Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why I hate going out in Coconut Grove

I know alot of people in the grove are grumbling about this 5 am vs 2 am rule. They argue that it's going to kill businesses because people don't want to end their parties at 2 a.m., and thus will be driven to other parts of Miami.

I went out last weekend to the grove to meet some friends, and I have my own opinion as to why the grove's late-night scene is dying. I remember going out in the grove in grad school, and it being packed. I also remember walking back to my friend's house a few years ago and seeing a nasty knife fight. Has it changed? Does that happen all the time? I don't know because I rarely go back. And the reason why is parking. All over the grove there are these obnoxious "no parking" signs right smack in front of pay stations. Can I park there or not? Is there some arbitrary rule that dictates when I get ticket and when I don't? Because the whole purpose of my parking on the street is so I don't have to pay $6-$10 dollars to safeguard my car for two hours. That's ridiculous.

Some people may counter with the whole, "well you could park a little farther out." And no, I cannot. Reason being, I have yet to hear of the police catching the grove rapist, and I refuse to risk that. Not to mention that parts of the grove have a bad reputation, combine that with the grove rapist and that fond memory of the knife fight and after circling the grove for 30 minutes looking for well-lit parking that won't cost me more than a round or two of drinks and I have already said, "screw it, I'm going to South Miami."

Then if all of this isn't enough of a deterrence, while the grove isn't all about how you look and what you are wearing, it is still pretentious. Often, Grovites have an attitude of annoyance, like they don't want to share their area with non-Grovites. Really? Grow up and get out of the sandbox. When I lived in the Gables, no one ever had that attitude. Probably because local businesses and people there realized that in order for the city to do things like, you know, pay bills and maintain the area, they needed all the cashflow they can get.

The sad thing is, I like the grove. I always have. I like the artsy feel to it, I like that, for the most part, the stores and restaurants are local. I like the relaxed air about it. But it has become too much of a pain to go there. And apparently I am not the only one that holds that opinion. Look at how dead it has become, compared to a few years ago.


cristina steppe said...

I feel your sincerity having seen a knife fight, the two rapes, not wanting to pay out your hard earned dollars to park when, if they want your business, make it easy. To say otherwise is like a man telling a woman in a difficult labor "I know how you feel"--no you don't! Let me digress. Tom Falco who authors the Coconut Grove Grape Vine constantly creates divisive blogs puting our community at odds. Tom writes of puke and vomit covering our sidewalks, inferior street lighting causing folks to fall over uneven paver bricks causing injury, Tom say the police hide behind bushes pouncing on people who run stop signs and then create DUI check points intended to harm Grove business and that the police take their orders from Mark Sarnoff and David Collins of BID who are mafia types and communist.
Tom writes our restaurants are full of cock roaches, that waiters are rude, obnoxious who provide poor service, that our postal service is actaully a training facility designed to harm the Grove and that black kids scatter like "RATS" when they see him-----etc, etc, etc, and etc. Read 6 months of Tom's blogs/archives and you'll understand, in part, why folks do not bother to come into the Grove that Tom Falco describes in the Coconut Grove Grape Vine.
Tom is misanthropic in nature and character, can't fit into community and this is why Tom directed folks to you very negative impression of our community. Yet, we do understand your concerns, but you are more likely to be struck by lightning that the fears you talked about.
Our community is safe, we have excellent police, street lighting, our sidewalks are not covered with puke and vomit and our post office is not a training facility. Tom simply hates community.

catsteevens said...

I love the Grove too. It's been years since I've gone there to party (at night). I prefer going for lunch and shopping.

Is it possible it's cyclical? When I was much (much) younger the Grove was dead. Then it revived and was packed all the time. Maybe it will die out again only to revive later on.

I think parts of SoFla go through this. I hope that's what it is for the Grove. 'Cause like I said, I love the Grove :)

Christina said...

Hi Cristina,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my entry. As a Grove resident, which I assume you are, I understand why you are frustrated by some of the negative impressions people have with the grove. However, my opinion of the grove is based off my own experiences, not from what is published on the Grove Grapevine. To be honest, I read his blog on occasion, but don't take my opinions on the area from it. Mainly because, as a resident of Miami, which also has an overly negative image to most people not living here (and to some who do), I understand an area is more than a series of events. I really do.

However, as stated by my post, my opinions and frustrations from the area stem from what I find to be a poorly managed infrastructure (in terms of parking, and poorly communicated signage, which indicate that one can, and cannot park in one spot.) Additionally, the attitude of many people who live in the Grove is frustrating. If the grove wants to continue to build business, Grovites simply cannot get frustrated by "outsiders." I get that its frustrating to deal with people who aren't in the know sometimes, but this is a tourist city, and if we want to survive, well, everyone has to grin and bear it.

I realize not everyone in the Grove maintains this attitude. And the fact that you are reaching out to me shows that you care very much about your area. That's admirable. But maybe you should encourage your neighbors to also be a little more accepting. Encourage streets around the main center to be a little better lit. Encourage the city to more clearly indicate when and where people can park so they can go eat, shop and have drinks without worrying about a ticket or a tow.

I love the grove, I love that it has so many local businesses. And it makes me sad that the area is dying out, comparative to a few years ago. But everyone needs to work together to figure out how to make it more alluring of an area. And that includes many different voices in the community.

SwampAngel65 said...

The Grove ain't what it used to be...and I'm talking the '80s with the Grove Cinema showing Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday night, the Pink Pussycat Boutique with their inflatable dolls hanging out the upstairs windows, Athene Occult Bookstore and that shop on the corner that sold the best clogs. Now it is a yuppy hangout. Over-priced and pretentious. The parking problems just push it over the edge for alot of folks.