(Forty years ago, in 1975, is when my newest Face
of Miami decided this would be his last stop. Then a popular and inexpensive haven for retirees, Miami was sliding rapidly from it’s Magic City heyday into a senior citizen parking lot.
Then came along the popular television series Miami Vice with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. When they started filming here in 1984 they opened the lid to expose it’s sunshine, beautiful architecture, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. And in 1992 Versace settled on Ocean Drive when it was filled with boarded up hotels and snow-birds. Both entities gave exposure to the wide and empty tropical beaches and so began the Renaissance of our tropical paradise. A paradise that those of us who have lived here for at least 10 years or more know that with today’s real estate values, unfortunately, only the super rich can buy into our cherished lifestyle.)
Faces of Miami
On my way home from my morning walk with Sophie along the beach yesterday I stopped to peer into the windows of an empty space that used to be a restaurant, wondering what might be coming there next. In the 10 years we have lived here I think maybe there have been at least four different businesses that have come and gone in that same space.
“There’s a new restaurant coming in there,” said a voice behind me. I turned to see a well dressed elderly gentleman leaning against the bus stop pole with a much worn Priority envelope in his hand.”
“Another one? This corner seems not to be a very good place for any kind of business,” I replied. ‘Come and Go’ should be the name of the next one.”
He chuckled. Then he just looked at me. “Don’t I know you? I’ve seen you before.”
“Well, no, I don’t think so, but maybe you have seen me. I’ve done commercials, movies, television and things like that in New York.”
“What’s your name,” he asked leaning forward so that he could catch the answer more clearly.
I gave him my name and he knit his brows, trying to fit some kind of recognition between the face and the name. “I’m from New York, too. I lived on the upper Eastside and Hal Prince was my neighbor.”
Well, I certainly knew who Hal Prince was. The famous producer of Broadway shows with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the past half-century. He has garnered twenty-one Tony Awards, more than any other individual, including eight for directing, eight for producing the year’s Best Musical, two as Best Producer of a musical.
“Do you know the name Lindsay.” he continued.
“John Lindsay, the former mayor of New York?”
“Yes, that’s right. I used to work for him.”
And again I had to admit that I’m old enough to know the name John Lindsay. A U.S. congressman who was elected the mayor of New York City during the 1960s. He was known for his “ghetto walks” and clashes with labor groups. Not to mention he was very handsome in this young woman’s eyes. But eight years later, at the end of his term at City Hall and after a brief run as a Democrat for president in 1972, Lindsay retired. The New York Times Magazine featured his weary face on the cover, with crease lines highlighted by the crises he had. I still thought he was handsome.
“I’ve lived here 40 years now,” my new friend said. New York was a long time ago. See you again sometime. I have coffee at Joe’s every morning,” he offered as the bus arrived at the stop and he climbed aboard.
I continued walking the several blocks toward home once again wondering about chance encounters, the ‘blink-of-an-eye’ lives we all have on this planet and whether the brief connections we have with strangers even matter. I have always be an observer of people, remembering faces, not always names, but am I really so different from most? These chance encounters, conversations, always become the mosaic of who I am.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.