|Dancers Photographed During Carnaval on The Mile|
On Exhibit in the Coral Gables Museum July 5, 2013
To the rest of the world, I live and work in Miami. To residents of "Miami", that actually depends on where you stand. Like the cities of London, Boston and Atlanta, "Miami" is a conurbation, "a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area." Wikipedia. Miami is a conurbation of over 30 cities that have grown to the point that they abut in a nearly continuous manner, almost like a jigsaw puzzle, each with its own feel and vibe and even its own socio-economic demographic. One of these is Coral Gables.
Known here simply as The Gables, Coral Gables offers a counterpoint to the region's hub, the City of Miami. While the City of Miami is very urban, with many run-down neighborhoods next to beautiful high-rises, and many neighborhoods that seem to be in a state of perpetual gentrification, The Gables is the city that just seems to make everything work. It is clean, relatively well-run, and close enough to the urban center that it defies the term "suburb".
Like everything in life, though, it does have its trade-offs. While the City of Miami can seem at times like part of the developing world, it is a bustle of activity and unexpected experiences. It is not uncommon to drive past a group of people protesting against the Castro regime, then encounter a group of hipsters strolling down Calle Ocho, bankers and lawyers on Brickell and finally pass some homeless-looking guy, on a bike, carrying his dog strapped across his back like a wounded soldier. I'm not exaggerating; I've actually seen all this.
The Gables, though, seems to screen out any such unexpected encounters. It is the embodiment of a mature and solid city, home to many doctors, lawyers and accountants. An example of the differences is Carnaval.
Both the City of Miami and Coral Gables each has a Carnaval, but the two cannot be any more different. Miami's is raucous, loud, jittery and crowded -- and I don't mean any of that in a bad way, either. Carnaval on the Mile, as it's known in Coral Gables, is pleasant and well behaved. I also don't mean that in a bad way, either. It's essentially the difference between a Daddy Yankee concert and one by Gloria Estefan. You can enjoy both or either, but just not the same way.
The photo above was taken during Carnaval on the Mile, on the last day actually, a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The dancers look young, wholesome, and vibrant. The street is clean, even after three days of Carnaval, and the event appears well-attended but not overcrowded. That's The Gables.
The photo also will be on exhibit in the Coral Gables Museum this summer in their Capture Coral Gables show. The opening is July 5, 2013 at 6PM.