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Wednesday July 18, 2012

Critical Miami Podcast, episode 2

critical miami podcast I talk with artist Misael Soto about his gigant beach towel tour, Cuban-Americans and the terms Latino and Hispanic, and the Midtown Miami Walmart.

You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or download the mp3.

Episode Links


Tuesday April 8, 2008

Evening air.


Wednesday February 20, 2008

Quick interview with Miami Beach’s new Mayor’s chief of staff, AC Weinstein. No on Baylink, yes on more bike paths, vagueness on everything else.


Monday February 4, 2008

Saturday’s Bal Harbor beach access protest: story, video, photos. Whadya know — the beach access walkway is to be re-opened “within a few days.”


Thursday December 13, 2007

On Miami Beach, hybrids will soon have designated spaces in some parking lots, and 25% discounts on parking fees.


Wednesday November 21, 2007

Matti Bower Ladies and gentlemen, the new mayor of Miami Beach, Matti Bower. Update: MVB does not want.



Monday October 22, 2007

miami beach flyer
miami beach flyer

Here’s a crazy racist/homophobic election flyer sent out in Miami Beach. There’s a weird fake poll, too.


Monday October 8, 2007

'Stay as far away from us as possible'

Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer: “I come from a city that doesn’t have a lot of need to ask the county for things, other than to stay as far away from us as possible.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz: “I do not want to see that city come before us and ask for any money like the $300,000 to help with the festivals.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: “That’s one voice within a city. People when they’re leaving office go off on tantrums.”

Dermer’s response: “We are the engine of revenue production — certainly tourism revenue production — within the county. It behooves the county to ensure they have the cleanest, safest and strongest engine to keep that revenue coming.”


Monday September 17, 2007

Doug transcribes the South Beach architecture walking tour, full of interesting tidbits about buildings I see every day. Just saved myself $15.


Thursday September 13, 2007

Caution on South Beach


Wednesday September 12, 2007

History-based Sprint ad

Sprint ad

The trend in cell phone marketing seems to be local flavor (there’s an AT&T ad with four palm trees as signal graphs making the rounds), and Spring comes in with this handsome entry, bearing the headline “Our signal is way caliente.” And featuring a light painting made on South Beach. I dig. But.

See the problem? Let me give you a hint. That’s right — the lifeguard stand in the photo was removed after last year’s hurricane season. I don’t think this particularly diminishes the ad (it does give a glimpse into the time-lines that go into producing things like this). But it sure gives lie to the idiot officials that claim the new lifeguard stands are as popular as the old ones. Picture this in the background of that image. Not so much, eh?


Thursday September 6, 2007

Miami Beach 'CANDO' arts neighborhood

Borders: lincoln road, dade blvd, meridian ave, and the beach

The CANDO arts neighborhood got a preliminary vote of approval by the Miami Beach city commission yesterday. It establishes a neighborhood (see map, above) in the northern part of South Beach where the city intends to help the arts flourish by . . . well, allowing developers to build condos with smaller units. Specifically: buildings on the Beach normally must have units that are 400 sq. feet minimum and 550 average. In the district, the latter requirement would be waived, allowing buildings of all-400 sq. foot units, for developments where 25% of the units are set aside for artists and those who work for non-profit arts organizations. Qualifying residents would have to make 50% to 80% of the county’s median income (which is $39,100 for one person, $44,700 for a household of two, and $55,900 for a family of four).

The linked article above, and the longer piece in the Sunday Herald, report that it’s 80% to 120% of median income. My information comes from the city’s planning board documents [pdf], which I take to be correcter. Much of the complaining seems to revolve around the fact that the 80-120% is too high, so I wonder where this’ll go.

It’s a common refrain that artists increase land values with their presence and price themselves out over time. And while the specifics of this plan open it to criticism, I think it will actually have a positive effect over time. The map shows that their is a substantial arts presence in the neighborhood already, and indeed rental rates on the beach are sometimes pretty reasonable.

Anyone making 50 to 80% of median income deserves some help with their housing. The argument for giving this help to those in the arts is that they specifically and tangibly enrich a neighborhood. But what will be more interesting to me is whether this really becomes a cohesive neighborhood as a result of this program; that would be a true measure of its success. (thanks to a commenter for suggesting this)


Thursday August 30, 2007

Review of The Room, a semi-secret beer connoisseur place on the southern end of the Beach, at the almost impossible to read Still Life with Feet.


Wednesday August 29, 2007

Ft. Lauderdale is going to supplement it’s eroding beaches with grains of recycled glass. (via MiamiNights)


Wednesday August 22, 2007

Miami Beach is not particularly eco-friendly, but things are changing, slowly. They could start by sending someone to fix this water main, still dripping more then a month later.


Friday August 17, 2007

A rundown of bars (not clubs) on South Beach. I’ve really been enjoying Matt Meltzer’s work for Miami Beach 411.


Monday July 30, 2007

Seagulls. And this is at 22mm, so I was really up on those fuckers.


Wednesday July 25, 2007

Miami Beach lifeguard stands: last two standing

These are photos of the last two standing of the original Art Deco lifeguard stands. I took these photos in February, but both of these are still there; all the others have been replaced by the new boxy monstrosities (comprehensive photoset coming soon).

Last of the OGs

10th Street (you can click these and get geotags at flickr).

Last of the OGs

12th Street.

Last of the OGs

Scrapyard behind the Convention Center, where these two were temporarily stored on their way to the scrap yard. I also dug up this photo, of one of the original, but non-deco-ed stands. This one stood at South Pointe, and was photographed in 2003.


Tuesday July 24, 2007

Miami Beach defends crappy new lifeguard stands

New Times Miami illustration by Mike Gorman

Illustration by Mike Gorman, New Times.

While I was sleeping, last week’s New Times quoted me as saying “Whoever thought this piece of shit up missed the spirit of the originals by a mile, and should be kicked in his patriotic balls.” It accompanies this article by Janine Zeitlin, which defends the new lifeguard stands as cheaper, and opens, “Tourists love ‘em. So say Miami Beach city officials.” Well duh, they haven’t seen the originals. “With art deco, everything goes.” Um, don’t even get me started. People come from all over the world by the millions, as much for the beach as for anything else, and you’re justifying your cheapness while spending lavishly on park overhauls, Washington Ave. “beautification” (as if anybody cares about Washington Ave.), and tax refunds. The lifeguard stands should have been restored or recreated according to the original designs. And Scott Timm should have said so when asked, not begged off because the stands are not technically in the historic district.

Anyway, the quote (“Ript from the blogs,” not in the online version) provides a link to the photo (where the above quote is from). NT also helpfully linked to my Sun-Sentinel website writeup (so did Elad, thanks) and a recent weekend todo. Wow.


Monday July 2, 2007

Around the Beach

snake palm

I finally got a new bike Friday. In between downpours this weekend, I spent some time riding around Miami Beach. Here’s a slideshow of a few interesting things. Looks like water is going to be the big theme. Water and destruction. Well, water, destruction, and renewal.


Thursday June 14, 2007

Ceviche on the beach.


Tuesday June 5, 2007

sand art

hay-zoos: Free Jams goofs around in the sand.


Monday May 21, 2007

Miami Beach is preparing to import sand from other countries to replenish the beach, especially if the hurricane season is a bad one.


Sunday February 18, 2007

Great Cormorant

A Great Cormorant. Obviously not a very shy one.


Tuesday January 16, 2007

MaEx links to Beth Dunlop’s writeup of the unappealing new South Beach lifeguard stands. Here is the one I photographed last year, and here they are under construction.


Wednesday January 3, 2007

Jessica Alba Bikini

Hide your kids, y’all: it’s Jessica Alba frolicking in the temperate waters of the South Beach Atlantic Ocean. More here and here. Apologies to those that thought I wasn’t going to go there. Update: Jorday sez, “I’m not sure who she is but(t) – ah, a woman’s ass! I’m such a heterosmacktual…”


Wednesday June 28, 2006

lifeguard booths

Assembly line of new lifeguard stands for South Beach in Flamingo Park. Bummer: they’re cookie-cutter, not reconstructions of the iconic whimsical designs.


Thursday December 29, 2005

Let's expand Metrorail

Ronald Reagan criticized Metrorail when it was finished in 1985, saying “It would have been cheaper to buy everyone a limousine.” These days, Metrorail serves 48,000 people a day so that (racist?) remark has been sufficiently refuted. It’s still a pretty low number, though, and the reason is obvious: Metrorail doesn’t go any-particular-where.

Now, there are lots of proposals around for expanding public transportation – everything from water-taxis to streetcars to a second Tri-Rail. There is even a super-ambitious plan for expanding Metro-rail floating around, but I’m not going to support anything quite so pie-in-the-sky as that.

I’m thinking of a second Metrorail line, which would run east-west, down to South Beach at one end, meet up with the current line at Government Center, and proceed west to the airport (or further, if possible, maybe to FIU). This would solve the problem of Metrorail not going to the airport, incorporate the free-floating BayLink idea (good grief: “To be evaluated for funding in 2016”), and generally make the rest of Metrorail make sense, by giving the system more destinations.

There are three principal arguments against this: (1) Miami isn’t suited to a large public-transportation system; (2) it’ll cost too much money; and (3) we don’t want more people going to the Beach; they’ll ruin it. To which I answer:

Maybe not (1), but tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the system every day. The more people who use public transportation, the better off we are as a city and as a civilization, and the more places there are that can be conveniently reached by public transportation, the more people will use it (Metrorail is more convenient, less intimidating, and faster then regular busses, so much more likely to be used by people who have a choice).

(2) This’d less then double the size of the system, and it would leverage the usefulness of the existing stops; it’s throwing good money after (arguably) bad. Plus, what with all these condos going up in Miami, we’re in for a big tax-boom over the next few years. If we put this plan in gear, we’ll be spending the money just as it rolls in.

As for (3), people living on the Beach (of which I’m one) being afraid of their neighborhood being overrun by tourists is like being afraid of Iraq becoming a center for terrorism: it’s already done happened! Making the Beach more convenient might make it a more popular destination, but it also makes life easier for residents.

There’s all this talk of Miami being the city of the future and whatnot, and our public transportation system is lagging. It’s been over 20 years since Metrorail (line 1!) was built, and it’s high time to expand. We have the need, we have the money, and we have the momentum; let’s do it.


Wednesday November 16, 2005

Maybe this would be a good time to get the trucks off the beach

This is an ATV. They’re really great for getting around off-road (say, on the beach), they allow the driver excellent visibility, and their fat tires exert very low per-square inch pressure downward. All of this makes it much more difficult to kill someone by running them over with one, then if you’re driving, say, a one and a half ton Ford Explorer. Yet that’s what City of Miami Beach employees continue to drive on the beach. After one person was killed and another injured in 2003 (the European tourists, remember?), the city changed the rules, so these trucks can only operate west of the garbage cans. But people keep getting run over: this time, a 19 year old girl who, thankfully, survived.

Here’s an idea: how about removing all the trucks from the beach? This was a life guard on his way somewhere. Would a mountain bike not have worked? Or one of those ATV’s? Let’s make a compromise: let the guys who make one run down the beach pick up the trash in the mornings use a truck. After that, keep the trucks in the street.