is a relatively new attitude toward the River of Grass. He traces the history of the Everglades' destruction from when Spanish invaders sacked the Calusa Indians to the diminution of its annual floods through canals and levees in the Sixties. He posits that the $7.8 billion Everglades revival bill, signed in 2000, might not live up to its promise of reversing 50 years of harm. Most of all, his account of past blunders testifies to the need for protective vigilance today. (Simon & Schuster, $27)
Ever wonder why Miami Beach's Eden Roc Hotel enjoys such a lovely view of a practically blank wall on its southern flank? Back in 1955, when owner Morris Lansburgh asked noted architect Morris Lapidus to design the Eden Roc, Lapidus answered with a hotel grander than his previous triumph, the Fontainebleau next door. This displeased hotelier Ben Novack, who wanted his Fontainebleau to be the most extravagant and exquisite resort on the Beach, so Novack retaliated by building the Fontainebleau's boxy addition, which ruined not only the Eden Roc's view but also poolside sunbathing. Both the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau are scheduled for extensive renovations, but it was recently announced that one of the world's priciest "walls of spite" would stay.
So he's not actually a local sports coach since stepping down December 12. But since Über-coach and Heat team president Pat Riley took (back) the reins from Van Gundy, the Armani-clad Hall of Famer's unspectacular showing has proven exactly how good his successor/predecessor really was. Riley broke up a team that was within a game of reaching the finals last year, signing and trading for a couple of score-first offensive players and veteran point guard Gary Payton over the off-season. The result has been a Heat team that scores about a point less per game than it did last year. Van Gundy had the singularly one-dimensional Damon Jones (a three-point specialist who is perhaps the worst defender in the league) playing unexpectedly great ball and scoring only a point less last year than his replacement, high-price Jason Williams, scores this year. Eddie Jones, who scored and provided the team's best perimeter defense last year, had almost exactly the same number of points per game last season as scoring machine Antoine Walker (brought in after Jones was traded) scores this year. Not that the team is bad -- they're headed for the playoffs, with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. But they have shown none of the pass-first team basketball that characterized Van Gundy's two-year tenure, including a stint before he stepped down this season, when he had the Heat, sans Shaq (sidelined with a long-term injury), playing .500 ball.
There's this thing that's been invented. It's called "blogging." All the kids do it. Seriously, though, online journaling is so four years ago, kind of like Oakland Raiders jackets and Nike pool shoes. Stay away. But the Internet -- the Internet is good. Virtually all the world's knowledge is contained online. When it comes to life in Mia-muh, though, you don't need to be Googling your neighbor to see if he's really listed on Latinamericancupid.com. The basis of needing to know, is, well, needing to know. And what you need to know is stuff like: Is the entire interstate system closed because a part of a crane might fall onto a downtown street? Did the Marlins finally break the tie and win in the 27th inning last night? Who has Suge Knight shot at the Red Room now? And, most important, when will the damn electricity/cable/phone be turned back on in the aftermath of this week's hurricane? NBC 6, the television station, did heroic work in 2005 in the aftermaths of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma; the station took over the FM and AM radio frequencies of several stations, including public channel WLRN, to keep people up to date about the havoc wrought by the storms, and bore the dismaying news about utility restoration. Online, the NBC affiliate, which is based in Miramar and is a hub for the network's national news video feeds, truly excels. During regular times, the site give updates with almost supernatural frequency about the critical quotidian details of Miami urban life, including gas prices, thunderstorm movement via the station's excellent multiview Doppler and vector radar systems, traffic tieups, and the occasional kook barricading himself in a Metrorail station. The site also has a scroll of world news courtesy of its partnership with MSNBC, and does a superb job of gathering sports stats from every team imaginable, all the way down through high school intramurals. There's also a pleasant smattering of the nut tales that keep surfers coming back, such as the recent headliner "Viewers React to Paula Abdul's Odd Behavior."
There's no doubt Miami is a party city. You don't have to look hard to find debauchery and loud music any night of the week. But every year the beginning of spring brings more than flowers and showers. The parties become uncontrollable, the banging beats are ubiquitous, and out-of-towners almost outnumber locals. This week is also known to electronic music lovers as Winter Music Conference. Alcohol, music, and people penetrate nearly every crevice from the Beach to downtown, from big commercial clubs to hidden dives and lounges. Even retail stores partake in the festivities. Joe "Budious" Gray (half the Aquabooty team) explains, "Music conference is when Miami as a whole is finally on our tip." That tip is a huge party driven by the love of music. It's so massive that clubs reach their maximum capacity before the night's climax, á la DJ Harvey and Miguel Migs at Pawn Shop. As if the partying going on during the official conference week weren't enough, dozens of pre- and post-WMC shindigs keep heads bobbing for a few extra days. This year's conference was marked by two musical monstrosities: Global Gathering and Ultra. Both concerts featured a bevy of DJs while splitting genre borders with rock performances by the likes of Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, and the Killers. And let's not forget the other music fests such as M3 and Remix Hotel, all taking place during Conference (with a capital C). Nothing else in Miami compares to WMC's eclectic blend of music and top-name artists. Think Sasha and Digweed, Frankie Knuckles, James Holden, Little Louie Vega, Richie Hawtin, and countless others. As a result, these thousands of DJs -- national, international, and local -- energized Miami and its people into a sweet and unforgettable insomnia for more than a week. No worries, though, there are 55 weeks left over to recover.
She clutches the Emmy and the Peabody, thanks to her enlightening, engaging writings about some of America's most powerful leaders. Take her variegated look at the Gipper in Reagan: An American Story, a documentary that first aired on The American Experience. Or her powerful, moving piece about Ike, also for The American Experience, which preceded the recent crowd of Eisenhower-inspired articles and films (such as this year's documentary Why We Fight). The Miami writer/documentary filmmaker also received a nomination this year from the prestigious Writers Guild of America for her documentary Fidel Castro, which aired last summer on PBS. Bosch was born in Cuba, fled with her family when she was fifteen years old, and moved to New Jersey, where she excelled. She skipped her senior year of high school to enter Rutgers University and then received a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. While working on her dissertation in Central America, she discovered her passion for writing documentaries. "I fell in love with the discipline of writing for the ear, of getting the information in there without losing the flow," she says. Bosch's work is unflinching, grand in scope, and deep in reporting. It marries innate talent with great passion and focus. Bosch is editing her latest documentary, a look at yellow fever. It will undoubtedly carry its own fever-pitch buzz.
You can find fancier and cleaner, but you won't find a restroom with more character than those on the third floor of the county courthouse. They retain much of their circa-1928 charm, with antique plumbing fixtures, stone stall dividers, and softly worn wooden stall doors. Cool geometric floor tiles and a great view of downtown make for a delightful potty stop.
Cabrera-lovers have constructed an Internet site that carries this disclaimer: "Everyone in this group is considered Miguel's number one fan. Please do not argue over it!" The group could include any pro baseball loon in South Florida -- those who watched Cabrera rotate positions with ease during the Marlins' 2003 World Series run, as well as those who will watch him perform as the best player on a lousy team in 2006. Stat freaks adore him. He was third in the majors in batting average in 2005. The youngest ever to have back-to-back 30-home-run seasons (Albert Pujols, a future Hall of Famer, was 80 days older). The fourth-youngest to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season (behind Mel Ott, Al Kaline, and Ted Williams, HOFers all), and the youngest to do all of this while scoring 100 runs. All fine and good, but he wouldn't be here if the kids didn't love him too. Now 23 years old, Cabrera looks just old enough to drive the SUV that youngsters follow like a rolling caramel apple.
"For the first time ever, homeowners will be able to get rid of their bulky items and trash any day of the week!" read the enthusiastic flyer that announced the opening of the City of Miami Mini-Dump last year. In other words: Stop dumping your crap in the vacant lot across the street, yo. Let's clean this bitch up. Now household garbage, your daughter's broken stroller, those palm fronds you finally dragged from the roof, the rusty washing machine in the garage, the wood scraps from your cabinet-making project, and your old tires (up to four, no rims) have a home outside your own. The minidump is open Monday to Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wear your miniskirt in solidarity and bring proof of residency. Everything in its place.
Miami is a city of immigrants, including the leafy kind. Early pioneers David and Marian Fairchild planted and grew many exotic plants, but it's a Madagascar native that has given Miami so much local color. The royal poinciana is a large, lovely tree that turns fiery red in early summer. Its blossoms are so intoxicating that for the past 68 years, Miamians have honored the royal poinciana with its own festival. Highlights include a trolley tour, luncheon, and a peek at the Fairchilds' historical home, the Kampong. It ends with the crowning of the Poinciana Queen. This year's fiesta falls on June 11.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®