Thursday November 16, 2006

How a marina works

North Beach Marina

I was just driving around, getting into other people’s business, when I drove by a marina on an impromptu trip down the 79th street causeway a few weeks ago. There was a guy washing a car and a big dog, and I snapped a few pictures of boats up on these huge shelfs, more or less expecting to get yelled at even though I was firmly on public sidewalk. Surprisingly, though, he and everyone else at North Beach Marina was super friendly, and I was invited in to stroll around and ask questions.

North Beach Marina

The boats sit triple and quadruple-stacked on these metal frames. There is also a hangar, which is the same on the inside but protected from the elements.

North Beach Marina

A big forklift grabs them from the shelves . . .

North Beach Marina

. . . and plops them in the water. These forklifts are as big as an 18-wheeler cab, can lift as high as three stories, and have forks as long as a car. The marina has two of them.

North Beach Marina

The boats sit on two carpet-covered slats of wood which are so close together that I figured a light gust might knock them all over. I’m told, however, that they stay put even in hurricane-force winds, and during Wilma, there was only one boat they bothered to tie down. No worries, no problems.

North Beach Marina

A slick, James Bond-looking catamaran sits on the bottom shelf. I forgot to ask what its top speed is.

North Beach Marina

Next to the marina, a little marine supply store specializing in boat upholstery. Lots of work on a sewing machine goes on there.

North Beach Marina
724 Ne 79th St
Miami, FL
(305) 758-8888

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Parking meters

There are areas where parking spaces are a genuine scarcity compared to demand — anywhere near the beach, Downtown, the airport. Then there are places where that status is more dubious — Coral Gables, Sunset Place, downtown Hollywood. I think Midtown falls squarely in the latter category.

It isn’t necessarily even the money — it’s the feeling of being ripped off and made to jump through hoops. Parking in a garage is already a hassle, but making me fuck around with a ticket that needs to get validated and keeping an eye on the clock is a great way to make sure I only to to Target when I really really need to. For the life of me, I don’t see how that’s good for business.

In some areas, there might be a genuine concern that someone will park in one garage and then go somewhere else where the parking is more expensive. But in Wynwood? The only thing around there is galleries. If folks going to the galleries get in the habit of parking for free at Midtown, I’d think that would be a welcome development. I just don’t know what they’re thinking with those rates — it’s like they don’t want to make enough money to cover the expense of having the garage attendant and enforcement, but want to charge enough to be a pain in the ass.

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