See you later, alligators

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I think the first place to close down that truly broke my heart was Castle Park. They tried to rename it Malibu Grand Prix, but it wasn’t the same. My childhood memories of playing arcade games and crashing a go-kart into a stack of tires without a helmet was only associated with the original, not the imitation.

Miami’s landscape has changed dramatically since then. And so did my hobbies, as I traded soda for vodka and mini-golf for dancing. Along the same lines, I became saddened by the closings Circa28, Transit Lounge and even further back in time…what was the name of that place in the Design District that had four floors and just one exit…Power Studios!

Of course. Oh it was glorious. It had five performance stages that featured salsa, hip-hop, jazz, and rock musicians; a gourmet restaurant; an art gallery; and an outdoor film space, but the whole thing could go up in flames with just one miscalculated butt of a Marlboro Light.

It’s been all downhill since then, especially with the deaths (more like outright murders) of Van Dyke Café and Zeke’s. From the demolishing of the Miami Herald building to the relocation of Score, more and more of my geographical landmarks have been taken away. Now when I give directions I have to start with, “Make a right at the corner of where that place we loved used to be, but is now a yoga pants store.” Somehow Tobacco Road has been confined to live aboard a cruise ship, while Jerry’s Famous Deli and Wolfie’s are just condemned to live in my memory. As of late, I bade farewell to the iconic Cameo and Finnegan’s River, which wasn’t that heartbreaking because as a woman you could expect to be finger-fucked on your way to the bathroom in either establishment.

cameo

No. Thank you.

The latest rumor is that Yuca Restaurant is about to go and that’s just one bridge too far. Gloria Estefan once shut down Lincoln Road for an album release party, and I saw the whole thing from Yuca. Yuca, where Albita Rodriguez used to perform before she won a Grammy. Yuca, where members of the aging lesbian mafia can light up a joint and order Goat Cheese Croquetas without any judgement.

So, it is with deep sadness that I share with you my Miamian Resignation Letter.

see ya

I’m taking my talents to Skid Row.

Dear Miami, 

It is with deep regret that I inform you of my departure, effective two weeks from this letter.

This should come as no surprise, given your complete lack of attention to my interests. You refuse to have a gayborhood. You don’t offer well-paying jobs. You have done everything in your power to block the film industry and medical marijuana from taking residence here (is this somehow related?). And you hate live music for some reason. I should clarify that last point, live music as in sounds made from a band made up of real people playing real instruments at a bar and/or lounge, not a tween-aged DJ standing behind a laptop blaring out the Pitbull Pandora station.   

Perhaps that was too harsh. I’m sorry Miami. But, the truth is I’m mad at you.

I’m mad I can’t take my favorite parts of you in my suitcase, like the view from the Julia Tuttle and the entire menu from Soyka. I’m mad that people will ask me about my accent. I’m also mad that they will ask me about alligators because Miami happens to be in Florida. Bro, that’s so annoying. 

I’m also nervous.

I’m nervous about living in a city where Cubans are not the ruling class and where the mayor speaks perfect English. Will anyone know who DJ Laz or Pepe Billete are? Will the people that live there really have an uncle named Luke and not see the humor in calling him up and saying, “Capt. D Coming, Capt. D Coming, Capt. Coming,” and then hanging up? 

These jokes are going to fall flat in Los Angeles. Oh. Right. That’s where I’m going. 

I know what you’re thinking Miami, “OMG the traffic. If you would only wait until 2018 when we finish the Palmetto, then you are going to regret moving to LA.” And then you’re probably following up that thought with, “Pero, what’s wrong with you? The earth shakes there.”  

To answer your questions, yes, I know all of these things. I’ve also watched every episode of 90210 and Melrose Place, which, as I understand it, is nowhere near where I’m going to be living and is also not very current. But I can’t just stay here forever, Miami. I already gave you my youth, my money and in some corners of South Beach, my vomit.

I think the time has come to give each other a little space. Enough breathing room to actually miss each other. Because, in all seriousness, I have loved no other city like you. And although I’m really excited about starting a new life in L.A., you will always be my number 305. 

Con mucho, mucho amorrrrr,

Mari

 cc: Pitbull

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