Wednesday March 29, 2006

Hell no, you can't rename my street

Here’s a map of downtown; let’s orient ourselves (if you know downtown, skip down a paragraph or two). We have the bay on the right, I-95 on the left; the Miami River cuts through, emptying into the bay near Brickell Key (the triangle island) and the Port of Miami (just out of the frame to the northeast). On the north side of the river, Bayfront Park sits between US-1 and the water (the amphitheater at the north-most edge). The eastern end of Calle Ocho is south of the river, as is Tobacco Road (Miami liquor license #001).

OK; let’s talk about Brickell Ave. It’s home to some of the shiniest high-rises in Miami (Pan-American financial centers), and has an almost suburban feel, lined with trees and wide sidewalks. North of the river is noisy and loud — the read downtown; south of the river is quiet and serious. If you follow Brickell Avenue over the bridge going north, [correction] you can’t even keep going straight along 2nd Avenue: the street forces you to turn right and follow US-1, because 2nd Ave is one-way southbound. [/correction]

Anyway, a developer who’s building a high-rise on 2nd avenue a few blocks north of the river is lobbying the City Commission to allow him to call his address “Briclell Avenue.” This doesn’t fly because Brickell Avenue has always been south of the Miami River. It seems to be by definition, and so it is, in a way: in the early days of Miami, there was a feud between Flagler and Tuttle, who owned the land north of the river (and had most of the power), and Brickell, who owned the land south of the river (and couldn’t so much as get a bridge built). Renaming 2nd Ave north of the river “Brickell” is a slap in the face of history (you can get more of the historical background in the Herald article). Note, also, that the prestige that the Brickell name caries has to do with being the closest street to the water — i.e., odd-numbered Brickell properties are generally waterfront properties. Not only is this not the case with 2nd ave, but the land is now nowhere near the river, not on US-1, and not particularly prestigious location from a satellite-view perspective (of course a 2nd ave address has plenty of historical cachet, not to mention a prime-ass location).

So, renaming those few blocks of 2nd avenue “Brickell” is a slap in the face of the prestige of the name, a slap in the face of history, a slap in the face of developers not needing any additional goddamned encouragement, and a slap in the face of us having a city commission to do some fucking serious work for our city, which has some real goddamned problems, and not dick around with this bullshit.

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  1. Christian Calzadillas    Wed Mar 29, 11:29 PM #  

    Yeah, but how do you REALLY feel about them renaming 2nd Ave??

  2. John    Wed Mar 29, 11:56 PM #  

    Go ‘head Alesh. The poorest city, with the highest AIDS/HIV rate, highest rate of illiteracy, highest rate of violent crimes, highest drop out rate DOES have better shit to do.

    The other things about respect of history, community identities, residents are also very important but to a lesser extent.

    Look to #10 of “Miami Notes” to see other reasons Mayor Dickhead, Johnny “Troll of Developers” Winton and Michelle “Yasuh Boss” Spence-Jones need to go. I see why you MB folks stay on your side of the bridge.

  3. Nit Pick Kid    Thu Mar 30, 01:31 AM #  

    “If you follow Brickell Avenue over the bridge going north, you either turn right (and follow US-1, which is contiguous with Brickell south of the river) or go straight along 2nd Avenue.”

    Actually, if you head north over the bridge you can only turn right and snake between the Met construction site and the river until you swing north again and join Biscayne Boulevard (US 1). 2nd Avenue is one way south from the NE 14th St/NE 2nd Ave intersection (visualize: a corner store, the MPAC site, the school board building, and a weedy unused parking lot) to the bridge.

    Just saying.

  4. alesh    Thu Mar 30, 07:00 AM #  

    My bad again, NPK. thanks for the correction.

    Though, in my opinion, the little east-west stretch between Brickell and Biscayne is still part of US-1, right?

  5. A.T.    Thu Mar 30, 09:15 AM #  

    Nice post.

  6. Jonathan    Thu Mar 30, 11:01 AM #  

    Yeah, good post. Renaming major streets without considering history is a bad idea. But don’t worry, everything will be all better after the City spends $2B (before overruns) of other people’s money building streetcars, tunnels. . .

  7. Rebecca Carter    Thu Mar 30, 11:13 AM #  

    I’m with you Alesh. If the name changes it will be pure politics…and it will just add confusion to residents. “Come over to my place, I’m on Brickell.” “The new one, or the old one? Wait, how do I get there?” There’s just no reason to mess with it…plus it is in no way logical.

    Full disclosure: I live on Brickell.

    Silly developer, silly city. Just what will we do with them?

  8. Miami Harold    Thu Mar 30, 11:30 AM #  

    ”...and a slap in the face of us having a city commission to do some fucking serious work for our city, which has some real goddamned problems, and not dick around with this bullshit.”
    This is exactly the wrong attitude.
    Issues like these are EXACTLY
    what city commissions should stick to.
    When they get involved with serious matters
    —health, crime, transportation, safety—
    they consistently screw up,
    consequently screwing the rest of us.
    Give them toys and distractions like this
    so citizens can live their lives unimpeded.

  9. Manola B    Thu Mar 30, 11:53 AM #  

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. (Well, almost.) It is indeed a slap in the face! I’m sure some Brickells are rolling in their graves. Personally, as a Miamian, I find it offensive.

    Besides, who are the short-sighted morons doing PR for MDM? Why even steal the Brickell name when you have a brilliant opportunity to create a new, slick image for NE 2nd Avenue? After all, it really IS a new image for NE 2nd Avenue. In fact, in years to come, it might even RIVAL Brickell Avenue in its own way, not to mention that it can bank on the original NY famous “brand” MET.

    But nooooooooo! Apparently no one has looked into the future … You know, all those “beautiful” people “who met at the MET” with lots of money who are going to work, live and play Downtown.

  10. Jonathan    Thu Mar 30, 02:35 PM #  

    I like the downtown (I mean the grubby parts). It’s evolved in interesting ways and clearly serves the needs of many people as it is. What I don’t like are giant public and quasi-public projects (arena, cultural center, etc.) that consume entire blocks and turn large areas into deserts except when there’s a scheduled event. I’ll take crowded, grubby and unplanned over deserted, sterile and “planned” any day.

    Miami Harold has a point. Better that local officials should busy themselves with minor issues than screw things up by trying to save the world.

  11. MM    Thu Mar 30, 03:43 PM #  

    I get Miami Harold’s point, but I really don’t see the development thing as a minor issue or distraction – b/c it has converted Downtown (like Jonathan I like the grubby), Coral Way and the corridor into a big pile of ugly; because the projects have completely obliterated the view of the bay and beyond; and b/c it has directly impacted my ability (or inability, really) to own my own house.

    I’m feeling a massive rant – about the extreme corruption of all these damn elected officials who are in the developers’ back pockets and how all these condos are wrong wrong wrong for the community and how this is about the rich getting richer and the rest of us being steamrolled by the very people we elected and damn everyone – coming on, but – blah. Bah humbug.

  12. Miami Transit Man    Thu Mar 30, 05:06 PM #  

    I disagree, I think changing the name will have no effect on the prestige of the Brickell name. On the contrary, it will spread the prestige to other parts of the city and allow more buildings and companies to have acces to Miami’s premier address…

  13. Manola B    Thu Mar 30, 05:45 PM #  

    Folks, I’m all for progress and cool design, if it means revitalizing a dead part of town. But at what cost?

    MM … I hear ya girl. I call this native Miami resentment.

    Can you say Beachhattan and Bayhattan?

    You can’t see the sky from the condos anymore. And I feel guilty about criticizing high-rise development, because my father was a pioneer—one of the architects who designed the One Biscayne Tower—which, at the time, was the tallest building in Florida. It put food on the table … and well, condomania still does. He also worked on Portofino tower … I know, I know … please don’t hate me!

    (Let’s not even get into architecture goof-ups on all those cranes you see out there.)

    But … let’s go back, shall we?

    Way back when, the “small” Dupont Plaza Hotel was just off the river between Brickell and NE 2nd Avenue. Sure, it became outdated, but it was in proportion to our natural surroundings. Why no one thought to build a park, maybe even make a little stonehenge attraction out of that Indian mound … well …

    Brickell Key is a spoil island. Yep, it’s not “real” land.

    Ah, and this is where it hits me the most: remember the day when you drove to Miami Beach and this big glass and concrete penis, designed by Phillipe Stark, along with the in-your-face parking lot that looks more like a prison for pigeons, was NOT the first thing you saw as you made a choice between the Alton Road overpass and/or Fifth Avenue at the end of the McArthur Causeway? Back in the day, you could SEE the ocean from the causeway. The horizon was there, welcoming you to MIAMI BEACH. What’s more, the sailboats from Florida Yacht Charters to your right were just as inviting.

    It’s a good thing I live off the Julia Tuttle. Yes! Mother of Miami! No one better change that name or I will eat some fake plastic fruit off a fake palm tree.

  14. John    Thu Mar 30, 06:50 PM #  

    1) I thought the biggest point was both what a waste of time and perversion of the function of city government was, though the rest of the objections were perfectly valid. 2) Manola B. GREAT comment. 3) Jonathan, GREAT comment. 4) I won’t be linking to Miami Transit (unless this was a typo or facetious comment and I failed to get it).

  15. Dupont Plaza Hotel Horror    Thu Mar 30, 11:29 PM #  

    You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God… damn you all to hell!

  16. boyonson    Tue Apr 11, 08:44 PM #  

    It totally sucks that the developers can not come up w/ a street name of their own. What morons, so they have to name 2nd Avenue Brickell also. How uncreative and stupid. Oh, and the person who wrote #11 is totally right.

    There are so many other issues going on in Miami, like the fucking illegal immigrants. And the fucked up school system that sucks dick.

    My family came here LEGALLY and so can others. I don’t appreciate paying for some illegal’s medical expenses and food and other shit. They come here sick or to have their baby here in the US. And all they do is bitch about the American way. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch.

    All Miami elected officials are corrupted pigs, even the city of Miami Police. I wipe my ass with all of them. They all can eat me!!