Posts Tagged ‘Miami Beach’

Goodbye North Beach, Hello South Beach

After seven years of living in Normandy Isle, in North Beach, I’m moving down to South Beach.

I’m trading this

For this

What, you thought I’d put a pic of neon-drenched Ocean Dr? I live next to Flamingo Park, and that’s more the South Beach I’m interested in, the quiet village that lies almost inexplicably between Alton and Washington, where I can bike everywhere and little is more than 8 blocks away, 10 at most.

North Beach is the forgotten and neglected child of Miami Beach and frankly I’m glad to be out of there. I wish luck to Commissioner Jerry Libbin in continuing to represent North Beach’s interest. Me, seven years were enough. I’m ready for a change.

No Fishing From Bridge (Except For You, Of Course)

fishbridge01

Guy fishing from the North Bay Village/Miami Beach drawbridge.

In general I’m a very laissez faire kind of person; do your thing as long as it’s not illegal and it doesn’t bother other people. When it breaks those two qualifiers, I tend to get grouchy. Like now.

I travel the JFK/79 St Causeway between Miami Beach, North Bay Village and Miami daily, both on car and on bike. On every bridge along this route there is a sign that clearly, in plain English, states NO FISHING FROM BRIDGE. There is no way to misunderstand that message. And yet, daily, at all hours of the day, there are people on each of the bridges, with rods or lines or nets, that apparently have a card that grants them an exception from this mandate.

I honestly don’t care that they fish (I personally would think twice before eating anything that came out of the waters around these islands, considering the amount of pollution clearly visible in the water, but hey, knock yourself out), but come on, it’s clearly stated on the sign that you can’t do it from here! Plain and simple, you and all your equipment are in the way of pedestrian/stroller/bicycle/skateboard/rollerskate/etc traffic. It’s just the same as if you were doing it from one of the lanes on the road. Of course, there’s also the issue of fishing lines and flying nets squarely in the waterways, and while most of these bridges have clearly marked channels for boats to go through, there are tons of idiots that have an exception card for that as well and cross under the bridges wherever they choose to.

fishbridge02

This one has several rods cast and smiled for the camera.

What bothers me is that I have never, in 7 years of living in this area, have seen any cop do anything about it. I mean, there’s a bridge right across from the North Bay Village Police Station and people fish right in front of them with impunity. Nothing. I don’t know that this is a ticketable offense, but at least get them moving from there.

I’ll lay a bit of blame on the cities as well; find these guys a place with public access to the water so they can go and fish there. We live near the water, fishing is just a reality of our way of life, so just embrace it and make it safer for all. Miami Beach just recently opened a small park in Normandy Isle, at the south end of Trouville Esplanade, with access to the bay for the walking public, a fantastic move on their part. Why not do something similar for fishing? The City of Miami should rehabilitate the wooden pier at the south end of Pelican Harbor Park which was partially destroyed during a recent hurricane. North Bay Village should also find a couple of spots to grant public access to the water (how about one of the two empty lots next to the Western Inn?), both for fishing and for the general public.

I’d love to say that I expect some improvement here, but I tend to take the cynical route and not expect anything. Still, I’d love to see the cops enforce the No Fishing From Bridge rule and for the cities to find ways to channel this activity to proper areas.

Autumn Sky

As I rode my bike to synagogue this morning, I thought I felt a slight, very slight, coolness in the air. As I got to top of the drawbridge and looked at the sky, I knew it wasn’t a tactile hallucination: there’s a cold front going through!

That is a bonafide Autumn sky right there! In Miami, where every season is just a variation of Summer, any glimpse of an actual difference is greatly welcomed, especially by me as Autumn is my favorite season and I just don’t get to experience it practically at all.

The Sun Sentinel reported on the “cold” front, during which temps will go down to — get ready — 88 degrees in Miami! *sigh*

Oh well, at least the sky looked beautiful during my bike commute this morning, and I always appreciate that.

Farewell Miami Beach Castle

miamibeachfireWoke up to see the news from @MiamiHerald on my Twitter feed: The mansion known as Capt. Burke’s Miami Beach Castle, located on 4462 North Bay Road, was completely engulfed in flames early today. The house was currently on sale for $6.9 million and I swear that if I had had money to burn and clean my butt with, I would have bought it in a heartbeat.

The Miami Beach castle boasted iron gates, gargoyles, turrets, towers, parapets, a draw bridge and a 65,000 gallon salt water moat filled with sand sharks. It also had fantastical sculptures inside, like a dragon by a small pool. Not that I knew all this before today. The castle was, sadly, abandoned when the previous owner up and died from an overdose (The Herald has the whole sordid story) and was left to languish in very expensive solitude.

This castle was not far from my house, and whether it was driving to get out of the Beach, or (especially) riding my bike, I would take a moment, whenever I could, to stop by and marvel at this utterly bizarre gem and wish I could go inside. This place should not have been left unused; this place should have been rented out for events, films, videos. This amazing strangeness should have been an attraction in Miami Beach. Frankly, this place should have been the site for many roleplaying game conventions. Can you think of anything more fitting than playing Dungeons & Dragons here?

I am utterly bummed by this loss. In a city with more than its fair share of expensive and massive monuments to ridiculosity, the dark-stoned, gargoyle-guarded castle of Miami Beach stood uniquely apart. Maybe I only speak for myself, but it shall be missed.

See photos of the house and fire at Herald.com.

Also see these photos from the real estate listing at NelsonGonzalez.com. I can’t help but think this listing will soon be taken down.

A Foggy Morning at the Beach

My cameraphone simply could not capture the amazing sight of the sun rising through the dense fog rolling out across the bay from North Bay Village.

A Foggy Morning in Miami Beach

Remember to grab your coats for the one-day cold front we’re supposed to get tonight.

Jewish Hatred on Miami Beach

And just in time for Channukah. Last Thursday, Dec. 18, Dovid Hazzan, an Israeli immigrant who is a teacher at a Jewish Day School in Miami Beach, was viciously attacked by three unknown assailants.

WSVN: Man hospitalized following hate attack

The attack occurred at night, just off 87th Street and Collins Ave. in the North Beach area of Miami Beach. That is just about 10 streets north of where I live! What the hell! I feel so much sympathy for this man, who is suffering serious bruising on his face and swelling of the brain thanks to these [insert explaitives here] who attacked him simply for being a Jew. 

I rarely walk around with a hat and I always wear my kippa (yarmulke) as well. I ride my bike around the beach at various times of the day and I just go about my business as usual. Am I next? I could be, simply because of my religion. This is ridiculous and it needs to stop now.

This attacked happened in one of the areas with the largest Jewish communities in South Florida, a place with many families living their lives, children playing as normal, not some backwater neighborhood hidden deep in the county. This isn’t an issue of concern only for the Jewish community either; those who today beat up Jews simply for being Jews tomorrow will beat anyone simply for being anyone. 

To Dovid Hazzan I wish a speedy refua sheleima (complete recovery). To the assailants, I wish you to have remorse for your actions and courage to come forth. To everyone, I wish peace.

Morning Fishing

Morning Fishing

At the intracoastal, off the 79th Street Causeway bridge between North Bay Village and Miami Beach.

Kosher for the Publi(c)x

Anny's ChallahYesterday afternoon I was running a bit late for preparations for Shabbat, so I decided I’d just got to Publix (Collins Ave. and 65th Street, Miami Beach) only, instead of my usual Friday afternoon trip which also includes going down to 41st Street where there are a couple of Kosher stores. I wouldn’t be able to get challah, but I could live with that, since I could at least get some Kosher bread (frozen baguettes in this case). Imagine my surprise when I enter the supermarket and right around the corner I almost run into a tall display of Anny’s Bread Shoppe challah and breads.

This Publix had once carried Anny’s products, but they stopped after only a couple of months and I was never sure why, since the breads actually sold all the time. Naturally I grabbed two challahs (one regular, one chocolate chip [great for French toasts]) before it all disappeared like a mirage. Needless to say, this made my day, as I was able to do my Shabbat shopping AND get the most exquisite challah in Miami (seriously, if you see this display, grab some and be taken to bread paradise).

Kosher Sushi at QFCUltimately, however, you might be wondering why I was so excited to see Anny’s challah at the store. It has something to do with my recent trip to Seattle. The Jewish community in the greater Seattle area is smaller than that of Miami, especially the Orthodox segment, yet they enjoy an amazing availability of Kosher food in regular markets in the heavily-Jewish neighborhoods. I visited an Albertson’s that has a Kosher Deli & Sushi Chef, Bakery and Butcher, not to mention a whole Kosher mini-market rivaling the ones in Miami. I later visited a QFC (think their version of Publix) that had also just in the last 3 months expanded their Kosher section to include a Deli and Sushi Chef. Why is it that I, living in one of the largest Jewish communities in the US, arguably the largest outside of New York, have to go clear across the country to Seattle to visit a supermarket that gives me my choice of about 15 to 20 different breads, including artisan varieties, all Kosher? And I’m not even going to get into the topic of prices, which are way cheaper in Seattle than here, where there is a lot more availability.

Frankly, it’s our own fault. We, the Kosher-keeping Jewish community, have settled for whatever we can get from the local merchants, be they gentile or Jewish. We need to demand better products in our markets, and then purchase them to show our support and encourage thier continued presence. I realize that this means that many Kosher-keeping Jews will have to break out of their (IMO bland) comfort food zones, but it will be worth it, I assure you.

Now, to be fair, there are some supermarkets in the greater South Florida area that do feature Kosher departments inside their stores, usually a Butcher and/or Deli. Most of these are Winn Dixie (I know of one in Aventura [at 204th St and Biscayne Blvd.] and one in Hollywood that seems to also have a bakery) plus a couple of Albertson’s in Palm Beach County. What happened to you, Publix? Catch up. Let me suggest starting with one of your stores in Miami Beach (maybe the one on Collins and 65th). And if you already have such a store, how about promoting that fact to the Jewish community? Actually, that goes for all of the markets: promote yourself to us, so we can then support you.

I long for the day that I will be able to walk into my local Publix and buy Anny’s challah (or some other artisan bread) and some freshly-made Kosher sushi to take home. I just won’t be holding my breath.

Art Basel Miami Beach: Here, and Gone

While I was away in Seattle, Art Basel Miami Beach, the yearly event showcasing artists from around the world right in our backyard, one of those events that proves that this city has a lot more going for it than the superficiality most people associate with it, took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Sadly, given I am currently the only Miami Metblogs writer and I was out of town, there was no coverage for this blog. To our good fortune, however, Alesh Houdek of Buildings and Food (and formerly of Critical Miami) did cover the event, so check out the following links and enjoy Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 vicariously.

Normandy Isle Laundry Cleaned Up

I went to do my laundry at Express Laundry of South Florida and as I walk in, I see the picture above. When I go to get my quarters, one of the employees has to count them by hand because the automatic change machine is not working. Turns out, I overhear as I’m adding detergent to the washers, that the laundry was burglarized just last night, sometime between closing at 10:30 pm and opening at 8:00 am.

The thieves made a hole low on a wall leading into a back office that doubles as storage, moving a hell of a lot of really heavy equipment piled up back there, from what one of the owners told me, to get into the main area. There, they proceeded to break the locks on all the dryers and to take out the change machine, emptying them all of their precious jingling contents. They also stole cash from the back room (including the payroll) and who knows what else.

This is just sad and a big shame. The people who run the laundry are very nice and have improved that place a lot from how they got it from the previous owners. Here’s hoping the police catches the thieves and that the laundry owners not have any more troubles.

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