Sunday, May 2, 2010

There's More to It Than Palm Trees, Sand and People Watching

One of the things Mr. Tennis and I discovered during our little vacay in SoBe is that the area has a lot of beauty to it.  Of the natural variety and of the man-made kind as well.

The South Beach/Miami community has done a wonderful job of preserving and highlighting one of it's gems amongst the glass and metal world of the condos gone wild  here. 

The Art Deco style and era of design is around every corner where we were lucky enough to be staying. This stylized design started around the 1920s and continued until the construction boom after World War II.  The Art Deco district in Miami went into decline and was at it's lowest point in the late 1970s.

A bus driver we had the pleasure of meeting, Reggie,  grew up in the area and told us of the revitalization of the district that began in the mid to late 1980s when he was in high school.  The district at that time was a place to find cheap housing and with that came crime and illegal activities.  Real estate was cheap in the area and some speculators in the real estate business felt that it might be worth a gamble to buy some of these failing properties, refurbish them and turn the area into a place that people would want to come to, not shun. 

This is an old bus stop along Collins Avenue, now a trendy shopping street.

Ocean Avenue with it's close proximity to the beautiful beach is where they started.  Their gamble paid off and many of these real estate risk-takers,  who were the parents of some of Reggie's classmates, became very wealthy and in turn their children continued in the business of making South Beach one of the most popular vacation and nightlife destinations in the country.

A walk down Ocean Avenue, Collins Ave or any sidestreet will have any number of surprises waiting for the unsuspecting visitor - day or night. 

The Unique fan-like palm in the picture below is a Traveler's Palm.  It always aligns to the North and South.

Many of the buildings have unique and colorful borders or intricate patterns on their exterior walls.  Here are a few I was able to capture:

For the most part, these pictures don't need a commentary, they speak for themselves.  I apologize for the length of the post, but it was hard to choose just a few pictures. (Maybe the Chamber of Commerce will hire me down there :-} )

And at night:

Beautiful uses with glass:

Hey! Wait a second!  How did that get in there again?!

Of course, these still exist.  The bane of many a Floridan's existence: The jalousied window.  While effective in catching and distributing air back in their hey-day, in current times they are seen as "leakers of air conditioning" and too easy for criminals wanting to break-in.  Yet, they still exist in large numbers in the SoBe area and seem to fit in:

Lastly I have some examples of the interesting iron work that can be found on stairways, balconies or doorways:

For those of you who stuck with this, thank you and I hope you enjoyed a peek at the unique style that defines the South Beach area. So ends my stint with the Tourism Bureau of Southeast Florida.

Suspicious Panda, Out.


KarenSue said...

Wow, you sure did get alot in on your trip.
Very interesting. Maybe we will go for a visit sometime since it's on the way to Montana. Right?
And thank you for my award! I'm so pleased. I will be doing my award duties tomorrow after work.
Enjoy your Monday friend.

Linda said...

Just love the great architecture there! And suspicious Panda is the best dog photo I've seen in awhile...I know that look...

Orlando Grandma said...

I bet Panda is thinking.'what is she up to now". good photo. Your exellent posts of what South MI is all about show the newspaper woman in you.See what the Sentinal Star is missing.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Well Panda and the cocktails win in the most hilarious division. :)

Totally drooling with envy. Those buildings. SIGH.

Lindsey said...

Nice work with the camera! Looks gorgeous!

clustres said...

Just found your blog. If you ever visit mine you'll notice from past posts how much I love Boston Terriers too!