Miami is a trashy city. That's not an insult. It's just a fact. There's trash everywhere. People apparently love chucking stuff on the side of the road, and only rarely do people bother to pick it up. It's easy to ignore when you see it every day, but taking a look at the city's street trash tells an interesting story.
Yesterday I took a 40-minute walk through Edgewater, Midtown, and Wynwood, all of which are undergoing rapid redevelopment and gentrification. I started near Biscayne Boulevard and NE 29th Street, walked into Wynwood, and cut across to North Miami Avenue to NW 27th Street and meandered through the residential areas of the neighborhood before heading back bay-ward down 27th Street and ending up near Melo Group's under-construction luxury tower Bay House.
The most interesting trash along the way was photographically documented. The implication here is that bottles, cans, plastic bags, wrappers, and other debris are so commonplace as to be completely unoteworthy in this town, but in case you needed a reminder of how filthy this city can get, here's the bus stop near NE Second Avenue and NE 29th Street, right near Midtown.
See! Completely filthy, and completely uninteresting! But take a closer and you begin to find the good stuff.
Here's some lady's hat in the bushes. We're sure she could have used it at a Kentucky Derby party this weekend.
The good news is that people are still having safe sex in Miami. The bad news is that people are using those condoms in places where they can throw the wrapper on the side of the street.
A perfectly good silly straw! Why would anyone throw that away? By the way, it's easy to assume that perhaps the homeless are to blame for most of the trash, but that's not the case. Take a closer look and you'll find plenty of Starbucks cups, organic juice bottles, and gourmet Brazilian nut packages. Yuppies and hipsters are equally to blame.
Here's a sad little turtle.
And a random shoe, which has actually been here for more than a week.
Yes, that's a random Tom Ford sunglass case. Unfortunately for us, there were no $400 sunglasses inside.
A smashed and abandoned computer monitor.
A car seat and a dresser.
Another car seat, this one about a block away in Wynwood.
A lot of the oddest trash is around abandoned homes. Those homes' yards can become full-on fenced-in dumps.
We kept seeing these orange pods strewn about Wynwood before striking the motherlode. Turns out they're cat food containers. Wynwood is also awash in discarded Vuse e-cigarette boxes, one of which you can see on the bottom left.
Whatever this is has been here so long someone decided to tag it with a mushroom growing in a lumpy field. Yeah, that's definitely what it is.
Here's a very nice toothbrush.
Unsurprisingly, there is a correlation to the number of nearby trashcans and the amount of trash left on the street. This technically, however, is not a trash can but a business's planter. It is proof, however, that Miamians will put things in trash-can-like receptacles if given the option.
Poor stuffed bunny.
This dresser has been blocking the sidewalk for more than a week. There used to be a chair next to it, but it was moved to a shady location.
And an actual condom. We're coming full circle now.
Interestingly, when luxury developers get involved, they tend to make sure the areas around their properties are pristine. The finishing touches on Bay House are coming along nicely.
But here's the other side of the street, where workers often park.
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And here's the line where Melo Group's property ends and the abandoned home next door begins.
Of course, we'll end with the biggest trash to plague this city: Miami New Times.