Living in Florida, much as I love it, can often be embarrassing. We are in the news often but it’s rarely good. We have ruined an entire presidential election as a result of floating “chads,” we have opened our gates to people who have gotten away with murder, (OJ) and we are currently on the map as the “prescription pill capital of the country.” We have had our fair share of hurricanes, media and courtroom sensation over the death of Anna Nicole Smith and plenty of childhood abductions and murders from Adam Walsh to Jessica Lunsford and Kaylee Anthony and who can forget the way our government stormed a home and swept a sleeping child out in the middle of the night to send him back to his country. Currently our unemployment rate is below the national average and our real estate market has declined faster than a speeding a bullet. Our students test scores fall below much of the country and regarding gun laws we have become the “shoot first” state.
Yup, we in Florida have been the butt of many a joke, and most of the time, we deserve it! But now, suddenly, my fine state is back on the map and this time, everyone wants to be a South Floridian thanks to a little basketball team we so appropriately call THE MIAMI HEAT. Miami now has Dwyane, Chris and Lebron and all of a sudden the whole country is talking Miami.
This was quite evident as we spent the past few days in New York. Of course Mitch wore Miami Heat t-shirts everywhere stirring up a lot of conversation, but just over-hearing people talk from the streets of the busy city, to the serenity of the mountains, the buzz was ALL about the Heat. What a nice switch to walk tall and be proud to be a Floridian!
Even as we stood outside at the Today Show with about 20,000 others eagerly (and quite patiently, I might add) awaiting the Lady Gaga mini concert, the police officers struck up conversation with Mitch. They wished so hard for Lebron to come to save the Knicks, but no such luck. So we might have a dream team, but at that moment in time, they had Ms. Gaga! She did not disappoint. Even as the rain came down (a truly isolated shower that was probably much needed to cool off the mobs of people, young and old) she was a great sports and delighted her fans.
People began lining up days before for this concert. Mitch and I took a walk over to NBC about midnight, the night before her appearance. The line of “little monsters” went on for blocks and blocks. While the city did a great job of keeping things under control, it was a blast to walk up and down and see so many of both genders dressed in their craziest get-ups. I snapped this shot during that midnight stroll.
We had some incredible food in New York, where it’s quite easy to vegan choices. At Ellen’s Stardust Diner (which is a must for anyone visiting the Broadway area) I had the best bowl of oatmeal I have ever eaten. Dressed up with bananas, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts and more, it was perfect! The vegan ravioli at The Guilded Otter in New Paltz was probably the most decadent vegan meal I have ever eaten. Even at the diner on Main Street (also in New Paltz) there was fakin’ bacon and sausage on the menu! I did indulge in some real cheese pizza in Queens and it was a great treat.
It was great to see some family (I wish I could have seen my whole family, but time did not permit) and friends, great to be in both the big apple and our small college town, great to be a part of the gaga experience and best of all, it was great to be proud to be a Floridian and come back home to the place that every basketball fan in the country is talking about – More than ever before, The Heat is definitely ON!