The first time you stroll the streets of downtown Miami, you realize she’s just like that friend you have: you know, the one who’s Extra in every way, from her clothes and her perfume to her mega-watt smile and infectious laugh. The friend whose presence ensures a great party. The one whose absence makes everyone feel a little less festive.
Over the last couple of weeks, things in Miami have slowed down a bit. Fears of the coronavirus have closed restaurants, except for takeout and delivery. Beaches are closed. Bars and nightclubs, too. It’s as if this microscopic interloper threatens to dull our girl’s shine; to steal some of her sparkle.
As a resident, I say, “Good luck with that.”
Miami might have toned things down a bit, but only on the surface. The spicy personality hasn’t gone anywhere. Without the tourists who throng our streets every spring break, we full-timers have the place to ourselves. An evening walk is now a peaceful interlude because there’s no traffic. The other folks you pass (at a six-foot distance) are your neighbors, not tourists traveling in pods, eyes glued to their phones.
Yes, life is slower and playing at a slightly lower volume, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less textured or interesting. Our locals come from all parts of the world, as seen in our culinary traditions, languages, and even the music playing on the breeze. If anything, that’s on display now more than ever.
Here are some photos I took a few nights ago, as Gabe and I wandered around a strangely quiet downtown. Enjoy this glimpse of the more subdued side of the Magic City because, before you know it, she’ll be back at full volume.
Count on it.