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The random police car in its heyday on the side of the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum. (📸: Courtesy of Jamie Maynard)

DRIVING UP THE WALLS

So you’re driving down Biscayne Boulevard, taking in the sights (OK, fine, the traffic) when you see it: a car attached to the side of a building.

We can’t tell if it’s meant to be mid-chase or parked, but either way, it’s a totally random thing to be affixed to the Biscayne Medical Plaza (unless they’re trying out a new valet system).

It’s actually not so random. The car is the last trace of the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in 1990 and used to be housed in the building. It moved up to Titusville, Florida more than a decade ago, but the car stayed. We talked to the museum’s IT director and kinda historian Jamie Maynard about the building and its unique decoration.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?  The idea came from a guy named Derrick Van Brode, who helped design the building. He saw it as a sort of artistic element and knew it would be eye-catching. He was right.

WHAT ABOUT THE ACTUAL CAR? And what about the actual car? The one that’s on the building now– a Chevy Caprice – isn’t the original. They’ve had to replace the cars over the years because Miami’s torrential rain and heat made them rusty and they started to fall apart. (Fun fact: Jamie told us the OG car was actually donated by the Sweetwater Police Department)

WHY LEAVE IT BEHIND? When the museum decided to relocate to Titusville, across the street from the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the organization didn’t think the car would draw the same kind of attention as it did here on a busy road like Biscayne Boulevard. Jamie put it best: “There’s no way a police car is gonna compete with a space shuttle.”

OK, SO WHY DID THE NEW OWNERS KEEP IT? No one really knows for sure. When the museum relocated and sold the building, the police car was stripped of its police paint and sirens, but the actual vehicle stayed. We tried to find out why the new owners kept the car, but couldn’t reach anyone. At this point, given how close the building is to the Design District and Wynwood, it could probably just be confused for another art installation. Any of you have a hunch?

BTW: The car’s engine and parts have been totally gutted, so don’t try taking it for a test drive.

Got other questions about random landmarks in Miami? Is there anything else you’ve always wondered about? Nothing’s too random. Hit reply and let us know or email us at [email protected]

ALL ABOUT YOUR BENJAMINS

Feel homeownership is unattainable? You’d be surprised how far a good credit score can take you. We chatted with a few leaders in the field and heard how the right credit score coupled with a smart down payment strategy can lay the foundation for homeownership.

FYI: If you aren’t sure of your score, you can request a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

And what to do if a 20 percent down payment is prohibiting you from even thinking of buying a home? (Quick math: $400k home, 20 percent down = $80k.) Don’t fret – there are a number of loan programs for you, some even offering an option for a 3.5% down payment. (More quick math: $400k home, 3.5% down = $14k.)

#ProTip: Talk to a lending professional. Until then, check out today’s video looking at the importance of credit scores and your variety of down payment options.

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WHAT'S NEW IN THE 305

Overtime. After a LONG day and night of heated testimony and debate, the City of Miami commission decided to wait a week to decide on David Beckham’s soccer stadium so they could get some answers to their many questions. Worried residents are happy, Mayor Francis Suarez is not.

So, next week commissioners have to decide whether to ask voters on the November ballot whether the city should change its policy on private companies bidding to use public land, like the city-owned Melreese golf course Beckham wants to build his stadium on.  If commissioners put it on the ballot and voters say yes, then that will pave the way for Beckham’s stadium. (Miami Herald, Twitter)

Nevertheless, she persisted. Burmese pythons are pretty much taking over the Everglades, but Donna Kalil is determined to fight back. She’s one of Florida’s only female python hunters and she’s bagged more than 60 of the invasive snakes in the past year. Basically, she’s a total badass, as you’ll see from this profile. (Miami New Times)

That’s not how that works… About a year ago, dockless bikes like Lime and Ofo arrived in Miami, and they were a hit pretty much immediately – with everyone except county commissioners, who quickly got fed up with the bikes being left all over the place. They’ve now come up with a couple resolutions to bring the bikes under control. One of them, a $100 fine for blocking rights of way with the bikes, seems reasonable enough. But the resolution to consider designated parking areas for the bikes kinda seems to defeat the purpose of dockless bikes. 🤷 (Miami New Times)

It gets worse. Remember that Biscayne Park police chief who was caught pinning four burglaries on black teenagers to beef up his crime-solving record? He was fired for that, but it turns out that wasn’t all he did. Chief Raimundo Atesiano pressured his staff to pin a lot more unsolved crimes on black people in the city to up the police department’s case clearance rate. (Miami Herald)

That hand of Midas. Former Miami Beach mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is worth $133 million. How’d he get so rich? According to him, it’s a rags-to-riches story of lying about his public speaking skills to get his first real gig at Royal Caribbean, and from there it was a combination of good timing, smart execution, and some very helpful connections which helped him build several very successful companies. Now, he’s his own campaign’s biggest donor. (Miami Herald)

Piecing things together. We know very little about what’s happening inside the Homestead detention center for unaccompanied children, where dozens of children recently separated from their parents at the border are being held. That’s because officials have allowed only a tightly controlled 90-minute press tour. But the Miami Herald pieced together an understanding based on interviews with staff who worked there in the past two years, processing hundreds of children through the facility every month.  (Miami Herald)

A leap for Magic Leap. Here’s some actual information about the super secretive Magic Leap: they demonstrated their virtual reality Magic Leap One software during a livestream yesterday. We still don’t totally get what it does, but at least now we know it definitely exists. (SFBJ)

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EVENTS

OUR PARTNER EVENTS

😋 Tomorrow through Sunday: Eat all the mangos at Fairchild’s annual mango festival (P.S. How is there still no mango emoji?) (Coral Gables)

🙏 Sunday: Learn how to eat like a monk, then catch this flick about reincarnation (North Beach)

🎶Wednesday, July 18: Groove to some jazz at the Yard (Wynwood)

🍛Thursday, July 19: Try all the healthy, delicious noms at Jackson Hall (Allapattah)

🎥 Friday, July 20: Travel to Congo with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)

🎥 Saturday, July 21: Catch Krush Groove, based on the origin story of Def Jam Records, with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)

AROUND TOWN

TODAY

🎸 Be a deadhead for a night (Wynwood)

🥁 Pay tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Downtown)
💃 Dance flamenco under the stars (South Beach)

🎷Ease into your weekend at the Hampton House’s Blues night (Brownsville)

 

TOMORROW

🛍 Support local creatives at the Market for Makers – through Sunday (Design District)

🎶 Get down at the Overtown Music and Arts Festival – through Sunday (Overtown)
☀ Learn how you can go solar (Upper East Side)

🏙 Take a walking tour of Downtown’s iconic architecture (Downtown)

🎟 Get your golden ticket to the chocolate factory (Coral Gables)

 

SUNDAY

📚 What goes down behind the scenes of an indie publisher (Coral Gables)

🍳 Brunch on all things mango (Coral Gables)

🛶 Find out what dragonboat racing is all about (Key Biscayne)

🏙 Dive into the history of Wynwood’s street art (Wynwood)

⚽ Catch the World Cup championship game over some brunch and brews (Downtown), on PAMM’s big screen (Downtown) or on the Haulover Sandbar (Bal Harbour)

 

MONDAY

♣️ Start your week off with some poker (South Beach)

🎞 Catch this Sundance Film Festival hit – through July 19 (Little Havana)

 

TUESDAY

🎞 Catch Lucia, a Cuban film classic (Coral Gables)

🎨 Get your fingers dirty at this paint night (Wynwood)

👮 Learn about LGBTQ hate crimes and counterterrorism from a former FBI agent (South Beach)

 

Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.

THAT’S ALL FOR THE WEEK.

We’ll catch you Monday. Have a great weekend, friends. 😎

– The New Tropic


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