fbpx

Could I Live Here? Miami, FL

How the Magic City stacks up for Sheri Radel Rosenberg. It has culture and swaying palms, but could she live here?

If you lived in the New York area during the pandemic, you no doubt witnessed the mass migration upstate, to the ‘burbs and, in many cases, Florida. For city types, places like Miami offered balmy weather, fancy restaurants, and luxe shopping, and a diverse, international flavor.

I have friends that adore Miami and, though I romantically enjoy gloomy days the same way I enjoy a good Smiths song, I love sunshine too. And with Miami two and a half hours away by plane, it’s close enough to New York to make for an easy commute. So the iconic question beckons.

Could I live there? (Hint: I already have.)

I lived in Miami from 2004-2011. 

David and I were newlyweds and outgrowing our rent-stabilized fifth-floor walk-up in Soho. I had been reading about an ad agency in Miami whose star was rising, and I had the instinct to stalk them until they hired me.

So we moved to a city as unfamiliar to me as the moon. I’ve often joked that I’m the only Jew who grew up without family in Florida. However, I always associated the state with overly tanned senior citizens with frosted hair and matching lipstick playing mahjong. Miami is not like that at all.

And full disclosure: My take on Miami is a bit dated, but here’s what I know.

It’s hot. So very hot. To think about living in Miami, you must not be prone to the vapors when the humidity is hellish. Deodorant will need a rethink. Skincare, too. And, of course, the hair. Miami is where I discovered a better friend than any human. The keratin treatment. Essential to fight frizz.  

Also, the bugs. Have you ever seen a flying roach? In Miami, they are called palmetto bugs. And guess what? They are blind but drawn to motion, so they enjoy flying into your frizz mop while you sweat your life choices. Literally.

Too many bikinis can be a drag when it’s business time

Miami is made up of many neighborhoods. Miami’s lifestyle is unique, from the overgrown lushness of Coconut Grove to the tall towers of Brickell to the art deco glam of Miami Beach. But you really have to like Miami and Florida in general. There are no mountains but plenty of swamp, ocean, and strip malls. The beaches are legendary for a reason, but living somewhere where people seem to be on endless vacations can be off-putting, particularly in the prime of your working years. Too many bikinis can be a drag when it’s business time. 

Next, the cheese. And not the kind you eat. 

I’m talking about the overly vulgar displays of wealth and butt implants and the insane superficiality. The whole “playground for the rich” thing holds little appeal, and this is not a town where stealth wealth rules. And sure, the same could be said of New York, but there is something more democratic about rubbing shoulders with whomever on the subway than wondering why your 23-year-old intern has a more excellent car than you. Not to mention the mediocre restaurants that are obscenely expensive. 

From a style place, I never understood the assignment. 

Because the aesthetic there is hyper-feminine, hyper-sexy, and with a lot of skin and COLOR, I felt like a fish out of water. I was grateful to find somebody to cut my hair who understood I didn’t want to look like a Kardashian. My sister visited once and was shocked to see me wearing a turquoise dress. It’s true. I lost myself in a sea of shantung Calypso dresses and jeweled sandals. Oh, and lots of cotton.

Next, I find Miami as a whole low on the charm scale, and I’m a sucker and a half for charm. That’s why I lived in Coral Gables, a neighborhood next to Coconut Grove full of leafy streets and old Spanish-style homes. It is also home to the beautiful Biltmore Hotel, an old-school bastion of Miami’s past with a gorgeous pool. I took my parents there to sip mojitos and enjoy Cuban music poolside. As my dad watched the swaying palm trees, he asked what was wrong with me and prompted me to look around. It was not within his ability to understand how I could prefer dirty New York City to this supposed paradise. And the answer for me was simple: Miami was not enough, yet far too much at the same time.

Miami was not enough, yet far too much at the same time

I find Florida creepy in general. Between the alligator attacks and bath salt-soaked acts of depravity (oh, and Trump and DeSantis), it’s all a bit extra in the wrong way.  If you watched the excellent show “Bloodline” with Sissy Spacek, its depiction of the Keys embodied the weird and sordid dark side I always felt in the sunshine state, and it’s just not my tempo. Also, the hurricanes keep getting scarier, so it’s hard not to catastrophize. 

A good friend I met at the gym was in her 60s, and she was married to someone who was a fire chief in NYC during 9/11. After that awful day, they decided to make a move. The familiarity of her New York energy and wit was a source of comfort. As we sat in her beautiful garden, she told me I was in Miami at the wrong time of my life (I moved there at 34). She accurately noted that Miami is great when you are young and hot and want to party, but it’s also great if you are retired and want to soak in the sun. I was there at the height of my ad career and, admittedly, enjoying Miami was not much of an option as I worked 24/7.

But it wasn’t all bad. 

I learned to drive. I loved the Everglades and sitting swampside for all-you-can-eat stone crabs, and the Keys are lovely, too. And since we are big fans of Jamaica, jetting there in no time and coming back home to warmth and palm trees makes the rentree much easier. Oh, and no income tax.

I was also in the shape of my life. How could you not be when you were half-naked all the time? And I also value the education I received culturally. Miami is a Spanish-speaking melting pot and I learned so much, except Spanish. Languages are not my superpower. 

There are also cool spots like Churchill’s for a punk rock dive bar vibe, and the Standard Hotel is just lovely for a pool day. The Cuban coffee is magical, as is Cuban chicken soup with a squeeze of lime — a revelation. There is also a vital art scene thanks to Art Basel, incredible galleries and museums like the Pérez Art Museum and the Bass, and the now iconic temple to street art, The Wynwood Walls.

According to https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Miami_FL/overview, the median listing home price in Miami, FL, was $595K in March of this year, trending up 14.4% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $417, and the median home sold price was $505K. So in a sense, it’s not awful, though I know prices have increased since I lived there. In 2008 at the height of the economic crisis, I could have purchased my enormous two-bedroom on the water for under $200K. 

We all know Florida has experienced a population boom, but a Miami real-estate agent told Insider in 2021 “that 40% to 50% of his clients who are new to the state move out within a few years.” 

“So many people come for a week or two on vacation, and they think their life is going to be like that every day,” he said. A nearly 14,000-member Facebook group for people moving out of Florida has cited severe weather, low wages, crowded beaches, changing politics, and steep housing prices as reasons people left.

I understand Miami’s appeal but are warm weather and swaying palms enough to overrule all of the above?

The Verdict

I once read that as a fully evolved human you can live anywhere, because wherever you go there you are. Unfortunately, my evolution has not yet included being insensitive to place because place still matters to me. And Miami, with its sex appeal and tropical vibe, just  isn’t my place, and I would never want to live there again. I know that people who grew up there feel very differently but, to me, the artifice of the place holds little appeal. I know there is much to discover beneath the surface but you really have to dig, and I’ve already mentioned in a previous post I’m not a pioneer. Plus, the heat is hateful. That peace with place may change as I grow older, but in a city where roaches fly and diamonds drip for daytime, I probably won’t reach nirvana. Check, please.

Talk to me in the comments.  XO

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

20 COMMENTS

  1. I find miami vulgar and florida overall unlikeable. The weather is only tolerable three months of the year. And with climate change i dont think it’s a safe place to live.
    I have many friends who had good careers in nyc who have been unable to find decent paying jobs since moving to florida.
    And with the likes of desantis as governor, i won’t give a nickel of money to even visit.

  2. In the late 80’s were were stationed inTampa at McDill AFB (Cent Com). We were told it was a better year – lower heat and humidity. Really? We felt the schools were inferior so with the book banning good luck to the kids.
    Bugs…had to get a year-round bug screen for our car.
    Locals not all that friendly.
    With the election of gun loving DeSantis and his hatred for women, children, immigrants and education we’d never go back, even for a vacation.

  3. Native NYer here. I lived in Miami in the 90s (when I was in my 20s) for about a decade. The exact right time to live there. Your friend is right – Miami is great for the young and the old. It was fun, but definitely had an expiration date. I had a really nice personal life. Without having any real $, lived on the water (rent was $600/month!), had my small sailboat docked behind my house, enjoyed a very active lifestyle – jogging at the beach every morning/ tennis / windsurfing in Biscayne Bay and I never missed a program by the Miami Light Project or Miami City Ballet. It was definitely a good time, but professionally it was much tougher. I ended up moving to DC for an amazing job when I turned 31. My career really took off and I never looked back. Every area has its pros and cons. They best way to live in Miami is part time! 🙂

  4. Just say no to Florida. Besides politics but is there anything other? I love the winter horse show circuit in Wellington (WEF)and all of the midwest horse people go there to escape the weather and still show. I have stayed at the Biltmore and really liked it so I give it that also. But anti semitism is on the rise there and book banning. I wish the state would float off into the Atlantic.

  5. Living in Florida right now and planning to move out when we retire. Now isn’t that opposite thinking? Thought we’d like it for the warmth but dislike it because of the politics, booking banning, the reversing of voting rights, gerrymandering, guns, and all the hate. The dumbing down of the population has been going on for years but it just recently took a hard right turn down a sharp decline.

  6. Miami isn’t for you now any more than it was for you then. Nor will it be in the future. You belong in New York, and you belong to New York. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. And in the interest of full disclosure; I’m the friend.

  7. Miami isn’t for you now any more than it was for you then. Nor will it be in the future. You belong in New York, and you belong to New York. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. And in the interest of full disclosure; I’m the friend

  8. The only way to live in Miami is part-time because Miami is not enough, yet far too much at the same time.

    Yes. I am going to use this line whenever someone asks me: why don’t you live in Miami instead of NYC? I get that question 2-3 times a year.

    I spend 2-3 months over the winter in Miami (when the sun beats a nasty winter) and sprinkle in a few week-long trips thru out the rest of the year. It’s all I need. It’s all anyone should need. And I know this because I spent the first 18 years of my life in Miami. And then went back for 7 more when I was still young enough to keep up with it. But now? No thank you.

  9. After reading this I don’t even want to FLY over Miami 😂 Made me lol more than a few times.

    Looks like me and my poor second language skills (le sigh) and hair that gets too frizzy in New York humidity is going to stay where the roaches are as grounded as our outlooks.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Sheri Radel Rosenberghttps://unapologeticstyle.substack.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg is a Philly-born, Brooklyn-based writer who explores style, beauty, culture, and midlife with wit, warmth, and wisdom. Her story includes successful forays in the worlds of trend forecasting, ad agency photo production, ghostwriting, and strategic messaging development for fashion and beauty brands - all while amassing a slip dress collection that would make any Gen Xer proud. At the dawn of social media, Sheri launched her personal blog–which combines her passion for writing with her style obsession–and she hasn’t looked back. As Style Editor for the AGEIST, she’s inspired by the styles of the 70s and the 90s, along with all the beautiful people she sees daily in NYC.

 

Sign up for AGEIST today
We will never sell or give your email to others. Get special info on Diet, Exercise, Sleep and Longevity.

Recommended Articles

RECENT ARTICLES

LATEST Profiles

Latest in Health Science

X