MIM Ineffable Miami Fall 2020: Wynwood by Aimee Zuniga

                                              

Aimee Zuniga taking a mirror selfie. Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga

                    Student Bio

 My name is Aimee Zuniga , I am a junior hoping to graduate by fall 2021. I am an organizational communications student. I will be continuing my education and getting a masters in International Business after I graduate.  I was born and raised in Miami , so picking between all the different neighborhoods was difficult. Before the pandemic, I was going to shows every week capturing and fully immersing myself in the local music scene of Miami. Most of these shows took place in Wynwood or near Wynwood . So I wanted to do this project on a part of Miami that I trully miss spending my time at. 

Geography

Wynwood is a pretty urban place that has ranked as one of the most famous art districts across the globe. However, besides the artistic side of it, little do most people know that there are many residents living within the Wynwood district. The residential area and art district are divided with most of the business and art on the south side of NW 29th St. Once crossed, it becomes more of a residential area. One of the biggest differences with the residents is the huge wealth disparity between the low-income housing and the luxury apartment buildings that lie within the bakeries, shops, and graffiti covered walls. Much of the houses within the district look old, dirty, and simply run-down. Alongside the streets which now consist of over-priced shops and food are some of these low-income houses which unfortunately seem to be occupied by a rather large African American presence. One thing that is very noticeable is that a lot of the long-time residents are being pushed out of the now thriving neighborhood in order to make room for the apartment complexes that can only be afforded by wealthier individuals. 
            As for the art district side of Wynwood, almost every single wall of every building is covered by a mural. It is the most colorful side of Miami and offers lots of things to do to spend an afternoon. Some things include graffiti museums and various eateries. From the Tacos at Coyo’s Tacos, to the donuts from The Salty Donut, there’s lots of food options for everyone. Wynwood is also very famous for the various music venues that are scattered through the district.

Gentrification in Wynwood. Photo by Aimee Zuniga
Gentrification in Wynwood. Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga

HISTORY

What is now an urban industrialized area full of warehouses on every corner, was originally bought as farmland in the early days of Miami. In the 1920s, the Miami business industry experienced a boom in the economy and the city began to see a transformation from rural to a more populated and industrialized area. One man who was in part responsible for this transformation and founding of Wynwood was Hugh Anderson. During the 1920’s large corporations like Coca Cola built a plant in Wynwood which attracted new residents from the working class. However, after WWII much of the population began to leave the area of Wynwood and that was when a large population of Puerto Rican immigrants arrived in the area. Much of the buildings and parks were renamed to fit Puerto Rican figures. Unfortunately, it did not stop there and around the 1970’s, Wynwood was home to mostly Hispanics and Blacks pertaining to the lower middle class. It wasn’t until a man by the name of Tony Goldman arrived to the local scene that the once industrial area was turned in to one of the biggest art districts. Goldman was largely responsible for bringing the district to life with art on every wall and small shops and boutiques. In 2009, he commissioned artists from around the world and created what is now known as the Wynwood Walls. Since its inception, the Wynwood Walls has become a staple in things to do when visiting the downtown area.

DEMOGRAPHICS

            The total population of Wynwood is approximately 7,353 people according to point2homes.com. There are an estimated 2,298 households within the district with a lot of those houses being outdated. According to point2homes.com, only 143 new households were constructed from 2010 to present day. The graph presented on the websites shows that the largest construction period of households took place between 1950 to 1959, making a total of 540 houses. For most of its existence, Wynwood has been occupied by people of Hispanic or African American descent. After WWII, it was mainly occupied by Puerto Ricans which is the reason why many buildings are named after famous Puerto Ricans such as the middle school named after Jose de Diego, which is considered “The Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement”. According to Niche.com, there is currently a larger population of Hispanics, with an estimated of 62% of the population, compared to Blacks with an estimated population of 21% and whites at 14%. The majority of Wynwood’s residents are within the ages of 25-34 years with an estimated 19% followed by 35-44 year-olds at 17%. The smallest group of individuals by age bracket is 65+ year olds with a total of 6% of the population. As stated before, the residential area of Wynwood, and even its artistic area is pretty polluted and occupied by low income housing and less fortunate individuals. The median household income for residents of Wynwood is $37,175, which is drastically lower than the national income at $55,322.

LANDMARKS

Wynwood walls entrance. Photo: courtesy of Goldman Properties

             The Wynwood Walls

The most popular landmark in all of the district is definitely the Wynwood Walls. These walls were created in 2009 and were a result of the boom that was experienced in the 1980s. One of the reasons why it is so popular is because 12 out of its 40 murals change once a year, making a new experience every time; also make for great Instagram pictures!

Musuem of Graffiti

Museum of Graffiti. Photo by Douglas Markowitz.

There are numerous museums laid out across Wynwood but one of the most interesting ones is the Museum of Graffiti. This museum is the world’s first museum that is purely about the evolution of graffiti. It contains exhibits showcasing street art from artists from all over the world. It’s pretty cool that there is a museum full of street art in a district full of street art.

Lock and Load Miami

Lock and Load Miami. Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga

The Lock and load museum is free of charge. This museum showcases firearms of the past, and present and the future. They showcase firearms from the Civil war , both world wars and the Vietnam war. Lock and Load Miami educates visitors about the history and safety of firearms.

GREEN

           Wynwood is an urban landscape with not much nature around. In the art district the closest thing to green would be the Wynwood Walls which has a little patio looking area. When you move farther north you will eventually reach the residential side and there you can find one of the two parks in Wynwood called Robert E Lee Park. In reality, it is more of a block or two of grass that seems to be connected to a school. Even farther north you can find a park named Roberto Clemente Park.

Wynwood Walls

Wynwood Walls Park. Photo by Phillip Pessar.

Although already spoken about in the landmarks section , the Wynwood walls is an outdoor park with murals ,grass and trees. There aren’t much green spaces in Wynwood but I consider this to be a green space.

Robert E Lee park.

Robert E Lee Park. Photo by Tim Elfrink.

Robert E. Lee park is a small park with a ball field. It is located next to Jose de Diego Middle school. The park is named after a civil war confederate states general.

Roberto Clemente Park

Roberto Clemente Park. Photo taken by Kevin Torres.

Roberto Clemente park is a community park in Wynwood. It contains a baseball field , playground and basketball courts. This park was named after a Puerto Rican baseball player.

TRANSPORTATION

            One of the most prominent forms of transportation is the Miami Trolley which is a free trolley that circulates around the Allapattah, Edgewater, Wynwood, and Town Square. The Miami Trolley circulates around most of the downtown area of Miami but there are different color-coded routes that it goes through. One of those routes being the cities listed above. Around the art and design district however, most people just walk around because it’s very scenic to see all the different paintings and murals. A lot of people avoid driving into Wynwood and instead take Ubers because one thing about the area is that it is hard to find parking. That is why there is a new parking garage that was built to accommodate for the increase in visitors to the area. A new method of transportation that has been increasingly seen in most areas including Wynwood, are the rental scooters such as Bird and Wheels. Not only is it safer for the environment but it is fun too.

Miami Trolley Stop in Wynwood. Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga

FOOD

Coyo Taco

Coyo Taco Photo Taken by Aimee Zuniga

One restaurant I was able to visit is called Coyo Taco which is a Mexican restaurant with an upbeat vibe. It is considered one of the best taco places in all of the Wynwood area. One of the best dishes in my opinion are the carne Asada tacos. Something cool about this taco place is that there is a secret bar hidden inside at the back of the restaurant .


The Salty Donut Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga

Another place to get a delicious treat is The Salty Donut which has a coffee bar as well. Their donuts are a bit on the pricier side compared to the average Dunkin Donut but for a good reason. Their donuts are gourmet and have interesting, colorful, and creative flavors. It has a reputation as one of the best donut shops in all of Miami. I recommend the Maple bacon donut.

Kush

Inside Kush in Wynwood. Photo by Gill Bitton.

A really good burger place to visit is called Kush. Located at the edge of Wynwood, this has a variety of food palates such as vegetarian burgers, gourmet burgers, chicken and waffles, and much more. This burger joint also has a bar inside and provides a very low-key, comforting, and welcoming place to eat. I recommend the chicken and waffle sandwich.

BUSINESS

Walt and Grace

Walt and Grace Vintage cars and guitars in Wynwood. Photo by Matt Grondin

Small businesses are very much the big thing in all of Wynwood. It is almost impossible to find large corporate chains and stores in all of the art district as it is mostly maintained and occupied by local business owners. One interesting store to check out is called Walt and Grace Vintage Cars and Guitars. This is not only a store but also has a coffee bar and a museum of vintage European sports cars such as Ferraris, Corvettes, and Porches

Gramps

Gramps Venue in Wynwood. Photo by Maria Xochilt Perez

Gramps is a very popular venue and hosts local bands as well as international ones. It is a music venue, bar, and restaurant. Various indie and punk bands from today have played at Gramps. Artist like Surf Curse , Jacuzzi Boys , Gauage Away and more. Not only is it a venue but also a bar with craft beer and a restaurant that serves some of the best NY style pizza in Miami.

Centro Wynwood

Inside Centro nightclub . Photo by Riste S.

Centro Wynwood is one of the most visited clubs in Miami at the moment. It is a vibrant nightclub that plays various music but it mostly plays Reggaeton music. It is known for being very lively and loud , when walking around Wynwood at night the music can be heard blocks away from the nightclub.

SUMMARY

            All in all, Wynwood is a nice place to visit if you’re feeling a little artsy and want to spend an afternoon. Although most things are pricey, most places are worth it. One of the biggest things that decreases the attractiveness of the city however, is the fact that there are lots of low income housing even within the art district. Walking around the area is nice and relatively safe but there are areas where you turn only to find run-down houses and sketchy people. As controversial as it may sound, gentrification can have some positive effects to a neighborhood. One of the positive effects of this happening in Wynwood is that it would clean up the streets making it more appealing and safe.

A mural in Wynwood . Photo taken by Aimee Zuniga.

Works Cited

https://www.point2homes.com

https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-complete-guide-to-wynwood-miami-4174451

https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/n/wynwood-miami-fl/residents/

https://miami-history.com/history-of-wynwood-miami/

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