Is Miami Officially Cooler Than New York?

by BILLY GRAY · December 16, 2009

    A replica of Max Fish, the veteran Ludlow Street bar, recently made an appearance at Art Basel in Miami. And because you can't throw a venti skim latte in this town without hitting a New Yorker bitching about gentrification, the Post saw it as cause for alarm.

    Miami, despite a flashy, decade-long construction boom, has apparently avoided the soul-sucking gentrification that has turned New York into Omaha-on-the-Hudson. Or at least, the Overtown neighborhood has. According to the Post's Justin Rocket Silverman:

    "While the Lower East Side has transformed into a gentrified playground, the Overtown neighborhood home of the new Max Fish has a long, long way to go. Yet that hasn't stopped thousands of art and booze fans from descending on the new location. If anything, the dangerous surroundings make it a more authentic Max Fish experience."

    Somehow, this upset thin-skinned Miami bloggers smugly "amused" by the out-of-town coverage of their city's art fair. Miami New Times writer Kyle Munzenrieder schools the interlopers on what a real Cuban deli is before alerting visitors to the existence of Miami locals "who are not suntanned and wearing neon lycra." Good to know.

    Then, he flaunts his ignorance of New York:

    "Anyway, with Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburgh -- New York's latest attempt at gritty, authentic, yet culturally relevant neighborhood, now a punch line inhabited by trust-fund kids -- we have to wonder if the vast hipster exodus to Overtown is right around the corner."

    Now, wait a minute! Williamsburg hasn't been New York's latest attempt at gritty since the Clinton administration. And the neighborhood has been a punchline for at least five years. And Brooklyn (which the writer seems to think is one big hipster pasture) is a huge place containing entire swaths where skinny jeans would be cause for an immediate beatdown.

    The whole silly kerfuffle is more proof that supposedly in-the-know journalists are quick to judge an entire city on a single bar or isolated demographic pocket. And really, how authentic can Miami be when it includes South Beach, the epicenter of glitzy nightlife that makes the Meatpacking District look like downtown Lancaster, PA.

    Somehow, we imagine that "cool" is alive in New York and Miami, but that neither Silverman nor Munzenrieder know where to find it.