Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Miami Beach and Delray Beach

I returned today from another trip to Florida, spending the first 4 nights in South Florida visiting my old stomping grounds. I spent 2 nights in Miami Beach rooming with my friend NV. I shot the photo you see here from his balcony on the 15th floor. Standing out there, if you look to the left, you get a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean between other buildings, but this incredible view of Indian Creek and Biscayne Bay from his balcony is simply spectacular. We sauntered up and down Lincoln Road, and while parts of it are striving for cosmopolitan sophistication, by and large Miami Beach has become glamor-less bling. Even the gay scene that once dominated the area has been reduced to a few insignificant bars. NV and I did meet up with my friend CF for lunch on my 2nd day, visiting Coral Gables which, oddly, I don’t think I had ever visited before. Later that night NV and I got together with CB, and the 3 of us headed to Wilton Manors, near Fort Lauderdale, where we used to hang out almost every week some 6 to 7 years ago. We ate at our old standby, the Thai restaurant Galanga, which still has good food, and had drinks at Georgie’s Alibi. Wilton Manors has easily taken over from Miami Beach as the new South Florida gay mecca. There's even a fantastic new place called The Manor Complex, which houses a martini bar, a lounge, a restaurant, a cafe, a Latino dance room, and a 2-story nightclub. We had lots of fun that night.

On the Sunday, I made my way north to Palm Beach County, where I stayed with the AKs. Half of the AKs is Library Director for the Delray Beach Public Library, a beautiful 47,000-square-foot building built 5 years ago in a Key West style with levered shuttered windows and pastel colors. The inside has an impressive loft ceiling on the second floor, a public meeting hall and a cafĂ©, lifelong learning classes in a computer room, and an adorable children’s section with hand-painted scenes of Floridian nature scenes on the walls. It looks like a great library in which to work. I also went back with the other half of the AKs to visit the main library at Florida Atlantic University, where I previously worked for more than 7 years. After I left, they broke ground on an extension to the main building, and one of the best parts of this project has been the expansion of The Arthur & Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Now incorporating space for lectures and workshops, this area has helped generate an incredible amount of interest in the Jaffe Collection of thousands of artists’ books and related works, many of which are 3D sculptures unto themselves. Jaffe curator John Cutrone and I co-wrote an article about the collection that was published in Art Documentation in 2004. It’s exciting to see how the collection has increased, not to mention the popularity of the numerous public programs and events held there. The rest of my visit to the library itself was fine. It was good to see so many people I had once worked for and with (and those who once worked for me!). But if ever I needed affirmation that I had made the right decision to move on, it was confirmed for me that day, simply because I realized how I personally had evolved into a different phase of my life and that my time there was now officially my past. We came together for a time, but even they have moved into their own future.

The rest of my trip was spent in Pinellas County visiting family, but mostly celebrating the Padre's 79th birthday and helping take care of him with some of his health issues. I did get to see a few old friends (and I made one new friend…you know who you are!). I’ll be back there again in a couple of months, probably for a longer period of time, but for now I’m back home in Brooklyn and looking forward to my next adventure.

1 comment:

miamiglen said...

Sorry I missed you... glad you had a great time xoxo glen