Hi, my name is Claudia Martinez and I am currently an Economics major at FIU. One of my favorite hobbies is going out and exploring new things including everything that Miami has to offer. Some people remember Miami for its wild party scene but I knew that Miami could not just be limited to that one single stereotype. When I heard of a different type of class, one that would leave the classroom setting and take you out to see the city for yourself, I knew that was going to be the next class I was going to sign up for. Taking the Miami In Miami during Covid-19 challenged me to get out of the comfort of my home and explore the city by going to new places that I would have otherwise not visited. The course is thought provoking and causes one to think outside the box literally while discussing subjects that I find uncomfortable and I would too often avoid. However, I stand challenged by this class and I look forward to seeing this class expand into greater horizons.
Pinecrest which is also known as Pinecrest village is estimated to have a population of 19,155 people as of 2019. Pinecrest is a suburban village located North of Palmetto bay, South of South Miami and West of the southern part of Coral Gables. Geographically speaking it is coordinated at 25°40′N 80°18′W according to the United States Census Bureau. This suburban village is composed of single family homes and commercial areas. One of the first characteristics that one notices upon entering the area is the high density of trees making its atmosphere feel green and eco-friendly.
Around the early 1900’s Miami pioneer Henry Flagler used a property located at US 1 and SW 102 St. Henry Flagler used this area where Pinecrest stands today as a stopping point for those involved in building the railroad that led to the Florida Keys. It was not until the 1930’s when Pinecrest’s development began to grow significantly after Parrot Jungle was founded in 1936. Later in 1946,the Miami Serpentarium opened for both venom research and tourists who wanted to come in close contact with snakes. Eventually, along the 1950’s and the 1960’s, Pinecrest led the way to the construction of permanent ranch style homes. However, it was not until 1966 that Pinecrest was incorporated with the help of Pinecrest’s first mayor Evelyn Greer. Today Pinecrest stands strong as the Village of Pinecrest (” HISTORY “)
Pinecrest Demographics according to (“City Data“).
Miami has a reputation of being a racially segregated city since its beginning and Pinecrest is one of its neighborhoods that distinguish this aspect. Pinecrest’s population is made up of 43.3% white only americans, a dominating 46.9% comprised of Hispanic or Latino and a small percentage of 6.84% of the minority group of Asians. Pinecrest demographics screams predominantly white only neighborhood. When it comes to class hierarchy, there is an abundant amount of upper middle-class member of society in Miami. However, just as we see an abundant amount of wealthy residents we also notice that Pinecrest has a high poverty rate of 5.83% of the population. That is a high percent especially for an upper-middle class neighborhood of Miami.
The average household income is an enormous amount of $152,643 and the average property value is an even greater 887,700. The average age of Pinecrest is 42 years old. In other words, this is an opulent neighborhood which is not true of the majority of neighborhoods in Miami. In spite of this, the poverty rate of Pinecrest is a real issue for some of its residents (“City Data“).
Interview with Mirtes Melo
Claudia: Before starting, share a little bit about yourself.
Mirtes: My name is Mirtes Melo and I am about to share my first-hand experience on Pinecrest.
Claudia: What makes Pinecrest an option for you to live in?
Mirtes: It is a pleasant and safe neighborhood with a convenient location close to commercial businesses which is a key factor when looking for a neighborhood.
Claudia: In your own words describe Pinecrest and its residents.
Mirtes: Pinecrest is a middle class neighborhood with tranquil families and residents.
Claudia: What do you enjoy the most about Pinecrest?
Mirtes: What I enjoy the most about Pinecrest is its central location to main highways and its overall green presentation.
Claudia: If you were to introduce someone to Pinecrest, where would you take them?
Mirtes: I would take them to Pinecrest Gardens which is a good idea for people of all ages.
Claudia: Do you consider Pinecrest a safe place to live in.
Mirtes: Absolutely, through out the time that I lived in Pinecrest, I have not undergone any problems concerning my safety.
Claudia: Is there something you wish to change about Pinecrest, if so, what would it be?
Mirtes: I would have to say add more floral arrangements, only to add a more garden-like focus to its appearance.
Claudia: How do you wish to see Pinecrest in the next five years?
Mirtes: I wish to see people set up new businesses that invest not only in the village of Pinecrest but also in neighborhoods of Miami that will also need it.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
The Fairchild Botanical Garden is a beautiful natural oasis for for families, couples or just anyone who wants to have a deeper connection with nature. Fairchild is made up of different ecosystems such as the butterfly garden (also known as the Clinton Family Conservatory), the Pine Rockland ecosystem and the famous orchid garden. Fairchild Garden resembles Pinecrest in the way that it repeats a high density of green plants and trees and tries to preserve the true pathos of nature (“Fairchild Garden“).
Veterans Wayside Park
Veterans Wayside Park lake in the center surrounded by limestone cliffs (“Trip Advisor“). This park attracts a large quantity of birds which are extremely diverse in bird species as well as other wildlife. According to Tripadvisor there are Muscovy Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Great Egret, White Ibis, and a Eurasian Collared Dove along with few turtles in the lake and some anole lizards. The place remains a peaceful place to have a picnic and relax or even to just contemplate the wildlife in many shapes and colors. The Veterans Wayside Park screams Pinecrest green living while embracing the high density green of nature that Pinecrest is so greatly known for.
Whilden Carrier Cottage
The Whilden Carrier Cottage is one of many pioneer dwellings built during the 1900’s and 1930’s. The cottage belong to the Whilden and Carrier family who resided here from the depression to the early 1970’s. This property included vegetable gardens, fruit trees, tropical specimens and native species. This property today is designated as a historic site by Miami-Dade County’s Historic Preservation Board. After all, it would not be Pinecrest if it did not have a historic pioneer dwelling (“Whilden Carrier Cottage“).
One of its landmarks include the famous Parrot Jungle which used the concept of birds “flying free”. This concept attracted became popular and attracted many tourist including former British prime minister Winston Churchill. Today it is located in present day Pinecrest Gardens and on 2011 this site has also been added to Historic places. Parrot Jungle was dug through hammock land and coral rock- which is indigenous to its area-in order to create a nature trail without disturbing any of its natural plants. When this attraction first opened, 100 visitors were welcomed. Ever since then, this landmark has attracted millions of visitors. (“Pinecrest Parks“)
Located in the same point where Parrot Jungle once stood, Pinecrest Gardens is 20 acres long. This park includes a variety of different themes such as the Butterfly Exhibit, Swan Lake, Petting Zoo, Children’s Playground and its attractive Splash-n-Play area. This park is a great attraction for families and people of all ages. This park aims to connect its visitors with animals, nature and provides fun experiences. This park is located at 11000 SW 57th Ave, Pinecrest, FL 33156. (“Pinecrest Parks“)
Flagler Grove Park
Flagler Grove Park is a three acre boundless park and playground aimed to be a recreational fun-zone for the youth. Although the park is not as vast as others, the park remains important to its community and the youth that they aim to bring recreation to (“Pinecrest Parks“)
Coral Pine Park
Coral Pine Park is an nine acre park with a recreation center, six tennis courts, and a large range of green space for recreation. The park is open to people and families of all ages, who want to host parties, play sports or simply plan a picnic. The park is located at 6955 Southwest 104th Street, Pinecrest, Florida (“Pinecrest Coral Pine Park“).
Metrorail and Bus
Pinecrest enjoys its close proximity to the Miami Metrorail Dadeland North but besides this they have their own personal, free bus transportation called the Pinecrest People Mover for anyone who wants to move around the village. This transportation includes north and south routes and has multiple afternoon schedules to meet school, lunch and work schedules. The Pinecrest People Mover is operated by the village of Pinecrest and is subsidized by Miami Dade County’s People’s Transportation Plan. Dadeland North provides a large parking building for pedestrians to park their cars and take the Metrorail to work or do other errands (“Pinecrest People Mover“)
Pinecrest’s west side is conveniently next to the US1. Pinecrest also enjoys the Palmetto expressway (Florida 826). Besides these two expressways, there is 57th Ave and Old Cutler Rd which run along the northeastern and southeastern side of Pinecrest, respectively. The location of this neighborhood makes it convenient for its residents to go to work and/or do other errands. Statistically speaking, Pinecrest residents maintain 27 minute commute work or school through car, holding an average of two cars per household.
Walking or Biking
Walking and Biking is not just something that can be done at Pinecrest neighborhood, it is also encouraged to promote healthy habits among the residents of Pinecrest. In fact, it is customary to see many families go on morning jogs across the sidewalks of 57 Ave inclusively on weekdays.
Elia Cafe at Pinecrest
Elia Cafe is located in the East extreme of Pinecrest. As a Cafe it offers fresh food, as well as foods with Greek tendencies. The Cafe is a great hangout for young people but it welcomes older crowds with its fresh outdoors settings and its fresh white walls. The Cafe is open on 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m to 4 p.m. on Saturdays (“Elia Cafe at Pinecrest“).
Anacapri Italian Restaurant And Wine Bar
Another Restaurant that the Pinecrest community enjoys is called the Anacapri Italian Restaurant. This restaurant’s food is inclined to you guessed it, Mediterranean food as well as marine influenced foods. This restaurant has great presentation that includes Mediterranean revival influence.
Besides restaurants and Cafes, Pinecrest also enjoys access to the Pinecrest Bakery. Surprisingly, the Bakery is open 24 hours a day except dine-in options are not available due to Covid restrictions. However, one can order takeout or delivery. The Pinecrest Bakery is located at 12101 S Dixie Hwy, Pinecrest, FL 33156 (“Anacapri Italian Restaurant“).
The Pinecrest Bakery
The Pinecrest Bakery at Pinecrest is a business that has stayed available and is now open even during the pandemic. In fact, the business is open 24 hours a day but by taking precautions such as completely restricting dine-in availability and leaving the business to do take-out and delivery. As you guessed it, the bakery offers a wide variety of sweet pastries for everyone with a sweet tooth. (“Pinecrest Bakery“).
A restaurant located only in the village of Pinecrest, it is pretty self explanatory that the restaurant offers seafood delicacies. Captain’s Tavern is a thriving business that has withstood the test of time and is still open for business to this day. Before its owner turned the business into the restaurant it is today, there had been a post office in its place. Whether you are a family, a couple or in a business get-together, this restaurant is for you (“Captain’s Tavern“).
Natuzzi Italia in Pinecrest, is an opulent furniture store that aims to appeal to a fresh modern design while at the same time aiming to capture an essence of Nature. Their design presentation are comprised of colorful, romantic and historical themes such as a captivating scenery of the Mediterranean coastline that one can incorporate into their home. Visiting this furniture store will take you to foreign places such as southern Italy. The store’s collection offers designer collections carefully detailed to resemble a healthy respect for the natural world. Nothing screams Pinecrest like this luxury furniture business (“Natuzzi Italia“).
Pinecrest Wayside Market
Pinecrest Wayside Market embraces the all-American theme with arms wide open with its traditions. The wholesome market provides strawberry milkshakes, homemade cherry pie, fresh vegetables and everything in between. If you are craving a healthier lifestyle then Pinecrest Wayside Market is the place for you. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of finding less processed and more natural products, but you will also find their products to be a delectable alternative and some people even consider going there to be a fashion statement ( “Pinecrest Wayside Market“).
Pinecrest is a beautiful community in itself that loves to preserve the safety and well-being of its residents. However, Pinecrest is still largely segregated from minority groups such as Asians and African-Americans which shows that even this beautiful neighborhood still needs to work in welcoming more diverse minority groups into their neighborhood. On the other hand, Pinecrest embraces one of Miami’s main concepts of being a largely green neighborhood and adopted the green density rich essence of nature. Just like many other neighborhoods in Miami, Pinecrest started as a dwelling for pioneers involved in Henry Flagler’s Railway project. Pinecrest has come a long way since it was first dwellings in the early 1900’s but I still look forward to seeing the diversity of minority groups make its way into this densely green neighborhood. I know that the neighborhood will one day be harboring multi-cultural families in their community, and at the same time will be effectively decreasing its poverty rate as well.
US Census Bureau. “Gazetteer Files.” The United States Census Bureau, 6 Aug. 2019, http://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/geo/gazetteer-files.html.
“Village of Pinecrest.” Coral Pine Park | Village of Pinecrest, http://www.pinecrest-fl.gov/government/parks-recreation/parks-and-facilities/coral-pine.
“Village of Pinecrest.” Street Name Origins | Village of Pinecrest, http://www.pinecrest-fl.gov/our-village/history/street-name-origins.
“Village of Pinecrest.” Pinecrest People Mover | Village of Pinecrest, http://www.pinecrest-fl.gov/our-village/pinecrest-people-mover.
“Village of Pinecrest.” History | Village of Pinecrest, http://www.pinecrest-fl.gov/our-village/history.
“Village of Pinecrest.” Department of Parks & Recreation | Village of Pinecrest, http://www.pinecrest-fl.gov/government/parks-recreation.
“Elia Café at Pinecrest.” Pinecrest Community Center | Elia Cafe at Pinecrest, http://www.eliapinecrest.com.
“Pinecrest Bakery.” (2020) Pinecrest Bakery | Bite Into Tradition, https://pinecrestbakery.com/
“Coral Pine Park” Coral Pine Park | Project Coral Pine Park and Tennis Center Project, https://bcceng.com/portfolio-item/coral-pine-park/
“Anacapri Food”. (2020). Welcome to Anacapri Italian Village |Anacapri Food http://anacaprifood.com/.