CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: My good friends Ahmet Erkaya and Anastasia Koutsioukis—of Mandolin Aegean Bistro—are part of this month’s feature on some of our favorite couples in Miam; Ocean Drive’s dashing deputy editor, Bill Kearney, has been with the magazine a year now! Here, we’re celebrating at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami; February is Lee Brian Schrager’s busiest month. Here we are at a recent dinner at Zuma, for a caloric splurge before the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival; with Martin Rozenblum, my sister Caroline, and her husband, Luca Lombardi, aboard the M/Y Blue Moon
Living all the way down here in Miami Beach, it’s easy to forget that Florida and Alabama are neighboring states. Our city’s multiculturalism is one of its greatest assets, so I’m waiting to see how the Supreme Court handles the controversial HB 56 immigration law (the nation’s strictest) that Alabama passed last year. It’s important to consider the implications: Late last year, a German Mercedes-Benz executive, visiting on business, was sent to a Tuscaloosa jail overnight after a traffic cop discovered he didn’t have his passport in-hand, and a Chinese company that had planned to build a $100 million factory in Thomasville—population a mere 5,000!—has decided to hold off, citing employment concerns. Can you imagine all the talent (not to mention foreign investment) that would be in jeopardy if such a law passed in Florida?
If you haven’t yet seen A Better Life—whose star, Demián Bichir, was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt this year—check it out. It’s a fantastic film that sheds light on immigration issues. And after all, with the exception of Native Americans, everyone was an immigrant to the US at one time. This past December, I was happy to be accepted into Miami’s Biscayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was interesting to find out that one line of my ancestors arrived in America (via Kent, England) in 1630, and even more exciting to learn that one of them, Thomas Lord, fought in the Revolutionary War. Ancestry.com can be surprisingly addictive, so save it for your downtime—and there’s not much this time of year: Between the Miami International Boat Show (February 16 to 20) and one of my favorite annual events, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (February 23 to 26), the sidewalks are absolutely sizzling this month, so I’m just happy we have an extra day.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MANNY HERNANDEZ (ROZENBLUM); JOSHUA WOODWARD (KEARNEY, ERKAYA); BILL KEARNEY (SCHRAGER)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.