March 25, 2022, Miami Beach- “Key West is exactly right there!”, the little boy announced to his family, whilst looking over at the high rise apartments west of South Pointe, this city’s simultaneously trendy and well-preserved public park space/avant-garde neighbourhood.
I hope he gets the chance to see the real deal, while admiring the ever amazing range of a young imagination. South Pointe, about a thousand wonderful steps, end to end, presented a vibrant range of human activity-an example that would be well emulated by Floridians, and others, whose commitment to the car culture is rapidly reaching its limit. I was glad to have been able to walk there from the hostel in which I have been staying. The group of youths with whom I made an outing to Key West, yesterday, were off at a music festival and attending parties, but they had done this walk and enthusiastically recommended it to me.
There were many people swimming, playing beach football, fishing, catamaran racing, jet skiing and speedboat racing. Then there were the gymnasts- one young lady managed to balance herself, handstanding while supported by her male companion, who helped her shift position and weight, for over eight minutes. She easily outlasted three young men who were inspired to do their own handsprings and somersaults.
I admit to having been rejuvenated by a delightful small meal at Tanuki Japanese Restaurant, where I was served by five different people-four of whom seemed to be in competition to see who could be the most solicitous. (The world-weary manager of Bikini Hostel, where I am staying, thinks this is true, across the board, in Miami Beach.) The meal was lovely, despite the semblance of hustling.
It was sweet to see the full mix of humanity, from laid back surfer dudes to ladies and gentlemen dressed to the Nines, all within a quarter-mile radius of one another. All were just enjoying the wonder that is South Florida’s original “party beach”. (I am one of those who remembers “Surfside 6”, with Troy Donahue, Diane McBain and a young Mary Tyler Moore.)
South Pointe has lost none of the charm it exhibited on that show.