There’s no place like home.

Welcome to the premier issue of ISLAND Magazine, the journal of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, to those traveling here for the first time, presents itself as sort of a paradox. How many times have I heard a visiting friend say to me something along the lines of, “People have told me how spe- cial it is, but I just don’t see it.” I then ask them about the first day of their trip here and what it entailed. The answer is often something like, “Well, we took a cab from the airport, drove down Federal High- way to Sunrise Boulevard, I think, then east. It seemed like a lot of strip malls and car dealerships.”

While this sort of answer makes my ears ache, I always ask, “Have you been on the water?” The answer will be something like, “You mean the beach?” Now I’ve got my segway in! If I can show them that this city was designed to be seen and experienced from all 165 miles of water frontage –– its canals, rivers and Intracoastal, not just the beach or Federal Highway –– I’m halfway there.

If they are good friends, this is often followed up by a glamorous dinner on the dock at The Pillars Hotel. The following day we might meander the waterways via chartered boat, past locations like Harbor Beach, Seven Isles or the Coral Isles. By the end of the trip ––– nine times out of ten ––– I have a convert. By that time, they’ve seen great architecture and fabulous yachts. They understand the languorous, car-at-your-front-door-boat-at-your-backdoor lifestyle developers were trying to promote in the 1920s – ‘50s. They’ve tasted the best this city has to offer in the way of food, and more often than not, they start peeking at real estate ads… just in case relocation might be an option. There… my work is done.

Likewise, ISLAND, will endeavor –– in part –– to do the same, high- lighting what sets our amalgam of neighborhoods apart. Fort Lauderdale runs the gamut, from Islands and peninsulas lined with mansions and glimmering pools to narrow canals bordered with tiny houses, palms leaning out over the water. Residents enjoy all of this on paddleboards and kayaks as well as sleek yachts and cruisers. Come along with us and discover, in every issue, why we choose to call this place home.

John T. O’Connor