As advertised in movies and Will Smith songs, Miami is hot. Many of us still don’t believe summer ended as the crows from New England, and other snow birds, haven’t yet migrated down to perch on our power lines until March. Then again, I’ve always joked that Miami only had two seasons: rainy and hurricane. While the rest of the world seems to be experiencing autumn, the only leaves falling in our town are palm fronds. Be warned, having one fall on you isn’t exactly a Kodak Moment for Instagram.
Miami businesses are starting to prepare for the Canadian influx. Yes, Canadians are included in the major influx of Northern Immigrants that Miami gets around this time every year. Apartment buildings that are empty during the summer months are preparing for the coming six months where both French- and English-speaking Canadians completely rent out sections of Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton. In November, ‘pop-up trailer parks’ become a thing in North Miami as car dealerships makes space for the Canadians to dig in their trailer hitches until the snow clears in Montreal and Toronto.
Although we don’t experience autumn, many Miamians don’t notice that fact while crowded in sports bars for football (not soccer). Miami is heavily into American Football, as we root for the Miami Dolphins who are celebrating their fiftieth season as a team. On the other hand, the Miami Hurricanes (a college football team who most believed in 2001, after winning their 5th National Collegiate Championship, could beat the Miami Dolphins any day of the week), have been experiencing outcries from Miami to fire head coach Al Golden. Hurricane fans recently got their wish, and are now searching for a new head coach mid-season.
I’m a Miami native, but after returning from studying abroad for a year I’ve taken up touring the city while I still have fresh eyes. Though nightlife is bustling as usual, afternoons in Downtown, Brickell, and Coral Gables are dead. It’s like everyone is sleeping or working (most likely the latter). Construction sites are proliferating, and we expect to see skyscrapers replacing many of them in a couple years. The most promising one looks like it will be the Brickell City Center.
I’ve been riding the Metrorail and the Metromover, Miami’s two public rail services, and the experience is the exact opposite of New York or London. Both metropolises have comprehensive, dirty, busy, expensive, and well-designed rail systems that can get you anywhere in the city. Miami doesn’t. The Metrorail only covers twenty stops. It’s very clean, because no one uses the Metrorail, it goes in a straight line between the most affluent areas in the city, and costs only $5 for an all day pass. Natives prefer driving, but it’s perfect for tourists! It takes you to all the major areas outside of South Beach.
The rail services play a more significant role to a native: it’s a sign of Miami’s identity as a burgeoning metropolis. Compared to its older sister city Madrid, a European capital that since the ninth century has grown into its own identity, Miami is a little over 100 years old, and just started getting major attention for how pretty it was a couple decades ago. Compared to her much older sister Madrid, Miami is a teenager with a lot to learn. It’s considered the capital of Latin America but also a major US city, and it’s trying to balance both identities. For example, all the corporate advertisements on the Metrorail are in Spanish, but the city-issued rail instructions are in English. Conversations between passengers switch between Spanish and English, while the rail conductor instructs departing passengers in English to “have a nice day.” The rail is also adding more stops, a sign the city is realizing its already large and ever growing population and that it needs to become more interconnected. But some passengers still complain that stops may not be added where they need to go, a sign that the city still has more growing to do. Locals are very optimistic about where Miami will be in twenty years, and are very vocal with diverging opinions about how they feel Miami should get there.
For the next couple weeks Miami will be trying to figure out when temperatures will drop below sixty degrees Fahrenheit. For that one week everyone wears winter clothes we wouldn’t be able to use otherwise unless we went north for the holidays. New England transplant workers see this as a bit excessive, and it is, but it’s a big deal for those of us who grew up here. I will personally be looking out for the girls who wear uggs thinking they are snow boots. I look forward to telling them they are wearing slippers.