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Apocalypse Brownsville: A Business Owner Fends Off Dying Crackheads and Prostitute Amputees

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This photo was taken in Brownsville on Wednesday.
For 24 years, Marion Schano and her husband Edward have owned an aviation business called Amtec Aviation Aerospace in Brownsville, a 'hood west of Liberty City with a population of 14,000 and shrinking. It's one of Miami's poorest neighborhoods, and arguably its most blighted. It's traversed by roving bands of vagrants who tend to smoke crack behind her warehouse, says Marion.

The Schanos -- well, they've seen some shit.

"So far, I've had three people die behind our business," Marion, an Austria native, says matter-of-factly. "Missy, a prostitute in the area for ten years, is having her leg amputated. 'Pinky' was living in a tent city behind my building. I think he already killed one or two people -- that's what the others say -- so I hope the police get him off the streets soon."

We advised Schano to tell the cops about "Pinky" -- we changed his nickname in this article -- and we'll be following up with our own inquiry.

As far as we can tell, Marion Schano is not delusional or insane, although we're not sure how you can run a business on that block without sinking into a little bit of madness. She says fires -- caused by careless crackheads, she guesses -- periodically devour the buildings surrounding 3150 NW 40th St. And she says her block has essentially been forgotten by municipal services: The Schanos arrange and pay for their own trash pickup and have spent thousands to repair a sewer and pave the road outside their business. They've yet to be reimbursed, and Marion says she's looking into filing suit against the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department.

Only ongoing construction of Brownsville Transit Village, a $100 million Metrorail project at 5200 NW 27th Ave., has finally gotten cops to police the area and address a homeless problem, Schano says. "At first, they had six bicycle cops patrolling, but I think it was too dangerous for them," she adds. A Miami-Dade Police spokesperson didn't respond to confirm an arrest initiative in Brownsville.

On the day we visited the Schanos' neighborhood, we didn't encounter a tent city or one-legged streetwalker. We did, however, see plenty of blight and municipal neglect, including a trailer park favela where the rugged streets appeared not to have been paved in decades. We asked one resident, who gave his name as Roger, how often he saw county workers on his block. "Think they'd come out here?" he guffawed, taking a break from fixing a bike tire in front of his trashed, peach trailer. "They're too scared to be out here! Ain't you?"

The inevitable buck-passing commenced when we tried to get a county commissioner for Brownsville to take responsibility. Audrey Edmonson's publicist looked up the address of the Schanos' business and happily reported back that it is right across district lines in newly elected Jean Monestime's territory. Monestime's own spokesperson never got back to us.

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10 comments
jhpnut
jhpnut

Well, the roads used to be terrible a few years ago when I used to work in both of the buildings owned by the Schanos. I clearly remember the "tent city" that surrounded the building at 3035 NW 40 ST. Prostitution took place all the time.. I would park outside the building and see the used condoms scattered about. The owners have been there since the early 90s or earlier under United Aviation Aerospace and Amtec Aviation Aerospace before it's current name. This "tent city" was visible from the 112 before the homeless were forced out. Still a pretty rough neighborhood. Mrs. Schano is definitely not making up her story. I've seen it for myself.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Good for you Rob. Gus, you mentioned the roads were so bad that your car kept bottoming out. I'll take you for a ride in a car far lower than yours, a Lamborghini, and you tell me how the roads around your subject are the worst in the area. If you want to take me up on the offer, I think you can contact me through the disqus system. If not post your email and I'll contact you.

Rob
Rob

Gus the place looks like paradise now ... if you found it that scary , i cant imagine how shit scared you would have been if you had visited a few years back when i was homeless in the area and the place was a run down... i pass by today and everything looks so much better compared to how it used to be .... and today Im a productive back on my feet cuban/ american man thanks to the good people that live there that help me in a weird way survive and overcome my addiction... and yes there are some crazy and nutty people in the area.. but no nuttier than in miami beach with all the nice looking buildings or in any other part of miami... didnt they teach you in journalism school to realy re search before you write.. I can tell you were a C student... also im my 5 years of being homeless I dont remember the schano's helping anybody out... not that they have too... but next time find some one that is realy involved in that community.. not someone that is there because of the cheap property they found to move into.. but yes, I agree every part of Dade county can be improved.

Sincerely An Ex-addict of the area.

Dja1968
Dja1968

Does this are not fall within the Miami City limits? Why would he be talking about County Police?

Jacob
Jacob

I'm not sure where this article is an actual story, a critique of county services, or a satire. Unfortunately, Mr. Garcia-Roberts got many facts wrong in this article. The address the event took place is not in Brownsville but rather Allapattah. Brownsville begins above road 112. In addition, the bike patrol was a result of several community meetings that the police actively engaged residents in. If the journalist was an actual journalist, he would have done his homework instead of using wikipedia for census information rather looking at the American community survey for up todate information. At least the article got one thing right. The funny image he used for the article, since it reflects the low-brow quality of his work.

Gus_Garcia_Roberts
Gus_Garcia_Roberts

Yes, I've been there. My car felt like its suspension was going to snap trying to traverse some of the roads around the trailer park and other areas. In my opinion, the neighborhood appears more neglected and blighted than Overtown or Liberty City. But let me knbow what these worse neighborhoods are you're talking about...

Jojo
Jojo

Ahh, me thinks the legacy of Dorrin Rolle will continue to be uncovered for years to come...Mr Monestime clearly has miles of blight to focus on now.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Gus, have you been there?? If you had you'd know that there isn't a single pot hole on the street and almost all the streets surrounding the site have been repaved. The area is no where near as bad as you make it out to be. Trust me, I can show you much worse right here in Dade.

HoodRat
HoodRat

Burn it all down and start over...

GusGarciaRoberts
GusGarciaRoberts

Wait, you're offering to drive me around Brownsville in your Lamborghini? That's too unique an offer to turn down.

My e-mail address is gus.garcia-roberts@miaminewtimes.com.

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