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Thread: The Skinny on Late Night Beach Romps on South Beach (Photo)

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default The Skinny on Late Night Beach Romps on South Beach (Photo)

    We had a discussion about this a while back: are the police enforcing the nighttime beach closure (12 am - 5 am) more stringently than they used to? I'd noticed a greater presence of their 3 wheelers patroling the beach in recent years, while others in the forum argued that it was still relatively easy to hang out on the beach after midnight without being questioned by the police. So what's the scoop?

    I decided to put the matter to the test and headed out last night (Friday) around 11 for some evening exercise.

    The beach at night is a supernatural experience. The wind whips around you at almost hurricane strength and you can hear the waves crashing nearby. The clouds form dramatic patterns overhead, highlighted by the lights of an occasional approaching jet. The glow of ships can be seen out on the water and a fishy smell wafts upon the evening air. On particularly magic nights, the Miami moon reflects upon the ocean, giving it a fluorescent shimmer. You can keep track of the time and temperature from the bank clock on Lincoln Road, which is visible from most of the Art Deco section of the beach. In the distance, you can see the neon lights of Ocean Drive and hear the cacophony of music pouring out of its clubs.

    As I trudged through the sand, I noticed groups of people, gathered in little circles, the glimmer of cell phones, giddy laughter, glow sticks, drunk people, and a few silhouettes of amorous couples on the lifeguard stands.

    A few years back, in addition to the above, you would have also noticed a much greater presence of homeless men sleeping on the stacks of beach chairs or on and around the lifeguard stands. You might have seen them walking aimlessly up and down the beach. But they're mostly gone now from the beach. These days, they've become more evident along the streets of South Beach.

    Right at the stroke of midnight, I noticed the headlights of the police ATV's speeding up and down the hard sand areas. They would occasionally find a group and stop, and then dash on. I continued my walk -- from 3rd up until 23rd and back, and was okay until a little after 1 am, when I felt the glow of headlights against my back.

    The policeman came up right behind me on his ATV and asked me to stand in front of his lights.

    "Where do you live?" he asked.

    "DeLand, Florida," I answered.

    "DeLand, Florida?" he replied.

    "Yes."

    "So what are you doing in Miami?" he asked.

    "I work for a travel and tourism website called miamibeach411.com. I come down here every month or so to find things to write about."

    "Where are you staying?" he continued.

    "At a hostel over there," I said, motioning toward the southwest. The name of the hostel escaped me at that precise moment.

    "The beach is closed now. You have to clear the beach."

    "Okay. I was just wondering, that policy used to be pretty loosely enforced. Have things changed now?"

    "It's still pretty loose," he said. "If you're with a girl, we don't really say anything, but if you're a guy walking around by yourself, we don't know what you're up to."

    "I understand," I said, motioning toward a pathway to Lummus Park. "I'll head out that way."

    He said good night and sped off. I hoped no one was making out in the sand nearby. He might not be able to see them in time to stop.

    So, there you have it. Those are the criteria for being out on the beach after midnight. I do somewhat understand it, because I've seen the creepers try to steal things from couples while they were making out. Purses, clothes, whatever they could get. How was he to know I wasn't feeding a crack habit and preying on them myself? But at the same time, I noticed that pretty much everyone on the beach has a cellphone. Rather than selectively run people off the beach at one of its most beautiful times, it might be a better idea to let everyone prowl the beach at will -- that's what makes this place unique, after all -- the special freedom you feel to experience the moonlit exotic playground of Miami Beach -- just post a 3 digit number to call if you observe anybody trying to steal somebody's stuff or assaulting someone.

    I'm sure it would be interesting to be able to read police reports of what they actually contend with out there on a nightly basis. Still, judging from the officer's questions, I wonder how much of it is motivated out of a desire to drive out the homeless, who will simply exchange the sandy refuge for an alley or a side street.

    So, things have changed. You used to be able to prowl around as a single guy without being questioned. But not now.


    (photo: Brad Rickerby)
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    dylan and Soulkeeper like this.

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    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    Beautiful - felt like I was there :)

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    Gus
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    Great post, Doug. Very informative.

    Sounds like the police are looking out for our best interest.

    Happy the officer's demeanor changed when he found out you weren't a thief.

  4. #4
    Santana
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    That was great Doug!

    I really felt like I was there. Now I wanna go hang out at the beach at night. :)

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rebecca and Santana. Just bring a guy with you, Santana! Fortunately, you're in the right demographic...

    I wonder how the after-hours prohibition of single males affects gay cruising. That's probably why so much of the gay community moved away to Fort Lauderdale.

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Doug! Thanks for being our resident intrepid adventurer!

    Yes, that was my first question: so it's ok only if your a straight couple? I wondered about the gay cruising thing too. I believe there are a number of gay homeless men that hang around Lummus Park and perhaps they are the target. The reason I know this is because people have told me about (be careful, they say) but also because there is a photographer on Flickr who "specializes" in documenting their lives.

    My friends and I have had beach picnics along 39th street and have never been hassled at all. I think that a) security is probably more lax north of south beach and b) they assume there's safety in numbers.

    If you are a straight couple in South Beach, you don't want to end up like this.

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Ouch! The brightness of the day has a way of ruining the euphoria of moonlight.

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Doug, you are a wordsmith after my heart ... I love the way you phrased that! :)

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Well....ditto! ;-)

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    A little birdie told me that if you are a straight couple and are fooling around late at night on the beach (location - 3rd street), a cop will come up to you with a flashlight and not give you a hassle because you are fully clothed. If you find yourself in this position, you should immediately disengage from your amorous embrace and politely tell the cop "sorry, we're ok, we're fully clothed."

    Surprisingly, the cop will have the courtesy to tell you that you should be careful, because there is a porno stalker with night vision cameras on the prowl. Then the cop just walks away and lets you carry on.

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Hmmmmm...judging by the heavy police presence these days on the beach at night, I don't see how the porn stalker would be able to find much material!

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    This same little birdie told me that there were lots of people on the beach last night. Anyone with a quiet shutter could've easily photographed the said couple without drawing attention.

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    I have an update from the little birdie. Her wallet and cellphone went missing while she was on the beach with her gentleman friend, and she wasn't even sloshed drunk and rolling around in the sand.

    UNbelievable, even from just sitting on one of the reclining lounge chairs, a pick pocket managed to get his hands inside the purse and pick the two most valuable items, even though this little birdie had one eye open all the time.

    Lesson learned ... BE VERY CAREFUL. And if you are going to be even the slightest bit distracted on the beach (even if you're not smooching), avoid bringing your purse and if you do, make sure you have your eyes on it the entire time.

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    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    Or you could just drive up to Delray. B/c of all the halfway houses,( that don't allow males inside if it's a female house and vice versa, there are tons of kids hooking up on the beaches and b/c people usually have nothing left by the time they make it into the program, no one steals their stuff cuz there wouldn't be much in one of their wallets! I know of tons of people who use the beach to hook up and never heard of any cops or pickpockets...Now with the money you would spend on gas you might as well get a hotel, but some people enjoy the ambiance of the beach. Not me. It's sandy and buggy!

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    I had a feeling that's what happened to you, Maria. Pickpockets are all over that beach at night. At least they were. I think the police don't cruise around as much during the week. Only the weekends. As soon as they see you're distracted with other things, they creep up on your belongings. They call them "creepers"!

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    So this little birdie in question... She was on a beach chair having some fun and someone managed to get in her purse and take her wallet?? Wow...

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    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    So this little birdie in question... She was on a beach chair having some fun and someone managed to get in her purse and take her wallet?? Wow...
    Yes, my dear. This little birdie who is old enough and wise enough to know better got had! LOL! :-)

    However, she claims that in spite of the petty theft, it was worth having her heart stolen, at least for the evening. ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maria de los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    So this little birdie in question... She was on a beach chair having some fun and someone managed to get in her purse and take her wallet?? Wow...
    Yes, my dear. This little birdie who is old enough and wise enough to know better got had! LOL! :-)

    However, she claims that in spite of the petty theft, it was worth having her heart stolen, at least for the evening. ;-)
    I am starting to think that in spite of what happened, she did have a good evening... ;-P

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Maybe the nightvision porno stalker was able to get some good footage of the event that you could use as evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug
    Maybe the nightvision porno stalker was able to get some good footage of the event that you could use as evidence.
    Ha! that is actually a good point though... 8-/

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