Miami’s Devalued History

9 07 2007

I was born and raised in Miami, leaving it for only three years to live in Tallahassee for a little while and experience life outside of Miami. I returned in 1999 and have been living here ever since. I have my family here, my roots, and history here. I’ve considered leaving Miami for other places, but I can never truly bring myself to leave my roots. As much as I hate the traffic, I hate the politics, and the rude people that seem to be multiplying by the minute, there is something about this city that just fascinates me. Believe it or not there is a very rich history here that I research and learn about little by little. The thing that saddens me the most about this city is it’s lack of preservation. It’s history is demolished daily with each new high rise or parking structure that is constructed. Being that I’m an architecture student, I look towards our history for inspiration on my designs and every time I take a look around the ancient (by Miami standards) structures that we have around here, I notice how badly in disrepair they are or how they’d been demolished to accommodate the latest and greatest building that will save our city from ruins, as each new developer claims. For example, let’s go back to one of my previous posts on the Miami Stadium. Here’s a stadium that was rich in history that was allowed to fall into disrepair and eventually demolished. Then there’s the Miami Marine Stadium. Anyone who’s been in Miami for a while and ventures outside of their box or goes boating knows about the Marine Stadium.

Miami Marine Stadium

This stadium was designed by architects Pancoast, Ferendino Spillis + Candela, who is now Spillis Candela DMJM with the lead architect being Hilario Candela and this project being one of his favorites. The massive concrete cantilever roof is incredibly impressive and with how badly in disrepair this structure is, it’s beauty is still evident. Hurricane Andrew did a number on it in 1992, and the structure was left to fall apart. It is in critical condition as there are massive cracks in the concrete, and if you’re in a boat in the cove you can see where concrete has fallen off in chunks at the rebar has been exposed.

Marine Stadium

I honestly believe that I went here as a child to see a race with my parents, but I’m not sure as I was really young and my parents don’t remember either. I seem to remember having a soft serve ice cream and seeing a water skiing show, but beyond that I don’t remember. I do remember how impressive the structure was, which is an indication to me that from an early age I already had an awareness of architecture. There’s a pretty good article with some history over at Miami Vision Blogarama that is worth checking out.

Then there’s Hialeah Park, which was once Hialeah Race Track. This beautiful, timeless park succumbed to big business and stopped it’s races on May 22, 2001. It could not compete with places like Calder Race Track and had to close becoming Hialeah Park. It’s grounds are gorgeously landscaped with the main track being a flamingo habitat.


There’s a very important article on it’s future at

“It’s like a beautiful woman whose time has come and gone,” track owner John Brunetti said.

This statement couldn’t be any truer, and this is a good example of what this entire article is about. This gorgeous park is in serious danger. They are considering turning it into a mixed use residential structure. Usually I would applaud this kind of thinking as I feel mixed use structures are something that is desperately needed in Miami, but not when it’s taking the place of a structure that has been here since the 1920’s.

Overgrown Hialeah Park

Three Guys from Miami has a great resource on this awesome park with loads of pictures, as well as Wikipedia, The National Historic Landmarks Program, and Save Hialeah Park! Again, this is another place that I have been to, not for the races though, but it is incredibly impressive. I would compare the grounds of Hialeah Park to that of Vizcaya without the waterfront view. Granted both structures have their own personalities and their own history so this statement isn’t entirely true, but if you’ve ever been to Vizcaya and been in awe of it’s beauty, you will be equally impressed by Hialeah Park.

These are a few of the structures that are near to me and which I consider at critical points of their lives. These structures are in danger of being demolished or falling on their own, as in the case of the Marine Stadium, and I really wish that the politicians who claim to value this city would take the appropriate measures to save it’s history. The existing structures played a huge role in making Miami what it is today and drawing people to this “Paradise” and we are in danger of losing who we were and how we arrived where we did and I’m terribly afraid that these structures are only going to become stories we tell our children about or you see in a museum, as in the case of Royal Palm Hotel.

It’s no wonder!

16 05 2007

Has anyone attempted driving around lately? How about during rush hour? How about during rush hour when it’s raining? The roads are a mess. People just can’t seem to drive when it’s raining, so it’s no wonder that when polled South Florida was found to have the rudest drivers in the nation! On Monday alone, i had two people almost sideswipe me and another that ran me off the road onto the emergency lane because people just seem to have too many things to do while they’re driving. There ability to drive suffers, and when they mess up in this fashion they curse you out for being in their way?! How this works, I’m still not sure. I have noticed over the years that with the increasing amount of people who are moving to Miami, not only is the traffic getting worse, but the ability to drive is decreasing, and there is also an increase in the usage of a particular finger.

“For the second straight year, South Floridians have been declared the most boorish, aggressive and dangerous drivers in the United States, according to an unscientific survey conducted for a national auto club…”

“This year, like last, the survey also found that South Florida motorists rank No. 1 in the U.S. as most likely to:

• See other drivers run red lights on a daily basis (58 percent)
• Witness others slamming on their brakes on a daily basis (39 percent)
• Observe other drivers multitasking, such as shaving, reading or putting on make-up while driving (54 percent)”

Could all this nonesense be avoided? YES! If the current mass transit systems would actually go places of use other then just up and down the Eastern portions of Miami, then maybe some of the cars on the road would be decreased. If the bus service was a little more reliable and not so scary, then maybe it would get used more often. if the current payment methods to get onto the Metro Rail were updated with a Metropass system like they have in New York, DC, and other urban areas then maybe people would find it easier and much more relaxing to use the systems we have and are HOPEFULLY working on expanding other then driving their cars around town badly!

I’m so sick of leaving my house earlier and earlier for work only to either arrive 5 minutes late or make it right on time. I’m tired of fighting traffic for longer spans of time on my way home from work. I’m tired of gas being so expensive, but not having much of a choice other then paying for it. Unfortunately the system we have in place right now is not conducive to my work/school schedule. I would spend more time waiting for buses/trains then it would take for me to just hop in my car and go or I would end up missing class altogether. If it were the other way around I would gladly hop on a bus/train and get to work/school.

Something really needs to be done about this situation because as a growing metro that is trying to compete with places like DC and New York I really feel that Miami should be able to compete with the available transit as well and we don’t even come close!

Why do I bother?

15 05 2007

I don’t know why I bother reading the news, because it’s always about things that depress me. Like this article in the Herald about a man who insisted his mother stay home from work on Mother’s Day and then was killed when the family restaurant where they all work was robbed. Firstly, I can understand how desperation can make a person do stupid things, but this is just the ultimate in low. He was someones son and brother, and now both of these women will forever be saddened on mother’s day with the reminder that their son/brother was killed on this day. What a truly crappy thing to do on a day when motherhood and family is celebrated.

And then there’s this story about an exotic dancer who was sexually assaulted at gunpoint in Hialeah by six men. Yes, she may be an exotic dancer, but no woman, regardless of her profession asks or deserves to be raped or assaulted. Again, this was another Mother’s Day ruined for another woman.

Arrested were Reginald Session, Andres Martinez, Arnaldo Ovidio, Jusneil Gonzalez, Daniel Ochoa and William Gomez, ages and hometowns unknown.

I want it to be known who these men are. I’m sure a quick search through the Clerk of Courts page will give you their criminal records, and I would hope that any woman who dates any of these men knows the truth of what they’ve done to this poor woman and understand what it is that they are getting themselves into.

I guess my biggest issue is that I don’t understand how it is that some people can be so heartless. I don’t understand how it is that on a day like Mother’s/Father’s Day, Christmas, etc. people can do things that will ruin several other peoples lives because with each one of these acts committed against one person it will affect several other people in a negative way and impact their lives horribly. Sometimes I just with for the perfect utopian world with it’s quirks but without all the madness that we have to suffer through now.

America Votes top 150

12 05 2007

In celebration of the AIA’s 150th anniversary, they decided to run a poll and find out what is America’s 150 favorite pieces of American architecture. The number 1 choice was the Empire State Building. Check out the rest of America’s Favorite Architecture. Two of Miami Beaches jewels made it to the top 150: The Delano and the Fountainbleu. Both of them being very important pieces of architecture, and both being two very good examples of post-war MiMo architecture. Check out the link, or simply open Google Earth and under “Featured Content” choose the AIA button and you’ll see geographically all these pieces of architecture.

Favorite Architecture
AIA 150

Miami Stadium

11 05 2007

cover1.gifI’m not very old, and I admit that I never really paid much attention to this little jewel, but I do remember seeing it as a kid. My parents grew up in Allapattah when they came from Cuba, and my father used to love driving us around town and showing us the neighborhood he grew up in, including the Miami Stadium. He loves baseball and the Orioles are his favorite team as he grew up watching them during spring training at the stadium.

ms1.gifWhen my brothers and I were growing up, my father decided that it was time for my brother to start playing baseball. Being that I was a headstrong girl (and still am) I got all sorts of bent out of shape that he wouldn’t consider the same for me, so I voiced my opinion, loudly, and was signed up for softball. I loved it! I loved it so much that I told my mom as a kid that I wanted to play professionally when I grew up. Then came the realization that there’s no such thing as pro women’s softball which the feminist inside of me got really upset over, but I’m digressing here. So what does this have to do with anything? Well, the Miami Herald has a great write up on the stadium that was torn down in 2001.

miami-stadium.jpgThe stadium, built in 1940’s, was built by visionary and Cuban millionaire Jose Manuel Alleman. He decided to build this stadium in hopes of bringing big time baseball to Miami and it flopped.

I was doing some further research on the stadium, as this article sparked a huge interest in me with my love of architecture, especially in the historical sense, and I came across this picture while searching for any information. Notice that on the marquee it says “Home of the Miami Marlins”. I remember when the Marlins were first inducted: I even remember the competition that was held to name them, and I know full well that they were never called the “Miami Marlins,” it was always the Florida Marlins, and they never played at the Miami Stadium, since by the time they were inducted the stadium was already very outdated and in shambles. So I researched this some more and found this in Wikipedia:

“The Miracle franchise began in 1926 as the Fort Myers Palms, but moved to Miami for 1927 and played through mid-1928 as the Hustlers. Then, in 1962 they were re-named the Miami Marlins, after the former Class AAA International League team of the same name which existed from 1956-1960 (after the Syracuse Chiefs transferred there).The team played in the Class A Florida State League from 1963-1970 (Class D in 1962) and again from 1982-1988 as the Marlins. They were known as the Miami Orioles from 1971-1981 and are now known as the Fort Myers Miracle. During the vast majority of their time in Miami, the team played at Miami Stadium.”

Of course, now I wonder if this is why the Marlins got their name, as a reference to this team that played here back in the 60’s. Whatever the case may be there will be a documentary on the stadium tomorrow night appropriately at the Tower Theater in Little Havana at 6:30 pm. The theater is located at 1508 SW 8 Street. For all those who are as interested in Miami history, this may be worth it for you.


Dooms Day

11 05 2007

Originally uploaded by Lissette.

That’s what the sky looks like today. It looks like dooms day. It was fairly cleared up yesterday, but this morning when I walked out of the house to drop the little one off at school and go to work it looked like it was going to rain. Come to find out that it’s smoke from all the fires, and the sun looks like this big, orange spotlight in the sky. Actually, it looks like a really bright street light.

Green Flamingos

10 05 2007

This is a must do for the weekend! During the Design Districts Art+Design Night, our local Green Savvy blogger Rebecca Carter over at GreenerMIAMI will be part of a presentation with other local Green savvy people. Check it out!

Green Flamingos