It's a relative newbie, with a little less than a year under its belt, but Beached Miami has quickly proven itself one of the best reads in the South Florida blogosphere. With great writing, quality photography, and creative features, Miami natives Jordan Melnick (a journalist) and Robby Campbell (a photographer and songwriter) are out to unveil the true essence of the Magic City. Coverage focuses heavily on music, art, and culture, but readers will also find insightful posts about politics and history, as well as news commentary and interviews. The blog excels at interacting with its audience through participatory activites such as caption contests for Campbell's cartoon sketches and a Valentine's Day playlist where Melnick featured songs suggested via Twitter throughout the day. For those not inclined to read, podcasts summarize each week's events. Beached Miami has set out to highlight the side of Miami that isn't all glitter and fake, and so far it has done a superb job.
"RT if you love brown skin." This is not a Manny Mangos original, but it pretty sums up the vibe of this quirky local character's Twitter feed. Who is Manny Mangos? You've seen him around. He's tall and lanky, all Miami. Manny plays garage music, not very often, but he does it. The thing that makes him stand out on the Internet are his tweets. The people of Come On Bro, a weekly party housed at Villa 221, were so inspired by the Mangos' insane little tweets that they created a photocopied zine of the megalomaniac's words and called it Spring Break Starts Now. The gems inside include "wish BK delivered" and "follow me, in real life." His tweets are enlightening. "mEmBeR when girls would pretend to be bi in middle school for attention?" Middle school? Which middle school was that? Back in the day, girls waited till high school to do it with other girls for attention. He makes commentary on sexuality ("Since the end is near spread that seed") and reflects on religion (his Good Friday tweet read, "rip Jesus"). A regular thinker, this guy is. His grammar is not always the best, but he definitely has the right attitude to get the world at his feet. Follow him on Twitter, not in real life.
Ah, if there is one thing we always look forward to when we travel through the Twitterverse, it's catching up with the pseudo-avatar of Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh. Playing on the baller's perceived lack of toughness, @notchrissybosh amps up the former Raptor's feminine side with some revealing tweets, such as asking Twitter followers to guess what "color panties [he's] wearing during the game," or mentioning he "can't keep [his] tongue in [his] mouth" when an opposing player bends over, or talking about showing up for a "K-Y party."
Surfside Beach
Jessica Gibbs
New Yorkers and Midwesterners who spend a summer day at Jones Beach or some lake adjacent to a nuclear power plant don't mind getting pricked by a used syringe, stung by a jellyfish hiding in a floating Wendy's cup, and pissed on by a naked toddler. They'll still be sunburned and happy on the long trip home. But in South Florida, where many of us live within walking or short-driving distance from a beach that looks like it was ripped from a postcard, we can get pretty spoiled. To us, South Beach's famous shores — clogged with gobs of humanity sweating, bleating, posturing, preening, and moaning — have begun to resemble a DMV waiting room (but with more sand and topless Brazilian knockouts). So thank the Lord for Surfside's pristine, beautiful, and — most important — never-crowded sands. Douche-tastic Jersey Shore wannabes don't travel this far north, and loud children have mostly been replaced by elderly couples. Unlike neighboring Bal Harbour, this beach isn't crawling with snobby rich people glaring as if you stole their Grey Poupon. Surfside Police officers patrol on ATVs but typically don't bother you if you're discreetly drinking wine or beer, and sometimes you can even get away with bringing a small dog. And yes, you perv: There are topless Brazilian babes in Surfside too.
SoundScape Park
There is something stirring, even transcendent, about good public parks. They are the flip side to our collective neuroses, the yin to the voyeuristic yang of Charlie Sheen and Real Housewives obsessions that we secretly share throughout the week. Rather than wallowing in one another's misery on reality TV, however, a well-designed civic space brings us together for a few fleeting hours to celebrate the fact that we humans are still capable of creating beautiful things from time to time. Case in point: Miami Beach's new SoundScape Park, best known as the strange mix of palm fronds and alien structures to the east of the New World Center. Of course, the park almost didn't happen. When architect Frank Gehry complained there were insufficient funds for the park, city hall refused to cough up more cash. Luckily, Dutch firm West 8 stepped in to create a park that is half high-tech auditorium, half leafy oasis. And although SoundScape feels a bit barren at the moment, it will fill out over time as the palm trees grow and blood-red bougainvilleas creep over the park's metallic pergolas. But the real beauty of the 2.5-acre installation is its Wallcasts: concerts (beamed live from inside the concert hall) and movies projected onto the 7,000-square-foot ExoStage outside the New World Center. During Wallcasts, you can find bums seated next to beach bunnies, and real estate moguls sharing food with teenage skateboarders. For a couple of hours, peace reigns. Then everyone goes back to being a dick. SoundScape Park is open sunrise to midnight.
South Pointe Park
Photo by Bruno Fontino / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com
At the southernmost tip of South Beach, where the ocean meets the bay, lies South Pointe Park. City of Miami Beach officials took their sweet time renovating this area, but they did a smashing job. Lots of detail was put into this little urban oasis — benches, green space, even man-made rolling hills. That's all nice, but what makes this park spectacular is the view of the ships floating into and out of the Port of Miami. Seafaring vessels have always carried the romance of long voyages. Now you can follow the centuries-old tradition of greeting these boats. Choose a spot by the water, spread out a blanket, and uncork a bottle of wine. Gigantic container ships pass by so closely you think you can touch them. They arrive from China, Argentina, and Europe in the afternoon, toting cars and goods. Cruise ships depart for the Caribbean in the evening, carrying families and honeymooners. Pick a porthole and make up a story about the people inside the cabin; then wish them bon voyage as you sip your vino under the clear Miami Beach sky.
This is a great place to spend an idle morning or an active afternoon with your best friend. There are really two separate, fenced-in dog parks: one for small dogs (less than 35 pounds) and one for big dogs (more than 35 pounds), so Chowder can easily make friends his own size. You don't have to worry about potential play dates being a bad influence on your beloved pooch either; dogs must have valid tags to enter the playground. There are lots of potential play dates for those at the other end of the leash too. Parkgoers run the gamut from little abuelitas to irreverent hipsters. Aside from this being the perfect place for your hound to burn off some energy — each side of the park has a king-of-the-hill ramp, a tire jump, a window jump, doggie comfort stations, and water spray areas — you'll be surrounded by tall trees, a lake, and miles and miles of nature's splendor. Tropical Park's Bark Park is the ideal spot to let your little snookie-wookums loose while you read a book and enjoy lunch on one of the many picnic tables or benches. However, you'll probably just want to sit back and watch the adorable high jinks unfold as a French bulldog and a teacup Yorkie try to pick up the same miniature poodle.
Fifty nautical miles east of South Beach's art deco decadence, a seven-mile strip of land moonlights as Miami's Bahamian playground. Want to spend a Sunday scarfing down fresh conch fritters and drinking fruity cocktails topped with paper umbrellas? Then split the cost of gas on your rich friend's boat and leave the country for a few hours. Bimini is closer than Key West and cheaper than a couple of piña coladas at Mangos. In the '30s, Ernest Hemingway lived on North Bimini while writing To Have and Have Not. If he were alive today, he'd probably buy his bait and tackle at Fisherman's Village, a marketplace adjacent to the 5-year-old Bimini Bay Resort, and hit the deep blue in search of 500-pound marlins. He'd get drunk at a swim-up bar, hop on a golf cart, and cruise the island for Bahamian hotties. Then he'd jump on his boat, Pilar, and motor back to Miami just in time for a Heat game. Isn't South Florida great?
We live at the edge of the miraculous, or so wrote Henry Miller. The fantastical can be tough to spot, however, when you have a homogenized skyline of Bed, Bath & Beyonds and Staples. But the miraculous is out there; you just need the right guide. Bas Fisher Invitational, an artist-run gallery in the Design District, can lead us out of our doldrums with its trio of Weird Miami bus tours. Local artists Christy Gast, Adler Guerrier, Clifton Childree, and Kevin Arrow have navigated yellow school buses through side streets and around back yards, jolting us awake to how wonderfully strange Miami still is. The magic bus has pulled into Little Haiti farms — tiny fertile crescents that brim with emus, goats, and plywood tree houses. It has visited a Native American ceremonial sand mound, plantation slave quarters, and an aquaculture lab where complex, glowing sea creatures are cloned. It has stopped at a Tibetan Buddhist Dharma center tucked inside a seemingly typical suburban house with a back yard full of stupas. The Weird Miami tours remind us it's possible to escape our mundane reality through a simple staycation. It's like Mr. Miller always said: One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.
Early last season, Panthers left winger David Booth was coming off the best year of his career (2009) and hoping to earn a spot on the U.S. team ahead of the 2010 Olympics. Then Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers blindsided him with a vicious hit. Instantly, Booth's dream of Olympic gold ended. He missed 45 NHL games before returning to the ice. Less than two months later, another concussion forced him to sit out the rest of the season, putting his hockey-playing future in doubt. This season's prospects for the Panthers are just as dire as the past ten. The team became the first to miss the playoffs for a decade straight. No playoffs. No prospects. Same Panthers. Except for this: Booth is back. He's among the top goal scorers on the team and is using his speed and stick-handling to whiz by defenders and re-establish himself as one of the best wingers in the NHL. Any doubts about his future and confidence vanished with one sweet move in a February shootout against J.S. Giguere of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After missing his first two shootout attempts of the year, Booth pulled out the spin-o-rama move and left Giguere clutching for air as he roofed his backhand shot. Even though a flying puck smacked Booth in the throat, which required yet another visit to the emergency room, he was back taking slap shots the next game. It seems any remaining misgivings about whether Booth is back have vanished. Now it's about whether he'll be back next year — with the Panthers.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®