Best-Kept Secret of CityPlace - 2001
Mike Monet's Church of Desire
A specter is haunting CityPlace, and its name is Michael Monet. The actor, model, club kid, and all-around scene fixture died in 1995 of a heroin overdose in the old First Methodist Church that is now the centerpiece of the gaudy West Palm Beach shopping complex. In the early '90s, in the interval between the bankruptcy of one real-estate scheme and the construction of the current consumerist playland, Monet worked as caretaker of the then-abandoned church. While living in the church's warren of storage rooms and living quarters, he turned the place into an informal artists' collective, a drug-fueled hangout, and a nighttime rave club. It could have been an experiment in living -- what anarchists call a temporary autonomous zone -- but Monet's personal demons got the better of him, and he sank into the paranoia and depression that led to his suicide. Monet might have despised the fate of his haunt, a short-lived bohemian enclave now entombed in mainstream materialist frenzy. On the other hand, he might have appreciated the irony. Whatever else he was, Monet was both authentic and original -- two qualities sorely lacking at CityPlace.