Quinceañeras are to Hispanics what Sweet Sixteens are to Americans. I had about six dresses that took me through that bagel bite, hors d'oeuvres-filled, cider drinking, banquet hall dancing hell of a season. No matter your background, Miamians experienced at least one of these lavish parties growing up, but these days they aren’t as ubiquitous as they once were, probably due to the modernization of the local Hispanic community. Around junior year, I got my first fake ID and went to Back Door Bamby, as well as other spots like Pawn Shop and Oxygen. In my later years, it was Buck 15, Tantra, and Grass. Everyone knew someone with a fake ID hook-up, but for the most part, you didn't need one.
Eventually, I matured -- as we all do -- and my favorite memories shifted, as well. They went from memories of clubbing with fake IDs to more whimsical, nostalgic, only-in-Miami type of experiences. Blasting down US1 on a Saturday night without worrying about traffic and construction, when the Miami Arena was the latest and greatest? Yeah, that was the best. I can easily recall the magic of crossing MacArthur Causeway with my parents to visit the then unknown and unconquered Miami Beach, and spending Saturdays watching morning cartoons while eating Eggos and Milca (bubble gum cream soda), arguing with my parents in Spanglish the whole time, pleading with them to take me to a friend’s house later to watch SNICK. And Sunset Place. How could I forget walking around Sunset Place for hours with friends? (Back when it was cool, of course). But, as much as I am accepting of changes, it’s my hope that Miami won’t become one tremendous slab of concrete filled with chain establishments and forget -- and destroy -- its own history in the process. The old can live amongst the new, no? The death of Fox’s Sherron Inn, Jumbo’s Restaurant, and Tobacco Road might say otherwise. It’s a tired cliché, but appropriate: only time will tell.