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Tuesday October 23, 2012

Miami Science Museum new building fly-through

This is new to me: an architectural fly-through of the new science museum building going up downtown next to PAMM. Pretty awesome. Also: huge, right? The video is silent, so I’m adding a separate player underneath, with suitable rendering fly-through music for you. Hit play on both:

The shark aquarium that the building wraps around is some pretty neat stuff. By the way, remember the park part of museum park? Yeah, well it turns out that’s sort of off for now.


Tuesday October 16, 2012

Butterfly garden

butterfly garden

Hey everybody, check out my butterfly garden. Actually, it looks a little sad right now. It’d been planted for awhile and was getting overgrown, so I replanted everything Sunday to give it more space. Consider this a “before” picture.

butterfly garden

That’s not to say there aren’t some flowers happening. How this happened is that Hillary and I were visiting Fairchild like a year ago and happened into conversation with a very knowledgeable volunteer in the butterfly garden. Before you know it I was jotting down names of flowers on my phone (Milkweed, Corkeystone Passion Vine, Border Weed, Tropical Sage, Egyptian Star Clusters, Scorpion’s Tail). He recommended checking out Richard Lyons Nursery”:, which sure enough is an amazing place.

butterfly garden

The guy at Richard Lyons recommended one or two more plants, and these five are the ones we came home with. Milkweed and Passion Vine are for sure in the mix, but I don’t remember what the other ones are. No matter, really, because we have seen exactly ONE butterfly this whole time — this weekend (maybe it’s the start of an influx, tho I doubt it; we’re near the bay, and I doubt butterflies like the salt air?).

butterfly garden

This is the Passion Vine. But in any case, I’ll keep y’all updated. Now that I’ve got this post, it should be easy to drop in more photos as the everything fills in.

butterfly garden

Hey, lizard, this trellis is not for you! This PDF is a pretty great resource on planting a butterfly garden in Florida. It’s complicated! For best results, you’re supposed to take into account plants that are common within a quarter mile of you, among a grid of other factors. I sprawling Miami I should think this amounts to doing trial and error with lots of the species on the list.

butterfly garden

The idea though, is that you need a combination of plants — some that attract butterfly larva, and flowering plants that the adults feed on. Then, different species of butterflies like different plants (some like rotting fruit and manure). The Miami Blue Chapter of the National Butterfly association is an excellent resource. I am also to point out that there is a thing called Butterfly World, and their website at least is a rare and beautiful flower.


Wednesday August 29, 2012

Parks Vie For Space In Miami’s Forest Of Condos on NPR. Long story short: the Brickell Green Space isn’t happening. Instead, the city will be creating small parks underneath Metromover tracks(!), highlighting the need to plan for parks ahead of time. The report features an interview with TM‘s Craig Chester.


Friday June 15, 2012

Pinecrest Gardens

pinecrest gardens winding path

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in visiting the not-so-new Parrot Jungle on Watson Island. I see where it makes perfect sense for them to be close to the urban center, and I even see the need for attractions like that in places like that. But there’s an old-Florida charm to the original location that I think I’d miss too much. But it turns out that the original location is still open, boringly renamed Pinecrest Gardens.

See full article and 22 photos


Thursday May 8, 2008

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

morikami museum and japanese gardens

Most people have heard of the Morikami but haven’t been there, because it seems so far away. Actually, it’s less then an hour from Miami, and totally worth the trip. Hours are from 10 am to 5 pm, and I’d recommend getting there on the early side, as the highly rated restaurant inside the museum closes at 3 pm. Click the photo above to see a slideshow of what it’s like.


Wednesday March 26, 2008

The North Shore Community Garden, around 73rd Street on Dickens Avenue, Miami Beach.


Monday March 17, 2008

museum park

A new design for Museum Park has been released. Basically, they cut about $10 million out of the grove area, the southern part of the park (where a lot of the interesting stuff was, it should be noted). Current projected price: $49-54 million. All together now: yeah, right!


Wednesday March 12, 2008

First Chihuly. Now Botero and Lichtenstein. I hope Fairchild gets the obvious stuff out of it’s system asap and gets down to some interesting and non-obvious artists.


Thursday January 3, 2008

Miami-Dade has a pathetically small amount of park land, a fact that often gets over looked, because we also have one of the “biggest” national park in the country, Biscayne (which is actually almost completely underwater). Anyway, now there’s an idea to turn undeveloped lots, which will sit vacant until the housing crash subsides, into City of Miami parks. But you read that right — we’re talking about temporary parks. Apparently, adding permanent park land isn’t even worthy of pie-in-the-sky dreaming anymore in this city.


Thursday November 15, 2007

“The great lawn in downtown Miami’s planned Museum Park would be smaller but still expansive. There would be many more shade trees but cheaper palms. Concrete paving, and less of it, would replace stone paths. And some design flourishes like water features and themed outdoor ‘‘rooms’‘ would be deleted.” — Story about the proposed changes to Museum Park, but no images.


Monday November 12, 2007 bemoaning the removal of royal palms along Biscayne Blvd. I saw this website on a bumper sticker. (Not sure if they’re still sending these out — the website hasn’t been updated since February. I suppose the fight is over.)



There will be a public meeting tomorrow about Museum Park. A new master plan will be presented, because the old plan was considered too elaborate and expensive. I find this slightly depressing.


Thursday November 8, 2007

Hey, wouldn’t the Freedom Tower be a perfect spot for the Bay of Pigs museum? (From Suzy’s comment #9, here)


Thursday October 25, 2007

James Wilkins has a few pictures and some commentary on the new Hollywood ArtsPark (btw, I work across the street from this park).


Thursday October 4, 2007

The bastards changed the time of the Museum Park meeting tonight from 6 to 4:30pm! WTF — they’re claiming conflict with a later event, but isn’t this a transparent effort to make it impossible for many people to come? Why isn’t anyone making noise about this?!


Wednesday September 26, 2007

Next Thursday (October 4), the City of Miami Planning Department is having a meeting to discuss plans for the design of Museum Park. No idea what they did to publicize this meeting, but I note that their web page doesn’t even mention the time (it’s 6 pm). Inexcusable. Michelle at Museum Park Forum caught this. It’s at the Orange Bowl Stadium Athletic Club.

Update: The bastards changed the time to 4:30pm! WTF, they’re claiming conflict with a later event, but isn’t this a transparent effort to make it impossible for many people to come?? Why isn’t anyone making noise about this?!


Thursday September 6, 2007

Museum Park Forum. I love the idea of a site like this, and while this seems pretty transparently anti-museum and somewhat wrong-headed (if you give people a list of 23 community-park amenities to choose from, don’t be surprised when it looks like people want a community park). Here’s the plan for Bicentennial/Museum Park. And FWIW, I still support a soccer field on Parcel B — soccer is one of the few things Bicentennial Park is currently used for.


Monday August 13, 2007

C.L. Jahn calls for the refreshment bar in Bicentennial Park to be re-opened. Not a bad idea: while we wait for the museums, couldn’t we have some security guards and some re-opened facilities there?


Monday July 16, 2007

Bicentennial park with museum overlay

Home Page

Our pal Christopher recently visited Bicentennial Park and shot some photos to try to visualize how much of the park the museums will take. I decided to try my own shot at visualizing the difference — mouse over the image above to overlay the proposed plan for the park, taken from this post, over the Google view of the site. (I’ve been elbow-deep in the JavaScript all morning to make this happen, btw.)

A couple of observations. Firstly, I think they should ditch the walkway between the museums and I-395, and push the museums as far to the north as possible. Secondly, I wonder if anyone told the American Airlines Arena that we were planning a big soccer field on their side of the canal stump. Speaking of the canal stump, the plan calls for part of it to be filled in, plus the addition of a little island, which will make the transition from the arena to the park nicer for pedestrians and actually replace some of the land the museums are taking up. I am perplexed to be reminded that the southernmost building, just north of the canal stump, actually is a restaurant. Funny how nobody seems to be making a fuss about that. Also, remember that the museum buildings as seen in this illustration are not representative as to their final shape, though the sizes should be accurate.

Update: A closer look at the AAA site reveals that the eastern edge is in fact undeveloped, so I guess the soccer field there is a real thing. Add that to added space offsetting the loss to the museum buildings.

Update: Just realized the mouse-over effect isn’t working in IE7. I guess I’ve much to learn of the ways of the JavaScripts. For now, see the alternate image here or download Firefox.

Please direct comments to this conversation, already in progress.


Tuesday June 19, 2007

A good discussion about Museum Park has been going for the last couple of days at Transit Miami.


Thursday June 14, 2007

Miami Circle is going to be run by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, and will probably be opened to the public at some point. It’s been nine years since the site was discovered — why did it take the state nine years to make this deal?


Tuesday May 29, 2007

“There is no annual report for the Parks Advisory Board for the year 2006. The board has had severe problems meeting quorum, and there were no accomplishments to report.” — Ed Blanco, reporting to the the Miami Commission that nobody from the Parks Advisory Board shows up for meetings. [YouTube] Hmm . . . (via Transit)


Wednesday May 23, 2007

A baywalk is part of Miami 21, but anyone who’s been down to the bay knows it’s a little pie-in-the-sky, since almost all the buildings along the bay have fence up to the water and private yards. Anyway, here’s what the Baywalk would look like if we had a baywalk.


Tuesday May 22, 2007

Rebecca Wakefield on what happened to the kite-flying event in Bicentennial park Sunday. In short: it was a disaster. It was raining, so the city decided not to clean up after a huge festival there the night before. See also Commonsense Miami’s Bicentennial Park page — these are the people who organized the event, who apparently have some web-development muscle behind them.


Friday May 18, 2007

Rebecca Wakefield on Museum Park, and right about everything as usual. And — stop the presses! — is it just me or do the SunPost’s homepage articles now point to permalinks!? I’ll check when the next issue comes out, but if this is true it’s a big deal.


Thursday May 10, 2007

Tropical Currents (mp3 link) “Topical Currents looks at the prospects of City of Miami public properties, including Virginia Key and downtown’s Bicentennial Park. The park has been mentioned as a possible site for a Florida Marlins baseball stadium as well a potential “Museum Park Mall.” Virginia Key is on the causeway to Key Biscayne. For years, it was the only black beach and is also home to the abandoned Miami Marine stadium. Of course, there have been commercial proposals, and some advocates insist the City should preserve green space.”


Tuesday March 13, 2007

The City of Miami has a tree master-plan

tree canopy

It wasn’t always this way, but Miami-Dade has an abysmal tree canopy. The usual scapegoats are Hurricane Andrew and the Citrus Canker eradication program, but the former was 15 years ago, and the latter included cash reimbursements, so the more likely culprit is neglect and apathy. County-wide, the tree canopy is somewhere around 10% (the equivalent of 5 large trees per acre), one of the worst in the nation.

Now comes the City of Miami’s Tree Master Plan, proposed by Manny Diaz in February. I got a copy, and I also talked to Stephanie N. Grindell, the City’s director of Public Works, who had a hand in writing the plan. Here are the highlights:

But yadda-yadda — here’s the whole plan (.doc) for those interested. And now for the bad news. First of all, the plan uses wishy-washy language throughout. Not “the city will have 30% tree canopy coverage by 2020,” but “The plan . . . will be used as a framework to coordinate efforts to restore and enhance the City’s tree canopy with a goal of a minimum of 30% . . .” (emphasis added). “It is the city’s goal to have a certified arborist . . .” and so on.

Maybe that’s just how public documents are written. What’s worse is that the 30% goal is actually low. American Forests itself recommends 40% coverage for cities everywhere except the dry Southwest (in which we ain’t). And in its two years of existence, 80% of the Tree Trust Fund has not been spent on tree replacement; in fact the program is just now really getting going (Ms. Grindell chuckled when I asked about the plan before explaining).

Don’t get me wrong — it’s great that there’s a plan, and it’s not too late. But it is too little. There’s some indication of City/County partnership in this thing. I say let’s get our new strong county mayor involved, and adapt the plan to the whole county. And let’s set a hard goal, not a soft one. And let’s go for the 40% — flying over Miami in the 1980’s was like flying over a forest (ok, sort of), and it can be like that again.

Thanks to Steve for the American Forests link.

Update: Other interesting links: TREEmendousMiami, and America’s urban forests: growing concerns, a 10-year old article in American Forests.


Thursday February 15, 2007

Tonight's events for equstrians, urbanites, historians, and artists

William Keddell says:

Events for Equestrians, Urbanites, Historians, and Artists, this Thursday:

  1. Start your evening 5pm in downtown’s Lummus Park were you can visit the City of Miami’s newly completed Police Horse Stables. Enjoy refreshments from TROY Community Academy’s Teen Cuisine and attend a short presentation- see attachment
  2. 5.40pm The King’s Edict – the latest publication and exhibit from Troys Community Academy’s “Hidden Histories” Project
  3. 6.10pm. Join Dr. Paul George for a short walking tour of Lummus Park Historic District
  4. 7.00pm. Go to opening at Historical Museum of Southern Florida’s latest show “Port Royal, Jamaica”
  5. Then go Jam @ MAM. Its Samba Night at the Miami Art Museum MAM see “The Machine, The Body and The City –Gifts from the Charles Cowles Collection” plus “No Man is an Island” video work from Dutch Artist -Jesper Just.

This is all very well, but I call for a ballot initiative that anytime our government has an event for the public, they be required to put up a permalinked, standards-compliant web page about it.


Monday February 5, 2007

Fruit and Spice Park

Fruit and Spice Park, in the Homestead Redland, is part exotic plant sanctuary, part park, and part tourist attraction. $5 admission gets you an hour or two of wandering around, tasting strange fruits, and checking out a few little exhibit type things. Here’s a little collection of old farm equipment. No information or anything; they’re just sort of sitting around.


Funky fruit tasting (click through to see what’s what). The gourd-like thing in the middle is Black Sapote, which tastes shockingly like melted chocolate. The little glass dish towards the back contains Miracle Fruit, little berries which have no flavor, but which will make your mouth impervious to bitter flavors for about a half an hour (try one of those grape-looking things, which are super bitter, then try the Miracle Fruit, and then eat another berry, and it won’t taste bitter anymore). The lady was super-nice and let us sort of pig out on everything. Then she sliced open that big gourd thing and let us try that.

Then they set you loose to wander around the park, or you can take a “guided tour,” which is on a horrible motorized trolley thing. This is one of many weird banana-like trees that dot the park.

The rule is that you’re not allowed to pick anything, but if it’s fallen to the ground you can eat it. Here’s a big Canistel that we found. It’s got a very strange consistency, sort of like dry dough, and a flavor a little like cooked squash. It’s such a bizarre bright shade of yellowish orange that my camera freaked out and made everything else dark trying to understand it.


The spice section in the middle of the park has raised planters with all sorts of little plants and spices. Here are some baby eggplants.

Catalina and Ross. This is the park’s only real concession to tourist trapyness.

Poisonous Plant Collection

The poisonous plant collection was a little disappointing. Hey, isn’t “poisonous” the botanical word for “hallucinogenic”? Just kidding — don’t eat that. (Actually, they tell you not to eat anything in the park unless you recognize it — apparently some of the plants in the regular area poisonous too.)


The best thing about the greenhouse is that when you leave, going outside feels like walking into an air conditioned building. It’s hot in there.


These are the bitter berries again, which grow, unbelievably, attached directly to the branches of this tree. Never seen anything like it.

Fruit and Spice Park on google maps, and here is the official web page.


Friday September 15, 2006

South Pointe Park

South Point Park

South Pointe Park is at the southernmost point of South Beach. It’s not a very “parky” park, if you know what I mean; the nice thing about it is that it’s the intersection of a lot of different human activity. You get surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, and readers on the side where the beach joins it. You get Cruise ships, Jet Skis, sailboats, freighters, and Coast Guard cruisers. Helicopters fly overhead, airliners fly overhead, and prop planes with banners fly out at sea. Beach wedding Last weekend, there was a wedding on the beach. There’s also a big crazy seawall, a pier that the bastards have closed to the public, and a predictably overpriced restaurant with crappy service and good steaks (or so I hear) (yes, it’s a restaurant in the middle of a park; don’t ask me why).

There’s rich people from the high-rises that pepper the neighborhood (apartments currently going for $1-6 million, depending on size and altitude), tourists, surfers, models+photographers, bums, and teenager hooligans. There’s a big field with big dogs running around. There’s a weird little cluster of fountains you can wander into. And across the water, there’s Fisher Island, where Oprah lives part of the year. But even with all of that, the atmosphere is sort of quiet and peaceful. I wouldn’t go out of my way or anything, but occasionally I end up here when I’m strolling around, and it’s always surprisingly pleasant. Incidentally, Miami Beach is planning a major renovation of the park, including a
big marble glaicer, which sounds like a great idea to me.

Update: Here’s an amazing picture of Government Cut. South Pointe Park is to the right, Fisher Island is to the left.


Wednesday July 12, 2006

Bicentennial Park/Museum Park

First of all, before you get all exited, this has nothing to do with the design of Miami Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, or any museum. This is all about the park that will (maybe) contain them, plans of which have been released. MAeX linked to a Herald article which linked to the Miami Planning website which linked to two PDF documents, a big one (which crashed my computer) and a little one.

We get a restaurant, some fountains, some open space, a “promenade,” some fancy gardens, no parking to speak of, and room for two buildings, the models of which are there just to fill space, ‘cause nobody knows what they’re going to look like yet. In fact, they may never happen, which who knows what that does to the park layout?

In the interest of sparing you downloading the PDFs, and of burning some bandwidth, each of the images below links to a (near) full-size graphic. Enjoy.