"the" Mrs. Astor

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Your Mark, Get Ready...

GO!!! The flight has begun for the residents of South Beach. The Urban Beach Party has begun with nearly 300,000 young hip-hoppers expected to descend upon a city of about 90,000. The carriages of the town's elite have been rumbling west since yesterday as most here have bitter memories of past Memorial Day weekends. Personally, I witnessed a man lose his right arm in 2003 when he tried to show what a tough guy he was and punched the plate glass window of Level Nightclub. A guillotine couldn't have done a cleaner job. The Sun Post here wrote: "If you’ve never been, just picture South Beach transformed into a rap video world, with pimped-out rides, “grillz” flashing in the sun, girls in skimpy bikinis and high heels shaking it to the latest beats." It will cost over $650,000 to police the event, a dozen cities and counties providing help to the rather small Miami Beach force. Last year 60 hand guns were confiscated, which is about 20 more than City police own.

But, I've never left town and preferred to be cautious and enjoy the quiet of a usually warm and sunny weekend. The real problem is, as always, in the evening and--for local businesses--the restaurants. There is a well-known game played by the crowd to eat and run, not tip, and consume 90% of the plate and return it as "bad". Many restaurants close entirely for the weekend. At first, black promoters threatened to sue any establishment which closed; the businesses countered by "renovating" for the weekend. After that charade, I attended one of the Tuesday morning breakfast club meetings of local business leaders and when the topic came up reminded the group that you don't need a reason to close; just close and see what they can do (which was nothing, of course). There's no reason to be intimidated by mob mentality.

We'll see what happens, but with the price of gas (many drive from points like Atlanta) and the cheapest hotel rooms going for $269 (and they are the dumpy ones), much of the riff-raff will probably and hopefully stay away. The big-spenders of the hip-hop world are already emptying Saks, Neimans, and the other high-end stores and the hotels totally booked. So, there is a lot of money flowing around this weekend; you just have to be good at taking it.


At 7:39 PM, Blogger Black and Tan Mark said...

What a perfect excuse to head to the Berkshires :-)

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Pand0ra Wilde said...

Wisconsin's nice this time of year too.


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