Archive for July, 2009

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

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

Miami Social Starts Tonight on Bravo

Bravo TV’s newest docu-drama series, Miami Social, starts tonight at 10 pm EST. Here’s the show description from the website:

Miami is an international cultural melting pot filled with the young, gorgeous and wealthy looking to live the good life. South Americans, East Coasters, native Floridians…everyone comes to Miami for the sun and fun – it’s a city that specializes in people that work hard and play even harder. In Miami Social, Bravo will follow a successful group of friends who are some of the most connected and interesting young professionals in South Beach, as they go from the city’s night life, to the board room, to magazine offices where they lead their intertwined lives.

Let me take a deep breath.

I honestly wish Bravo and the cast of Miami Social all the best in this new series, but I can tell you I am not particularly interested in the series. I don’t care one bit for the image of Miami as “party central home to the beautiful people,” and that’s all I’m seeing here, at least based on the info on the site and the promos on TV. I try my best to highlight the side of Miami that is more than that stereotypical perception, and a show that reduces the city merely to the socialite games of South Beach instinctively bothers me.

I’ll give the first episode a chance to be fair, but it has an uphill battle to gain me as a regular viewer. I mean, who knows, maybe there is more to it and I’ll end up having to eat my words (which I would happily do, so you’d read about it here as well). We’ll see.

Luau Night at Grapeland Water Park

Just a quick post from Puerto Rico, copied from the City of Miami website:

Grab the family and check out Grapeland Water Park, 1550 NW 37 Avenue. Luau Night means tropical fun for an affordable price $5 admission per person, the event runs from 8pm – 10pm and will include limbo contests, water games and at 9pm a special hula show that includes a hula lesson, fire dancer and Hawaiian music.

This is a great chance to relax in the park and go on a mini-vacation. For more information call 305-960-2951.

Also check back on July 18th for Jurassic Park, our monthly outdoor movie at Grapeland Water Park, you can dive in and watch the movie while floating in the pool.

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