Miami South Beach on a typical Winter Day
Macrine and I had been to Miami Beach twice in the early 1980's during the American Chemical Society Meeting. We stayed at the well-known Fontainebleau Hotel. One evening there was a dance contest. We participated and won 3rd place in the CHA CHA. We also toured the Deco District and South Beach described in detail below.
Miami Beach is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The city was incorporated on March 26, 1915. It is located on a barrier island between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean; the Bay separates Miami Beach from the city of Miami, Florida. The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of "Miami", despite being a distinct municipality. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 87,933. 55.5% of the population was foreign born. A 2005 population estimate for the city was 87,925. Miami Beach has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts for almost a century.
The Fontainebleau Hotel and Resort
In 1979 Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The Historic District is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the East, Lenox Court on the West, 6th Street on the South and Dade Boulevard along the Collins Canal to the North. The movement to preserve the Art Deco District's architectural heritage was led by former interior designer Barbara Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.
Image and cultural depictions
South Beach (also known as SoBe, or simply The Beach, the area from 1st street to about 25th street) is one of the more popular areas of Miami Beach. Topless sunbathing is legal on certain designated areas of the beach. Before the TV show Miami Vice helped make the area popular, SoBe was under urban blight, with vacant buildings and a high crime rate. Today, it is considered one of the richest commercial areas on the beach, yet poverty and crime still remain in some places near the area. Miami Beach, particularly Ocean Drive of what is now the Art Deco District, was also featured prominently in the 1983 feature film Scarface and The Birdcage. The New World Symphony Orchestra is based in Miami Beach, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
Lincoln Road, running east-west between 16th and 17th Streets, is a nationally known spot for great outdoor dining, bicycling, rollerblading and shopping and features and galleries of well known designers, artists and photographers such as Romero Britto, Peter Lik, and Jonathan Adler.
Miami Beach is home to a number of Orthodox Jewish communities with a network of well-established synagogues and yeshivas, in addition to a liberal Jewish community containing such famous synagogues as Temple Emanu-El (Miami Beach, Florida) and Cuban Hebrew Congregation. It is also a magnet for Jewish families, retirees, and particularly snowbirds when the cold winter sets in to the north. They range from the Modern Orthodox to the Haredi and Hasidic – including many rebbes who vacation there during the North American winter.
There are a number of kosher restaurants and even kollels for post-graduate Talmudic scholars, such as the Miami Beach Community Kollel. Miami Beach had roughly 60,000 people in Jewish households, 62 percent of the total population, in 1982, but only 16,500, or 19 percent of the population, in 2004, said Ira Sheskin, a demographer at the University of Miami who conducts surveys once a decade. Miami Beach is home to the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach.
The gay community in Miami Beach has dramatically deteriorated over the years. By 2010, most LGBT populations moved up north into Broward County. Random anti-gay attacks and Miami Beach Police brutality against gay men are the most recent evident factors attributing to the exodus of LGBT culture, residents, and tourists. Ironically a new gay friendly mayor, Matti Herrera Bower, came together with increased corruption and homophobia in the city's police department. Also, since the new mayor took office in 2007, an ordinance to close parks and beaches where gay men congregate was executed, which led to an ongoing harassment of single men in general. As a result, Miami Beach male tourists regardless of sexual orientation have been increasingly becoming targets for the Miami Beach Police Department, resulting in wrongful arrests and deaths. In 2005, a local gay friendly radio station, Party 93.1 FM changed its format from dance to rock. As a result, Issues Over the Rainbow, South Florida's only gay-oriented FM talk show was cancelled. Gone along with the show – the station's sponsorships of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; Care Resource's annual White Party gala to fight AIDS; and Winter Party, a five-day fundraiser in early March that benefits South Florida gay charities. In February 2010, ACLU announced that it will sue the City of Miami Beach for an ongoing targeting and arrests of gay men in public. According to the ACLU, Miami Beach has a history of arresting gay men for simply looking "too gay".
According to the Morgan Quitno Awards, Miami Beach is one of the most dangerous small cities (population between 75,000 and 99,999) in the country. Each December, The city plays host to the major contemporary art exhibition Art Basel Miami Beach. In November 2007 and 2009, a multi-media art festival ("Sleepless Night") was held based on Nuit Blanche.[
Climate-Similar to the Philippines
It has a tropical monsoon climate with hot humid summers and warm winters like the Philippines. There is a marked wet season during the summer months, with dry winters that feature much lower humidity. Miami Beach is one of only a handful of U.S. locales that has never recorded snow or snow flurries in recorded weather history.
Miami Beach's location on the Atlantic Ocean, near its confluence with the Gulf of Mexico make it extraordinarily vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Despite only experiencing one direct hit from a major hurricane in recorded weather history, (Hurricane Cleo in 1964), the area has seen indirect contact from hurricanes Betsy (1965), Andrew (1992), Irene (1999), Michelle (2001), Katrina (2005), and Wilma (2005). Miami's Beach reminds me of the Philippines.
Note: This No.17 (Part 1) of a series of articles on places that the Katague Family had visited or resided in the US since 1960.