Hurry. This is a cash contest you can win while strolling down the street. All you need is a phone or a camera.
There is still time — but not a lot — to enter The Miami Herald’s Best Block competition, which aims to identify and celebrate the most vibrant city streets in South Florida.
Submit photos or short videos of your favorite urban block, along with a line or two of text or a voiceover explaining what makes it so, by the Monday midnight deadline and you could win one of several cash prizes up to $600. In addition, the best single block in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties, as selected by an expert jury from your submissions, will win a block party in the fall.
All entries will be posted online, and readers will also vote to select a people’s choice award.
Along with our contest partners — WRLN/Herald News, the Townhouse Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation — we’re looking to highlight the makings of a great city block as South Floridians flock to our reviving downtowns, city neighborhoods and suburban centers to experience urban life in all its sun-splashed variety.
The best blocks are defined by their friendliness to pedestrians, their architecture, their mix of activities and the people they draw. All those elements go into creating that unique sense of place that’s hard to define but, well, you know it when you’re there.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either. Take a look at the sampling of submitted photos and videos we’ve posted on the contest website, www.MiamiHerald.com/
The locations range from the ethnic and funky (Calle Ocho in East Little Havana and Northwest Second Avenue in Little Haiti) to the posh (Miami’s Design District and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale), from the historic (Espanola Way in South Beach) to the brand-spanking new (Midtown Miami), from the artsy and transformational (Wynwood) to the long-established (Hollywood Boulevard downtown).
If you can’t settle on just one, nominate as many as you like.
The energetic folks at Emerge Miami submitted several video entries and, in one voiceover, a good list of criteria: “Walkability, bikeability ... lots of things to do.’’
The block you nominate doesn’t have to be the one you live on, but it well could be.
Dorothy Lunsford Tuttle nominated her home block of 30 years in the compact, residential French Normandy village on LeJeune Road in Coral Gables: “The kind of neighborhood,’’ she wrote in longhand, that “when you get in and out of your car you meet one of your neighbors, stop and chat! Take an evening stroll and you find someone walking their dog or just for pleasure...
“In the evening, you hear the city alive. You hear our young family activity of basketball, smell the grilling and sounds of real life. I feel safe, it’s like being hugged by a teddy bear. We are in town ...We walk to our dentist, restaurants, the library and the park...
“Our neighborhood is the perfect place to walk and experience the stimulation and excitement of city living. A place to enjoy evidence of human life.’’
The great urbanist writer Jane Jacobs herself could not have said it better.
So get inspired, and win print and online glory — and maybe some cash and a good time — for yourself and your favorite places.
The contest website has instructions on how to enter, stories and tips on what to look for, and other details.
May the best block win.