While not much of a map to rely upon for actual navigation, admittedly, images such as the above do serve their purpose, and lead us somewhere. If you’re simply looking to get from “here” to “there,” you will find easily available a multitude of ordinary maps. They will be used and forgotten. Images such as the one above, on the other hand, can point the way toward realms deeper and more mysterious, especially when the imagination is willing. They offer reflections of the “Great Florida Dream,” itself!
If you are visiting Miami for the first time, or haven’t been back in a while, it’s well worth taking a little time to think about the areas of town that are most likely to serve you well as a “home base.” If you want to be near the South Beach or Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell, North Miami, Key Biscayne, or Downtown areas, but not in any of them, our location is unparalleled.
View larger map
Even if you aren’t exactly sure what you will be doing during your visit or where you’ll be spending your time, it’s a great idea to take a look at a map and get a general feel for where you might want to be. Even a few minutes would be time well spent. My suggestion would be that you visit Google’s map for the home’s address, 1737 SW 12 Street, Miami FL 33135 (shown above).
In that map, should you stop to consider it, you will find a truly excellent tool for getting your bearings, either by using the “directions” tab up top or just working with the box that automatically pops open right next to the green arrow marking the spot, and typing in addresses, either to or from the house, or other areas, addresses, places of interest, or attractions in which you might have an interest.
Should you recognize this view, you will have somehow made a really wrong turn or two, and be be time traveling. Please don’t be alarmed: there are familiar landmarks to provide comfort. Here you’d be standing exactly where the city’s downtown as we now know it sits, gazing southwards toward a Miami River that might seem suspiciously clean.
Or, just closing the box and playing with the zoom (in and out) and/or “pan” features of the map will provide an excellent “visual” on the lay of the land, helping you decide where you might like to lay claim to your own “place in the sun.”
However you might choose to do a little homework, you may be very glad you did. First, Miami is a big place, geographically. Roughly 40 linear miles (or about 64 km.) of highway connect its northern boundary (let’s say Miami Shores) and its southern tip (at Homestead). In an urban area as intense and convoluted as this one-of-a-kind subtropical metropolis, that covers an awful lot of ground, a journey in space and time that can seem almost surreal. The place is cobbled together, too, of an astonishing number of different neighborhoods of all kinds, large and small, along the way. In many of those areas you’re just as likely to hear two languages as one, and in some of those English will not be among them.
Then, there’s the traffic. It gets worse and worse. Miami was recently ranked 4th in the nation for congestion in the 2007 National Urban Mobility Report (just ahead of Philadelphia, and second behind L.A.), and that is most definitely not good news.
All of that said, Miami is indeed a wonderful place, bursting with rare opportunities and blessed with beautiful vistas of land, sea, and Florida’s famously big sky. With just a little forethought, you’ll have done your best to make the memories of your stay here sweet ones. You can always sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or be cut off, cursed out, or generally driven to your wits end back home, or on another trip!