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Eye opener for July 5, 2023

It's good when money comes into a project or a neighborhood. It's terrible when too much money comes into a project.

Though this may be anecdotal, it's been my experience that too much money entering a project or neighborhood is rarely a good thing. First I will cite examples in my community then I will try to explain why.

First, let's talk about South Beach... the "Sexiest beach in Earth". While, I must confess that Miami beach does have some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen, I wouldn't say they are the sexiest. I've came to this conclusion when I lived on South Beach in the late 90s and early 00s. My memories of the people I met at that time are dim. A majority of the people all had big things in the works that never seemed to pan out. They were all Divas, men and women alike) around whom the world revolved. They all loved using one another whenever they could but failed to return any favors they owed. So many of them seemed to be trying to be so unique that the trait to differentiate one's self from the crowd was a cliche.

The group that stuck out to me as the most tragic were what I called "plan B" girls. This designation was not in relation to the day after pill. I coined this term for myself after noticing so many women in the late thirties, early forties riding beach comer style bikes in sun dresses (Imagine a hippie women from the 60s). I designated them plan b B girls because plan A seemed to not have panned out for them. I assumed this because I felt the livestyle they were living was about to coming crashing down as rents would soon exceed their ability to pay. While I had no statistics upon which to base my observations, I did have the knowledge that, as an engineer, I was finding it difficult to continue to afford life on the beach, so how could these retrofitted flower children afford it? I would find out years later when hearing stories like eight girls living in a two bedroom apartment with four beds in each bedroom. The story referenced here had the girls sleeping in shifts (half working nights, half working daytime jobs).

I ended up hating llving on the beach and almost all aspects of that lifestyle to the point that when I wanted to go to the beach, I would jump in my car and drive 45-60 minutes north to Dania Beach in the next county over. On Dania beach one could relex and not have to deal with loud music, drunk jackasses and overexposed people.

This however was not always how I perceived South Beach. When I first moved to Miami, the portion of Miami Beach designated as South Beach about 15th Street down was populated most notibly with old folks homes. Outside of these two to three story apartment buildings, you would see a plethora of immobile, wheelchair bound elderly individuals, parked in a disorderly fashion, as if done so by the World's worst valets. No one was partying on South Beach back then. No wanted to live on South Beach back then and few had the foresight to buy property on South Beach back then. This all began to change in the 90s as South Beach became to biggest gldrug haven, according to one of Miami's most prolific entertainment newspaper. I remember visiting a friend who lived on South Beach at that time (late 80s) and showing him that an image of a map in the paper I referenced above included an image of a thumb tack indicating where the most drugs could be found on the beach. I remember pointing out to this friend that the thumb tack looked as if it were pointing directly at his apartment. We laughed and then he regaled me with tales of policecar and firetruckq sirens waking him up almost every night. Sad to say, but the beach was more interesting then than it is today... It has character and it was just waking up.

The late 80s through the 90s was when the clubs started popping up. They were wild. The experiences had the were dug and alcohol induced, but the best thing about them was their diversity. One could enjoy all manner of dance music, or one might choose instead to go to a place like the Institute and enjoy the decor which was literally a mix of Mad Max's thunderdome and MTV's Max Headroom. At places like the Institute, a patron could be exposed to unisex bathrooms, Harley Davidson motorcycles driving through the dancefloor or Ninjas descending from a ceiling painted like an inverted swimming pool with giant gold fish. A boring night there never was at places like the Institute which blasted out all of the coolest songs that Industrial music had to offer.

If you wanted live music, South Beach was also your one stop. From jazz to Marilyn Manson and the spooky kids, the Beach had you covered. Washington Square, Roses, Van Dykes, AmPm, you could park and walk until you found your people. And, at the end of the night, there was Mack's Club Deuce where people went not matter what club from which they came. Then there were the pizza shops where you could buy a slice that had probably been sitting in the pizza showcases for hours, but tasted soooooooo good at two in morning. If you wanted something more, one could make their way to the News Cafe or David's Cafe or Wolfie's before heading to the actual beach to continue the party, crash and wake to the Sunrise. If you want to see what it was like, watch any movie based in the 80s about Spring Break. While it was not as wild as Spring Break, South Beach never disappointed back then.

Fast forward to all of the money that has turned the beach into roving bands of narcissistic vistors who all act as if they are better than one another and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are better than you. With the influx of so much money, the beach has lost all of it character and lost all of the characters who made the beach attractive in the first place. You see, all of the rich people who bought all of the property on the beach are not as interesting as they think they are. Unless you're talking about the way in which they made their money, the rich are no more entertaining than your uncle who owns ten John Deere stores. And, try as they might, they cannot make clubs playing the same music with the same beats interesting. There is no social aspect to the bars down there. People hang out with the people they came with. Guys in one corner. Girls in another rifling through some dating app as opposed to interacting face to face when they face to face.

South Beach however is just one example of too much money ruining something good. Another would be the Citylink music festival. This festival was a three night concert that took place in Broward County near Andrews Rd. Citylink was an entertainment newspaper (don't know if it's still around) that would sponsor the festival. In those three days, you would pay to get into one bar and be given access to all of the bars on this block containing several clubs and bars. Inside the Citylink newspaper was a schedule of the hundred bands and performers and where they would be playing on any given night. Armed with the paper, you could plan to watch Social Distortion one night at a particular club or watch some local band at a smaller venue. It was awesome. The clubs and bars made plenty of money. The fans got to see all of the bands they wanted to see and everyone was happy.... Until, some giant beer corporation sponsored it one year and required that only their beer be sold. I don't remember all of the details of how the festival was restricted to selling only one brand of beer, but I do remember that attendance was down severely the following year and almost non-existent the year after that. It was over.

Other examples of too much money ruining things in Miami can be observed by simply realizing that as Miami has had such an influx of money poured into it, the amenities offered to it residents have declined. The bed races.... Gone. The coconut Grove Holloween.... Dead. The coconut Grove art festival... Boring. Free concerts on the beach... None. The New Times used to contain 10, 20, 30 times more activities than it does currently and it was at least 100 times thicker. Now, you have yoga workouts and Mamosa brunches. You would think that with all of their money the rich people in Miami could buy character.... I guess not. The way I see it. Those who run Miami, charge it's residents for use of the Sun, because they are not providing much else other than constant road expansion, which solves Miami's ever-growing traffic for about a year (try mass transit and enforce an actual schedule) and $25 parking on South Beach.

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