It happens every year, or so it seems. The New York Jets come to Miami and there seems to be an overly large contingent of J.E.T.S…Jets, Jets, Jets, fans in the stadium. I wanted to find out why. Recently I was in in Miami doing research around the area on a variety of things relating to the Miami Dolphins with a little fun mixed in as well. One of those ideas I had was really to get out and see what kind of people lived in and around the Miami area and why.
I found out.
Yes, there is a large Cuban and Latin influence in South Florida. I actually found it quite refreshing to see such a mix in culture but I expected that Latin flavor. What I didn’t expect was the large number of New York and New Jersey immigrants. Can I call them immigrants? Well, they are Jets fans so taking a stab at them is perfectly fine, I suppose.
Day one my wife and I sat down at a little breakfast restaurant in Lauderdale By The Sea, it was quaint and only a stones throw from the beach and a very short walk from our hotel. As we were greeted by the hostess for seating, I couldn’t help notice that thick NY/NJ accent. I looked at my wife and laughed and said, “her voice reminds me of that girl Janice from “Friends”.” It didn’t stop there.
The waitress had a thick New York accent, the waiter did, hell even the chef did. I would later find out that the owner himself was transplanted from the NY/NJ area. Funnier still the menu was all about the flavors of NY and NJ. O.k. I thought, my wife and I simply landed in an area that is from NY. Taking a break on my research I took my wife and son to the Miami Zoo and to my surprise, mixed in with the Latin was yet more of that NY/NJ accents. At the gate, at the ticket booth, at a vending site.
That made me think. LBTS was an hour north of where we were so why such a large contingent of New Yorkers here? At a grocery store in the Homestead area I found more of the accent and transplanted Jets fans (yes, I found myself asking almost every time I encountered the accent). I found it again in Key West, at Bayside Marketplace in Miami, in Ft. Lauderdale, at the mall of University Drive in Plantation, gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores. Every time I encountered the accent, I allowed myself to do a little “racial profiling”.
“ahh, you’re from New Jersey” I would ask, “New York” some would reply dryly as though I was making a monumental mistake in not knowing the difference in accents between New Yorker’s and New Jersey’ers (what do you call someone from New Jersey?). I would always follow that up with “Jets or Giants?”. To a tee, the Jets were named every time. In my entire week of traversing South Florida I encountered only a handful of proclaimed Giants fans and I wondered if that was simply because they won the Super Bowl last year. Most however were Jets fans.
As conversations continued, most of those I spoke with either escaped the harsh winters for the sunny Miami skies or were in Miami on timeshare vacations. Some admitted to spending winters in Miami and summers in the NY/NJ areas and that taking in the Jets/Miami games each year was a piece of home. In speaking with a couple of teens who shared our hotel area, their families were from the New Jersey shore. A contingent of five families, all Jets fans. The teens said that the families would time share twice a year in Miami. Once in the spring and then again whenever the Dolphins and Jets played.
There were times I actually felt as if the Cuban/Latin culture and the NY/NJ vernacular was surrounding the Miami area and I realized why the Dolphins fans find so many Jets fans at their home, they have been invaded. The warm pleasing weather is far better than northern snow and windy chills that blast New York and New Jersey from the Atlantic coast and the northwestern swoops of the jet-stream from Canada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Miami and it’s welcoming laid back nature was built not only on the Latin culture but developed by northern migrants to a sunnier south. Tourism finally gave way to residency. And unfortunately a way too large contingent of Jets fans.