Tens of thousands of visitors are expected in town for Urban Beach Weekend from near and far.
Linda and Sonia Saada qualify for the “far” category: they came across the Atlantic Ocean from Paris for the weekend. The tourists say they’re here to dance, celebrate and enjoy the beach.
That, and “beautiful boys,” Sonia Saada said. She said she has her eye out for a good-looking Puerto Rican or Dominican guy.
Police have their eye out too – for any trouble. There were less than 400 arrests over the Memorial Day weekend last year, about equal to the year before.
For 2013, police will have 600 officers in total out over the next several days, including 200 from outside agencies. There are officers on horseback and on bicycles, and extra patrols to handle any problems.
”Our tourists want to come here and have a great time, and we're just there to prevent them – the bad guys – from causing them any harm or disrupting their festivities,” Miami Beach Police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said.
Police have already shut down Ocean Drive, and driving in South Beach will be restricted to drivers heading northbound on Collins Avenue from 5th Street up to 17th Street, and southbound only on Washington Avenue from 17th down to 5th.
The mayor says that though some residents don't like the crowds, the weekend is good for business. Seventy-six percent of the area’s hotel rooms are booked.
“Well, I hope they have fun and they should respect our city,” Mayor Matti Bower said. “But have a lot of fun and know that there are certain laws that we’re going to enforce.”
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