“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention” – Frank Sinata singing “My Way”
I did it my way for eight years, and I still reign supreme as the world’s greatest park critic. (I’ve never met another). Here’s my final column: “And the Winner Is …“.
Patrol Patrol was my creation, although the idea started with Biscayne Times editor Jim Mullin, who simply presented the idea and said, “You’ll figure it out.” I guess we did.
My craziest park experience was in downtown Miami’s Bicentennial Park (now transformed into Museum Park) where a homeless man gave me the “insider’s tour” of the best spots for pooping and pimping.
Check out my penultimate column in the Biscayne Times, where I review Miami’s worst parks in “Good Park / Bad Park.”
The most serene moments happened in almost every park, because they were rarely crowded, and I made a habit of walking the full perimeter to appreciate the park’s scope. Every park has a tree or a corner or a bench that you can claim. Better yet, keep walking and absorb the sensations flowing over you.
Every park has wildlife, and Miami is especially blessed with spiders and amazing aquatic creatures. One time while kayaking back from an island in Biscayne Bay, a man-sized wild dolphin repeatedly performed 10-foot leaps into the air and landed on its back. Probably no more than five people witnessed that feat, even though many thousands live and work in the nearby skyrises. As busy urbanites, we miss almost every moment of wonder.
What nuggets of wisdom did I learn by visiting and analyzing a new park every month for eight years? I guess I could sum it up by saying:
- Nature creates masterpieces, and humans can only build frames. Light frames around large spaces work the best.
- The Everglades is not a park, because an ecosystem has no gate. But it needs a park to save what little remains.
- All children deserve a safe playground in a walkable community. We are not civilized because we’re far, far away from that dream—although a true leader could make it possible (go for it, Donald Trump).
Goodbye my devoted fans (all three of you). Step away from your computer and go take a walk in the park. Now!