The Evolution of Miami Beach

Ocean Drive at night in South Beach. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by chensiyuan.

Ocean Drive at night in South Beach. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by chensiyuan.

If you’re looking to eliminate cravings and transform your body, then this brand of South Beach diet is not for you! This one may leave you with uncontrollable cravings – cravings for wild parties, unrepentant sexual escapades, and alcohol-fueled nights.

South Beach Miami is well known for its beautiful people and infamous all night parties and is inundated with trendy nightclubs, exotic beaches, and people wanting to see and be seen. Miami Beach advertises sex and the drugs, while omnipresent,  are sometimes cleverly camouflaged. South Beach is one of the world’s most chic, urban, trendy, and luxurious resort destinations; however, the South Beach culture we openly celebrate and embrace today is a far cry from the Miami of years past.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Miami’s identity correlated with retirement living and offered inexpensive accommodations to aging seniors. It was not always synonymous with celebrities and parties, but rather with old people and street crime. In the book “Sins of South Beach,” the author tells of the lies, corruption, sex, and violence that took Miami from a crime infested retirement community to the American Riviera of today.

During the 1970s, South Beach Miami gained a reputation as a practically unlivable place. A dream that began with children dropping their elderly parents off on an island to live out their days relaxing turned into a nightmare.

Crime, drugs, and prostitution ravaged the town. Bullied and forced from their properties by the arrival of gangs, brothels, and expanding businesses, the elderly found themselves in one of the United States’ largest shipment points for cocaine from some of the largest cocaine producing countries, including Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. The drug industry in Miami generated millions of dollars and spurred the growth and development of luxury car businesses, high-rise hotels, five-star restaurants, and opulent beachfront condominiums.

Miami Beach. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Miranda Paullin.

Miami Beach. Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Miranda Paullin.

Then, in the 1980s, the beautiful people moved in. Nowadays, in both daytime and when night falls, Miami Beach boasts top billing as a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, and hotels. Parties abound and sex and drugs still deluge the area, playing a prominent role in the cultural backdrop of the city. Sins of the past morphed into socially acceptable codes of behavior.

When I’m in South Beach, I’m excitedly cautious while gallivanting through this mecca of seduction. The relentless barrage of drunken men, both young and old, assaults my morality, trying to entice me to release my inhibitions and indulge in unspeakable behavior. I feel violated by the audacity of total strangers trying to get to know more than just my name.

Believing that the beach will offer a welcome and relaxing change of scenery, I adorn myself in the appropriate attire and set out to enjoy a day of quiet serenity. Wrong am I! The scene when I step on to the beach traumatizes my eyes, which literally hurt from the sight of overexposed bodies around me. I feel like I stepped into a landscape that is a cross between the Playboy Mansion, Chippendales, and Club Kama Sutra. Exposed breasts and butt cheeks everywhere, and all of it is not necessarily pretty. Overwhelmed, I opt to spend my day at the hotel pool instead.

South Beach, a cunningly disguised playground for adults, is not a family-friendly destination. If you plan to visit Florida with the kids, you may want to head in the other direction to Orlando and visit Mickey Mouse and his friends.

Michele Gaston

About Michele Gaston

Michele enjoys college football and Law & Order marathons. She is an accomplished professional with more than 15 years corporate experience and is a current sophomore communications major at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania.