I launched my career as a reporter and then drive-time announcer on WINZ-Miami in the late 70s. I was living the dream with a shag-carpeted apartment in Coconut Grove (right next door to Joe Walsh of the Eagles), a big, powder blue, backyard pool and a used gold Toyota Celica with racing stripes. My paycheck was a bit thin, but didn’t care ‘cause I was learning the ropes, working my way up and covering stories shoulder-to-shoulder with Steve Kroft.
So, it was a bit trippy when I went back to Miami this past week for the holidays. I visited my sister, who worked for a rival station back in the day and never left Magic City. My sister looks pretty much the same, but boy has Miami changed. Brickell, which used to boast a couple of banks and Bayfront apartment buildings, now looks like Tribeca, teeming with moneyed Millennials out for cocktails or a bite at Eos, Azul or Club 50. And once-seedy Miami Beach is now neon-lit and jam-packed with seniors, families and clubbers.
My jog down memory lane included a buttery night at Joe’s Stone Crabs, late night dancing at Deering Bay, and tailgating and nail-biting at the Hard Rock Stadium for the Orange Bowl. Naturally, our night tailgating was the only evening where the temperatures dipped, so the teams weren’t the only ones huddling. Thanks to a generous friend, I’m now the proud owner of an aqua-hooded Dolphins sweatshirt.
Other Miami holiday highlights included a daily dose of Cuban coffee (that’ll perk you up), a personal chaise by a well-tended pool and instant delivery of everything from spanakopita to mouth-watering corned beef on rye.
Do I miss Miami? I miss the charge of being on the air live, having the Eagles show up at my door for beer at 3 am and crossing Bayshore Drive to Monty’s for clams. Could I use more sun when it starts to snow? Sure. Is DC a deli wasteland? Yup. Is it more fun wearing shorts and a t-shirt year-round? Absolutely.
But, I love Washington and figure I can always fly for sun and pastrami and load up on frequent flyer miles in the bargain. As for the Eagles and Steve Kroft? Thank goodness for The Bridge and 60 Minutes.