📸: Photo by Kent Hernández
Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city?
We’re a halfway point that turned into a permanent home. Most people here have one foot in two worlds, and Miami exists in the crotch area of those two feet — and I mean that in a good way.
How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?
It influences me in every way. The city is alive and I really feel it. It’s in my blood. We are the envy of so many people, but it’s up to us to build a city that lives up to our marketing. I’m lucky because I get to play watchdog and gadfly as my day job, and there’s nothing I would rather do.
What’s a project you’re working on and how can our readers help you with it?
I’m trying to find Haitians who came to Miami by boat in the late 1970s and early 80s for a project. It’s proven kind of difficult to find people. If anyone knows someone, please let me know!
What’s your favorite Miami memory?
More than a specific memory, I remember the vibe of South Beach, downtown Miami and Brickell in 1998 when I’d take the bus and the train up from South Dade to skateboard all day with friends. We were young. Things were still rough then, entire areas were abandoned and basically no-go zones for police. We had a freaking blast. There was a sense of possibility in the air, and it’s been wild seeing how it’s all unfolded in my lifetime — for good and also for bad.
If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My original favorite Cuban sandwich at Las Dos Palmas, near The Falls. I used to go to the gym a few doors down and work at the Outback Steakhouse next door. That is — and was — the spot. I even ended up being an extra in a telenovela they filmed there some random day.
Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Miami day.
Go for a walk on the trail at the Hardy Matheson Preserve, stop at my abuela’s for lunch in Little Havana (sorry) or the Oriental Bakery & Grocery on Coral Way, and then cap it off with a beer at Shuckers around sunset.
What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?
If saying it’s the OnlyInDade Instagram account is basic, I’m definitely basic.
If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Take public transit! The bus and the train are your friends. If everyone who could took public transit one day a week, so many of our problems with traffic and congestion could be addressed. It will also encourage more investment in that infrastructure, which everyone says they want, but that’s a hard sell when not enough people are using what we already have.
What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city?
I can count the number of waterfront bars and restaurants on one hand, and this is not only ironic, it’s absolutely pathetic.
What are you looking forward to this year?
The end of election season. (That’s a joke by the way, it never ends.)
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That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2022.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.