Best Place to Donate Your Clothes 2008 | Chapter 2 Clothing | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

During segregation, D.A. Dorsey was Miami's first black millionaire and a real estate mogul with property from Fisher Island to Broward County. He contributed a lot to the community. But today, decades after his death, the old man continues to give. His two-story home in Overtown, originally built in 1914, is filled with high-quality used clothing along with new overstock and samples from brands such as Anne Klein. If discarded garments, accessories, and shoes don't meet the stringent standards of the store, nothing goes to waste: The staff sorts through everything and donates what it can't use to a nearby church. Women in job training programs receive $100 gift certificates to shop there for job interview outfits. Profits go to charity. And the fun part is that after you drop off your old stuff, you can shop for something new. Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

There are some days when you just want to munch alone, away from computers, co-workers, and crowded eateries. Not to be goth or emo or macabre or anything, but what better place than a peaceful city cemetery, albeit a slightly run-down one? One entrance is across the street from a hardscrabble grocery store, the other on gritty North Miami Avenue. Inside, however, is a peaceful, historical haven filled with palm trees and stately grave markers that date as far back as the turn of the 20th Century. Built in 1887, one year after the city was incorporated, the cemetery holds the likes of Julia Tuttle (the mother of Miami) and Lawson Thomas (the first black judge in the South since Reconstruction). The Burdines department store family has a stately granite crypt, and the Art Deco touches on some graves are stunningly gorgeous. Park your car under a tree and enjoy this downtown oasis amid the dead — sometimes contemplating one's own mortality at lunch makes the rest of the workday seem, well, insignificant.

Have you ever eaten a piece of fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding? Or one that smells like Juicy Fruit gum? How about root beer? Thanks to South Florida's subtropical climate, the black sapote, the jackfruit, and the sapodilla — which offer these tastes — can all be sampled at a beautiful 35-acre oasis west of Krome Avenue and north of Homestead. Although you can't pick the fruit from the trees, you can eat whatever has fallen to the ground, except for the ackee, which is poisonous if you consume it before ripening. (For this reason, the ackees are fenced off.) At least once a month, the park has an interesting, usually fruit- or plant-related festival. They celebrate orchids, palms, and rare fruits, for instance. Or you can just wander around the grounds anytime, marveling at the oddities of the South Florida soil. Park admission is $6 for adults, $1.50 for children.

Photo by osseous / Flickr

Nothing says, "Get thee to a nunnery, reality!" like removing one's fig leaf in public. After all, what better escape from our escapist society than to turn to one's left and drink in the canvas of a 60-year-old man's withered equipment, marooned on his leg like some hideous snail that has lost its shell. Absent airbrushing and product placement, the human body truly is a marvel and an occasion to a meditate on the nature of a God who would outfit His people so poorly for life outside of air-conditioning. Next to a crustacean, our armor seems flimsy and riddled with extraneous holes. Our feet are too small, and more often than not, when presented with the nakedness of our species, we cringe in disgust and yell, "Cover up! Help us, Marc by Marc Jacobs!" But no such veil lurks here, and the visitors to the Naturist Beach become like Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, eyelids forced open by the bland splendor of Eden. In about 30 minutes, you'll be begging to be cast back into the wilderness of corporate brand names.

You know Card Sound Road? That cryptic stretch of asphalt on your way to the Keys? Were you ever tempted to turn your steering wheel to the left just to check it out, but because of the dirt road and lack of traffic signs felt, well, a little paranoid?

Suck it up (along with a spliff) and take a 20-minute cruise into the depths of this unknown part of upper Key Largo, passing along the way lush mangroves, snippets of sea, and rustic houseboats spotted with sunburnt fishermen. Once you hit the toll booth, you'll immediately hear the pluck of honky-tonk booming from a weathered shack of a restuarant. Park the car, let the smoke out through your windows, and walk into the 60-year-old Alabama Jack's — one of the best places in South Florida for you to simmer out after blazing.

High? No big. Most people here — an assortment of odds and ends (emphasis on odd) — won't care. Take a seat at a waterside table. Order up locally made brews such as Key West Lager and Sunset Ale and indulge your senses in the salty smell of the sea and the rowdy rumble of idling motorcycles. The sights here are priceless — fish swimming below you, tropical birds flying above you, a drunk regular spinning in circles on the dance floor at noon as a band plays "Redneck Woman."

And although Alabama Jack's has enough going on visually to amuse you, it's the king of all munchies that'll hook ya. Their conch fritters — golden, sweet, and fluffy — will keep you camped out on the wooden deck for hours ... or at least until you figure out how to concoct a bong out of all your empty cocktail sauce containers.

A playlist to describe Kendall's perfect place to keep the pace:

1. "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago: Just like the public park utopia painted in this bouncy, horn-heavy song, Hammocks Community Park has a similar vibe. In the parking lot, warm up your legs by taking a brisk stroll past a playground pumped full of tots. As brass instruments intensify, step onto a paved path that leads into a jungle of bleachers. As the smoky scent of grilling hot dogs slithers from the concession stand and into your nostrils, kick up a leg and stretch while you watch a baseball game.

2. "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol: As you walk past the park and onto the jogging trail, note the "No Trespassing" sign, but try not to sweat it. You're in Miami. Do as Miamians do — regard the law as a mere suggestion.

3. "The Great Salt Lake" by Band of Horses: Embark on your jog as soon as this grandiose folk rock song starts to flourish. Trot past wide, green fields and pick-up soccer games. As you begin to turn a corner, you'll notice a lake, clear and blue, greeting you with spritzes of cool water.

4. "Cars" by Gary Numan: Because you won't see a single one.

5. "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen: With seven miles of road ahead of you, you'll feel like the very embodiment of this blue-collar poet's signature song.

6. "Swimmers" by Broken Social Scene: Dedicated to the man-made beaches that dot the trail every mile or so. Like this song, the small beaches are mellow, refreshing, and serene.

7. "Don't Stop" by Brazilian Girls: Simply because you won't want to. Regardless of the scorching heat, you'll be shaded by rows of royal Poincianas.

8. "Amsterdam" by Peter Bjorn and John: While jogging under bridges and around twisting canals that connect to larger lakes, you might think, if only for a moment, you're in Holland.

9. "Bougainvillea" by Great Southern: This romantic ballad is great for a cool-down, as you walk under overpasses drenched in the purple flowering vines.

10. "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell: Because unlike most former paradises in West Kendall, this one has yet to be paved and turned into a parking lot.

As charming as they are, too many "nature" trips are pretentiously involved in removing you from the city and placing you in counterfeit communion with what passes for untouched land. Why bother with phony baloney when Miami has a gorgeous urban and wild landscape you can appreciate fully from the inside of a kayak? Launch yourself from Pelican Harbor Park into an emerald green wonderland populated with dolphins, manatees, and even the occasional alligator. Glide over fields of sea grass or stop at one of several postage-stamp-size islands as you paddle south toward the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Do observe signs that tell you to keep out of the bird rookeries, though, but draw close enough to enjoy the fowl cacophony. At the last island before the causeway, turn west toward Morningside Park. Either call it a day here (if you use a second vehicle), or do the return trip up the shoreline. At the mouth of the Little River, a quick detour around Belle Meade Island will let you peek at a few squawking human roosts as well. Then it's back over to Pelican Harbor and your own nest.

Best Place to Learn to Kill Someone with One Punch

The Kung Fu Connection

Deep within the dynasty of North Miami, Si Fu Gus Rubio imparts the ancient arts of Shaolin and Cheung Kune Pai Kung Fu. He knows the animal forms — monkey, dragon, crane, etc. — like the back of his iron palm.

Laden with stoic statuary, ancient weapons, and students of all ages breaking things with their fists, Rubio's studio looks like something out of a final scene of a Bruce Lee movie. (Yes, it's named for one.)

The whole one-punch-kill thing is not easily learned. Only a lone student of Rubio's is actually studying the iron palm technique, and he's been a pupil since age four. Short and warm, Rubio also plays bass and guitar in a band called Face of Abandon. Ask to sit in on a class. You won't be disappointed.

How tawdry those corporate water-cooler romances. How tacky the holiday party punch-bowl hookup and subsequent Friday in the exact same pantsuit from Thursday. But a shared-office-space romance? That's hot. You won't find any Brickell law-bots in the new Brikolodge Coworking Community, just Varvatos-sandals-and-Trovata-pants-wearing freelance correspondents recently returned from a revolution in Sri Lanka; Ivy League-grad fiction writers arguing with each other about whether Sebald's style is more Proustian or Jamesian; and documentary filmmakers editing bomb blasts on their MacBook Airs. So you end up after "work" at PS14, making out with him while dancing to Santogold? Don't come in the next day. Hell, he might not even be there. His grant might have run out or someone may have assassinated the defense minister of Paraguay. It's a big world, and Brikolodge is just one small intersection on the information highway. A few years later, you might stop in to finish up that chapbook, and there he is, over by the coffee machine talking to Alphonse about the best brand of pen to use in an emergency tracheotomy. Your eyes meet and all those old feelings come rushing back. "Of all the co-working communities for creative people in all the world, you had to walk into mine...."

Rule #1: Don't name your team "Balls Deep" or "Schweddy Balls" or "Blue Ballers" or "Huge Knockers" or "Rubber Balls and Lick Her." (Though, just for the record, these names are awesome.) Rule #2: Don't be the über-competitive guy who argues calls, starts fights, and pegs girls as hard as he can to turn that oh-so-crucial second-inning double-play. Rule #3: Don't be the guy who shows up drunk, keeps drinking, and pukes into the cooler. (Though, just for the record, that would be awesome.) Rule #4: Don't be the "funny guy" — hey, look at me! — who always wears Kurt Rambis-style protective eyewear, high socks, Chuck Taylors, and short-shorts. True, every team needs that guy; just don't be that guy. Rule #5: Don't start hitting on your teammates after the first game. Rule #6: Hit on the other team's teammates after the first game to make your teammates jealous. Rule #7: Don't be the guy who has the deal locked up and then does 11 Jäger-bombs at the Sandbar, passes out in a booth, and gets dicks drawn on his forehead. (Though, again, that would be awesome.) Rule #8: If you do end up dating that gorgeous art dealer with the English accent and absolutely no athletic ability (at least with a kickball), don't make a funny reference to your team name midcoitus, such as "Who's ball deep, now?" or "I guess I have to turn in my Blue Ballers shirt." Rule #10: Jog, don't run — no one likes Schweddy balls.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®