The 1980 roared in Miami. Not only was the city's image and identity transformed in ways both good and bad, mixing global glamour with global intrigue, but the city itself changed physically. In that decade Greater Miami saw a building boom, blending luxury condo towers with avant-garde architecture, new public amenities and institutions, and a flood of stylish, luxury hotels catering to different kinds of travelers than the old beachside hostelries of earlier.
Often called the most beautiful horse race track in the world, Miami's Hialeah Park has had a long and storied history. Famous for its setting, its prestigious races, the many famous horses that won there, and of course the flock of bright pink flamingos that nested in its infield, Hialeah Park was, and still is a legend. Opening for thoroughbred horse racing in 1925, Hialeah Park by now is almost one hundred years old. A faded grand dame that no longer holds thoroughbred racing, but stays alive as much as it can through its newer casino, Hialeah's track, grandstands, clubhouse, and paddock areas all still exist and could easily be brought back to their glory days. Hialeah really comes alive, however, in many vintage newsreels recorded there, some of which are still available online.
In April the owners of the Mai-Kai, the iconic and now-shuttered polynesian themed restaurant in Broward County, unveiled their grand plans to the City of Oakland Park and neighborhood residents for the property, including an enhanced entrance experience and banquet hall, along with necessary repairs to the roof and air conditioning systems, a new kitchen, and restoration of the main dining rooms. A part of the 65-year-old building's roof caved in back in October of 2020, leading to the closure of the Mai-Kai and questions as to the venue's future - a future that is increasingly looking to be in safe hands.
Omega, the luxury watch brand, is celebrating the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, which began today, by dressing up their store in the Miami Design District and scattering big Olympic-themed kchotchkies around the neighborhood. One of those is a diorama-like display near the shape of a giant fake pool meant to be an ode to Olympic swimming. Out in the sweltering Miami heat, without water, is it just a big blue tease?
Miami's Dezer family is famous for their obsession with cars. Developers Michael and Gil Dezer built the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, a cylindrical black monolith with a trio of car elevators that bring your prized ride straight up to your very, very expensive condo in the sky, and they're currently working on the Bentley Residences Miami, which is basically the same thing but, you guessed it, branded by another luxury car company.
This first floor unit in a small residential building tucked away in the urban, dense, and rather jungly South-of-Fifth part of South Beach has a lot of the privacy-oriented benefits of a house while being part of a condo building. Yes, you have people living above and next to you, but with your own sidewalk-facing entrance and two private terraces, it doesn't really feel like it.
Like a whiny child that hates to share, the Disney Company has abruptly announced they are pulling out of their plan to build a Brightline train station on Disney property. “As many people who are involved in this project are aware, the new route configuration does not support a Disney Springs station and as a result, we don’t anticipate being part of this project," Disney spokesperson Avery Maehrer recently told the Orlando Business Journal. Mr. Maehrer didn't elaborate further, but like any good spokesperson he still managed to say very little and a whole lot at the very same time.
A fully built-out train depot, including ticket counters, a waiting room, dedicated bathrooms, various other such spaces tailor-made for Amtrak's use, and direct links to a bevy of other transportation options, neglected to collect mothballs by Amtrak for an incredible seven years, may finally be put to use. When the Miami Intermodal Center, also known as the Miami Airport Station (even though technically it's a depot) was completed back in 2015, Amtrak realized a little late that the platforms were too short. Due to what was basically just a mammoth screw-up, the rear end of an Amtrak train would have to stick way out into traffic going along NW 25th Street like a one-thousand-one-hundred-foot-long, metal Kim Kardashian.
How many cities have giant icons of their names, spelled out in huge, towering letters? The one that pops instantly to mind is the Hollywood Sign, above the neighborhood of Hollywood in Los Angeles, which is close enough, and, well, that's it really. Now, Jacksonville, up in the northeastern corner of Florida, is getting a giant name tag too.