A sea of recently tanned, Burberried and Hugo Bossed bros blithely milled about kaleidoscopic murals decrying the societal fallout of unrestricted capitalism. However, all was not well at Wynwood Walls’ monthly Tech Meetup. The event’s habitual irrationally exuberant techno-utopianism was replaced by a much more dour, circumspect note when word got round that the world’s third richest gentrifier was moving to Miami.
“Miami prices are no joke,” decried Robert Ipswich, a 35-year-old product executive at Sysco. “My $400K salary barely covers the essentials: a three-bedroom Brickell condo, two Teslas, monthly international business class vacations, a maid, and weekly outings to Michelin Star restaurants. How am I supposed to survive in this city when Bezos waltzes in and jacks up all the rates?”
“We simply can’t compete with his $144 billion,” railed Georges Blaine, managing partner at OMNIUS Venture Capital. “He’s going to move in, buy up everything, and leave the rest of us in the cold. What the hell am I supposed to do? Sell my summer home in Asheville to keep living in Miami? Where am I supposed to summer? Is life even worth living when ‘summer’ stops being a verb?”
“When I came to this city in 2021, there was nothing,” explained Ashe Gropius, the 53-year-old scion of a New England hotel dynasty. “And I mean nothing. No E by Equinox gyms, no McCarthy Salads, no air conditioning, no buildings to speak of, no roads. There was a single water taxi across the Miami River, and it was a crocodile. Tech dragged South Florida out of its fetid swampland, so who does Jeff Bezos think he is to waltz in here and one-up us all?”
The DJ tried his best to liven the networking function’s dreary mood by playing some old-school Missy Elliott, but ‘twas all for naught. Even if they weren’t all depressed by their short-term prospects in the Magic City, no one in attendance knew how to dance. The event mercifully sputtered to an end to the muted scuffle of hundreds of Gucci loafers shuffling to waiting Uber Blacks.
Once the crowd and vape smoke cleared, a small army of Central American and native Miamian custodians descended on the scene. They worked late into the night under towering, silent murals of Scrooge McDuck and Richie Rich—their artists long since pushed out Wynwood.
Only when the last table was packed, last business card thrown out, and last canned cocktail collected did the workers walk blearily to their cars for the long drive to Homestead, Opa Locka, West Kendall, Hialeah, or anywhere else they were able to find housing with roommates and/or several generations of family. They stumbled into bed for a few hours’ rest before doing it again the next day in an endless struggle to keep pace with Miami’s impossibly inflating cost of living.
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