“We should see something in every baseball city,” one of us says.
“Like a tourist something?” the other asks.
“Yes, except now you’ve ruined it.”
South Beach is the glamorous—this is not a positive attribute—neighborhood on the southern portion of Miami Beach, itself a thriving tourist city—also not a positive attribute—located on a series of natural and man-made barrier islands, with various causeways connecting it to the portion of southeast Florida where they keep Miami. It is where everyone goes, and it is where the old Jackie Gleason television show came from, they always told you, as we, the audience, would rapidly approach the twinkling Miami skyline, scooting across the water by boat, or by plane, maybe, as the enthusiastic off-camera voice would announce that what you were about to see was coming to you live, and was coming to you from Miami Beach, the sun and fun capital of the world, with the last part thrown in so we would all wish we were there. Jackie Gleason was a major star of course, and seeing signs now for The Jackie Gleason Theater seem nice, in a nostalgic, big deal celebrity kind of way, though Jackie Gleason himself always seemed like something of an asshole who was lucky Art Carney liked him.
We then spend a half hour trying to find a place to park, South Beach being a happening place, then walk through blocks of neighborhoods of boxy but colorfully attractive apartment buildings and small shops until we reach the cleverly named Ocean Drive. We are in the heart of the historic Art Deco district, which is why the hotels and shops and apartment buildings here, most of them built in the 30’s and 40’s, are colorful and playful. Which, if you look up Art Deco, is how it’s defined, along with its being exotic, and of geometric motifs. The Empire State Building is considered Art Deco, if that helps you any, which must mean that colorful and playful are both optional.