For 27 years Hania and I have been driving down to Miami to catch a movie, browse in a bookstore, have dinner, watch people, savor the feeling of being in a big city. Though each place we go – Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Miami Beach – has more of the air of a village (leafy, Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco) than of a great metropolis. Even urban, gritty Wynwood, a recent addition to our Miami trinity, hardly reminds you of Manhattan or Tokyo.
This past Saturday I got the feeling I'd been missing, ironically, in a place that is actually called a village: Brickell Village. Imposing towers – finished and unfinished – rose all around us as we made our way to 1111 Peruvian Bistro (where I ate the most delicious lomo saltado of my life). After dinner we made our way through another upstart canyon to Brickell Center, which was lively even though half of its businesses have not yet opened. A band played on the second floor, in the open-air concourse that spans S. Miami Avenue, and you got that big city thrill of finding life – people, music, the impromptu – in the middle of concrete and glass.