Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Back in the good old days, when a man woke up in the morning and decided he wanted to design and build a town, he just up and did it. And if he wanted to lay it all out in a faux-Middle-Eastern architectural theme, hey, why not? Aviator Glenn Curtiss designed and developed the city of Opa-Locka and based it on a One Thousand and One Nights motif, to the extent that even the streets that have names like Sabur Lane, Sultan Avenue, Ali Baba Avenue, Perviz Avenue and - yes - Sesame Street. (The city's name is an abbreviation of a Seminole place name, Opa-tisha-wocka-locka, which sounded too Klishama Klingo to be true, but I checked and it's apparently legit.)

Opa-locka has the largest collection of Moorish Revival architecture in the Western hemisphere, but unfortunately it boasts a sadder statistic as well: in 2004 Opa-locka had the highest rate of violent crime for any city in the United States. Any city. Even Detroit. Pittsburgh. Oakland. Milwaukee. How is this possible? I dunno, man, go ask them. I'm just filing a report here.

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