13 love letters to the City Beautiful 

How do we love thee?

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Dear Live Oak Trees of Orlando,  How much do I love you? Well, I love you as high as your tippy-top leaves and as wide as your arms reach across Constitution Green. Your meandering branches, dressed in the finest Spanish moss, extend gracefully over my childhood backyard memories. My present days sparkle in the sunlight dancing through your leaves. Towering, beautiful, spooky, strong. You give Orlando our true magic.
– Shelby Sloan, production manager, Orlando Weekly

Things I love about Orlando: Uncle Lou, Vietnamese food, swan boats and Grandma Party.
– Erin Nolan, local musician and graphic designer (enolangraphics.com)

Oh dear Orlando,
Our people are the poorest
But we rise above.
– Stephanie Porta, director, Organize Now and Florida Institute for Reform & Empowerment

I moved here alone in 1982. I love Orlando simply because it is my home now. I don't really hate anything. I love that as time goes on, I feel like our town, a town mostly made up of people migrating from elsewhere, is slowly finding its groove.
– Terri Binion, local musician whose new album, The Day After the Night Before, comes out on March 25

This is why I love Central Florida: Beefy King. Tom and Dan. The Pinball Lounge. Orange Avenue on Halloween. Fridays at Nora's Sugar Shack. Jazz night at Cavanaugh's Fine Wines. New Wave night at Independent Bar. Fleet Farming. Movies on the lawn at the Enzian. Moonlight tours at Greenwood Cemetery.
– Jon Busdeker, WESH-2/Orlando My Way reporter

Sweets to the sweet
And juice for the juicy
Cheese for the cheeseheads
And beer to make you woozy
Fresh greens for the veggies
Coffee and books for the smart
Dear East End Market,
You'll always have our heart.
– Jessica Bryce Young, arts and culture editor, Orlando Weekly

Dear Paper Goat Post,
Shall I compare thee to a stationery addict's wet dream?
Thou art more lovely and slightly more expensive.
– Monivette Cordeiro, staff writer, Orlando Weekly

Dear Orlando City Soccer
I get a kick out of you! You've scored my love and I'm not "lion." 
– Deanna Ferrante, intern, Orlando Weekly

In the garden of Creeds and N'SYNCholes that we call the City Beautiful, a flower blooms. That flower is the Timucua White House. With the help of promoters like the Civic Minded 5 and the Accidental Music Festival, what some call "new music" has a chance to shine in a city that isn't exactly known as being a tastemaker. Orlando, I love you for that. Be mine.
– Timothy Murray, local musician and member of the band Moon Jelly, occasional contributor to Orlando Weekly

Dear Vespr,
The sweet aroma of hot-brewed coffee and tea is enough to pull me in. But you are even more than that. Your dimly lit interior, inspirational sayings on the walls, welcoming staff and perfect music choices just make it seem as if nothing else matters in the world.
– Rachel Stuart, intern, Orlando Weekly

Dear Wally's:
Though some may call you a tease for not opening on Sundays, there have been more than a few Monday mornings that we only survived because we couldn't visit you the night before. We love that about you. See you soon (but not on Valentine's Day). 
– Thad McCollum, calendar editor, Orlando Weekly

Dear Orlando and its general vicinity, I love you for being home to gators and otters and bears and eagles and hawks and gopher tortoises and green tree frogs and peacocks and moles and tiny ring-necked snakes I sometimes see in my yard. Let's not wreck this good thing we have going with the natural environment, OK?
– Erin Sullivan, editor, Orlando Weekly

I love that I can go to a Snap! Space event and see a couple hundred people that I've never met before at an art thing. #gamechanger

I love that there is always a fruiting tree somewhere in town. Someone could make a free jelly/preserve business off of picking over everyone else's yards. 

I love the new online-permitting tool/digital City Hall. I think it's really going to streamline the hoops small business owners have to jump through to set up shop in Orlando. They still have to jump, but at least it'll be easier to get through that mess.

I love the otters and protected wood storks that live in Lake Formosa. The storks show up right around the same time that I imagine Florida Hospital is having their springtime baby boom and the otters are always cruising around the lake looking adorable.

I am absolutely twitterpated with the recent upswing in quality locally owned businesses. I'm seeing a lot of cross-disciplinary collaboration and menus focusing on local ingredients. It's really elevating Orlando as a whole to have such a concentrated, hyper-local focus.

I am in love with our growing cycling community. Critical Mass, Juice Bike Share, the work being done by reThink Your Commute, is all starting to reach a sort of harmonic-bike-bell-convergence. The new focus on two-wheeling residents is even forcing the city to take another look at its failing road infrastructure. When City Hall wrests Corrine Drive out of the county's claws you'll know we've finally made it.
– Brendan O'Connor, editor, Bungalower.com

Have a love letter you want to share? Email it to feedback@orlandoweeklycom

Related: 17 hate letters to the City Beautiful

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