text by Skip Van Cel

I live in a really weird neighborhood. We have multi-million dollar homes that are 2-3 blocks from run down hovels. We had a major meth dealer busted a few months ago. They were a hoot. Up all night dismantling their cars, running the leaf blower at 3 am and I could always depend on a neighborly hello when I got up to walk the dogs at 6 In the morning. Since their bust, they have been noticeably absent.

I do not miss them.

The neighborhood mix is interesting and I’ve noticed over the years those that end up here are like myself; not to fond of dealing with guard gates. We accept manicured lawns, but if you’d ain’t so tidy we accept that too. (Dear neighbor across the street–you know who you are, as you always tell me how much you love seeing my house when you step outside–I know you don’t want to look at your wrecked car, but did you have to put it facing my front door?) We are walkers and dog lovers (we have 2 parks a few blocks from each other where dogs rule in the afternoon.)

We are a hodgepodge of art gallerists, curators, bar and nightclub owners, realtors, city workers, lawyers, retirees and a fair share of section 8 renters.

Somehow, we all love this quirky little corner of Miami with its leafy streets, annoying elementary school and monthly hovering helicopter afternoons. (Once a helicopter crash landed next to the park. The passenger and the pilot walked away unharmed. While being interviewed by the police, the passenger realized just how lucky he was and had a heart attack. Yes, he survived.)

Anyway, it is a really beautiful morning and I just felt like writing about my ‘hood.