Brickell, History, Miami, Miami River

“It may seem strange to you, but it is the dream of my life to see this wilderness turned into a prosperous city.” Julia Tuttle

The Miami River is the oldest natural landmark in town. Once upon a time, Julia Tuttle's residence was located on the north side of the river. This is a view of the south side and Brickell City Centre at the end of 2014. Most likely when checking it out now, some additional towers will have gone up.

The Miami River is the oldest natural landmark in town. Once upon a time, Julia Tuttle’s residence was located on the north side of the river. This is a view of the south side and Brickell City Centre at the end of 2014. Most likely when checking it out now, some additional towers will have gone up.

Julia Tuttle, considered the Mother of Miami, founded our city. She was not allowed (as all women in those days) to vote when the City of Miami was incorporated in 1896

Julia Tuttle

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Architecture, Arts and Culture, Footnotes with Kevin Doran, History, In the Know, Miami

Polly Lux de Hirsch Meyer

The sun moved above the horizon, a small group of ibis poked around in the wet grass and green parrots chirped in the coconut palms overhead. Homeless worked furiously to snooze a few more minutes while Nikes tapped past their heads on early morning jogs. Cafes on Ocean Drive served the first customers of the day and a small group of tourists in Lummus Park studied the architecture in the warm morning light. Their intense curiosity about how so many buildings had been built during the depths of the Great Depression, when supposedly everyone in America was broke, required an explanation.

Majestic Hotel

Majestic Hotel, vintage postcard, courtesy of the Miami Design Preservation League.

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Footnotes with Kevin Doran, History, In the Know, Miami

Footnotes with Kevin Doran

Tour Guides, like Concierges, have ongoing love affairs with their cities. In everyday events and every new thing they recognize the historic conditions that made it possible and the possibilities they imply for the future. And they love to connect the dots! The dots paint a picture of the soul of the city that is always complete but never completed. Like the Buddhist proverb that says a man never steps in the same river twice, one thing that is certain is that Miami is never static.

Kevin Doran Two Foot Tours

Kevin Doran, cultural and heritage tour guide, teacher and founder of Two Foot Tours.

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Architecture, Arts and Culture, History, Miami

Celebrating Art Deco

Last month Miami Beach celebrated its 35th Art Deco Festival, hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League. Locals and visitors enjoyed walking tours, noir genre movies, live jazz music and the by now famous dog parade along Ocean Drive. At the center of all the festivities was of course the Art Deco district. Together with our magnificent coastline, it has given Miami Beach its quintessential look, often featured on postcards, as a colorful backdrop in movies and in a myriad of fashion photography shoots.

When visiting the district, I always tell our guests to start at the Art Deco Welcome Center on 10th street and Ocean Drive. The Art Deco Welcome Center is the home of the Miami Design Preservation League. Without its founders, Barbara Capitman and Leonard Horowitz, the district would not exist in its current form.

Miami Art Deco Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel with its triple parapet, striking vertical and horizontal lines, rounded corners and eyebrow sunshades, Photo by Andrew Kaufman.

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Concierge ABC, History, Miami

Will the Role of the Hotel Concierge Become Obsolete?

Not long ago, I read an article with the catching title: Is the Role of the Hotel Concierge Going Obsolete? For a professional concierge, which I consider myself to be, this was a rather disturbing, drastic, and dramatic idea. I am going to be obsolete, why and how come? The author, a well known social media expert and hospitality writer, however, raised some very valid questions. Why, in our advanced technological times, does the modern day traveler still need a concierge? What makes the concierge service so valuable when our guests can look up everything they need on their online mobile devices? For how much longer will we find the concierge in the hotel lobby? How does the concierge justify his or her role and existence?

Ocean Drive, SoBe

Ocean Drive and Lummus Park back in the 90's, Photo Andrew Kaufman.

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Green, History, Miami, Off the Beaten Path, Outdoors, Sports

Biking through Miami’s History

Biking in Miami is a near life and death experience. This might be a bold statement but I think I know because I grew up biking in the Netherlands. The Netherlands happens to be one of the most bike friendly countries in the world. Most people bike to work, school, the supermarket, the library, or at night to a restaurant or a club. Bikes are the first thing tourists notice when they visit Amsterdam or any other city in the Netherlands.

SoBe Bike Girl

SoBe Bike Girl, Photo by Andrew Kaufman.

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