Komila Kholmatova was born and raised in “the pearl of Central Asia” Ferghana, Uzbekistan. The city gained the title for its beauty, picturesque view and for being completely surrounded by mountains. Currently, Komila is a junior student at Florida International University, she is a part of Honors College and pursuing her degree in International Business with a focus on a certificate in Social Media and E-Marketing Analytics. As an international student, Komila is very excited to be a part of this course and have an opportunity to learn more about the history and the culture of beautiful Miami. After finishing her degree at FIU, Komila hopes to start up her own business. Apart from school, she likes cooking, travelling, reading and painting.
For her Ineffable Miami project, she chose to explore Wynwood. To learn more about the city read below.
Wynwood, also known as one of the world’s largest open-air museums, is a neighborhood located in in the city of Miami, Florida. The neighborhood is surrounded by Overtown to the south, Midtown and Edgewater to the east, Allapatah to the west and Miami Design District to the north. Today, approximately 50 city blocks are the one that lure folks with its enormous galleries, vivid murals painted by prominent artists of the world, and colorful museums and restaurants. Located close to the Interstate 95 and central city area, the concrete jungles of Wynwood is limited to parks and green zones. (“Wynwood”).
Wynwood is almost a 100-year old neighborhood that is rich in history that dates back to early 1900s. However, very few people today are aware of it. On January 7th, 1917 a couple of Miamians Hugh Anderson and Josiah Chaille purchased the land that was farmland and included a part of Pulaski Estate. If not for the annexation held in 1913 by the city of Miami, the neighborhood might have been included in North Miami. Originally two partners named this neighborhood as Wynwood, however after a couple of months the letter “d” was dropped from the name. Later, the area became called Wynwood Park, and then went back to Wynwood and remained the same since then. The original boundaries of the neighborhood were determined by NW 7th Avenue to the West, the FEC Railroad Track tracks to the east, NW 36th Street to the north and NW 20th Street to the south.
Apart from being a part of the founding of Wynwood, J. Chaille and H. Anderson were both involved in the development of Miami itself. Josiah Chaille made a great contribution to the Miami City Council. A numbering system in a plan and a new street name provided by Chaille were enacted by the city council in 1920. The “Chaille plan” included the numbers and modern streets names that exist till today in downtown Miami and closely areas, and was adopted in 1920. Hugh Anderson took part in developing Venetian Islands and Miami Shores. Also, he was one of the founder builders of Biscayne Boulevard.
Working class and The Fashion District
Wynwood served as a working class neighborhood and most of the families who resided in the area were middle class in the early 1920th, and as time passed commercial residents started to become attracted to Wynwood as well. In the late 1920th Wynwood witnessed the boom of the garment industry and its southern portion became the Garment District. As Cubans started to migrate to Miami, they were the one who provided the workload for this growing fashion district, which consisted of manufacturers and retailers of clothes. According to Miami News on October 27th in 1980, the fashion district consisted of 225 businesses that made around $64 million in sales for retailers and $125 million in revenue for manufacturers. As the Garment District grew in popularity in the 1980s the manufacturers started to make a place for retailers and move out of Wynwood. In 20 years, many of the businesses were sold to South Koreans. (Piket, 2014).
Little San Juan
In the middle of 1950s Wynwood became known as “Little San Juan”. Due to the reason that commercialization and urban flight has impacted the neighborhood local residents including old timers and youngsters started to move away and instead of them other immigrants began to fill the neighborhood. Most of the immigrants were Puerto Ricans and they represented the initial great influx of Miami and thus the area was referred as Little San Juan. The influence of the influx of Hispanics, specifically the Puerto Ricans affected the names of the many places in the neighborhood. The name of the Wynwood Park was altered to Roberto Clemente Park in 1974 after the Puerto Rican baseball player’s death in 1972. Built in 1924 Robert E Lee Middle School was closed in 1898, due to the old condition of the building, and it made a place for a new school that was named Jose De Diego Middle School and opened to the public in 1999. The name changing did not leave untouched public service centers such as Eugenio Maria de Hostos, which was named after a Puerto Rican writer and patriot, and Borinquen Health Care Center that was named after the ancient Puerto Rican island. Regrettably, over the years what left from Little San Juan would become subject to gentrification.
Fall of the Wynwood and the rise
Gradually, the neighborhood became more diverse and included not only Puerto Ricans but also Colombians, Haitians, Cubans, Blacks and Dominicans. In the late 1970s, the Wynwood neighborhood was regarded as lower middle class and considered a “springboard community” due to the influx of new immigrants. Drug traffic was ominous and unemployment was 55%. The aim of the common laborers was to improve their financial status so that they could leave Wynwood as soon as possible. Dottie Quintana served as an unofficial Mayor of Wynwood for more than 10 years. She did make an enormous impact on the community of the neighborhood together with her husband by gathering food for Haitian Immigrants in the 1970s and by helping Cuban refugees in the 1980s. There are stories of how she would drive the Wynwood in her old Chevy sedan at night and would make notes of the drug trafficking dealers including other illegal characters and on the next day she would leave them in a discreet way to the police station. Thanks to her great work, efforts and achievements, the community center in Roberto Clemente Park was named in her honor as Dorothy Quintana Community Center.
Over the years in the middle 2000s Wynwood attracted Goldman Properties. Tony Goldman, a man of power and energy behind SoHo revival and South Beach, who unlike others sees a thrive and art in neighborhoods instead of urban decay saw an art scene in Wynwood. (Piket, 2014). In 2006, Goldman along with his son Joey and daughter Jessica started purchasing land with a dream of establishing an open air museum with colorful murals called Wynwood Walls. And in two to three months his dream came true and the gallery was opened in October of 2009. As Goldman vision, Wynwood became a canvas for street artists and had and has been attracting various retailers, restaurants and bars and many more other businesses. Sadly, at the age of 68, Tony Goldman passed away but he left his dream and passion that continues to live through his children, who until nowadays fund Wynwood community and manage Goldman Properties.
According to Areavibes website, Wynwoods population is approximately equal to 17,923. The general population ratio is 1.2:2, respectively Male/Female. The average household income distribution is $40,000 to $60,000, and it makes up 18% of the total. The highest number of population is White (70.50%0), followed by Black (19.11%), Asian (1.28%) and American Indian (0.24%). In terms of age breakdown, over 20% of the population consists of people between 25-34 years. The median age is 35.2 and it is 11 % lower than Miami median age.
Interview with Isabella Bodnar: Resident of Wynwood.
Isabella is 21 years old. Currently, she is a senior studying at Florida International University. Prior to living in Wynwood she lived in Tampa and moved to Miami to attend school.
*Komila: How long have you been living in Wynwood?
Isabella: I moved to Wynwood about a year ago and this year it is going to be my second year living here.
*Komila: Why did you decide to live in Wynwood?
Isabella: I really enjoyed Ybor city (the arts district in Tampa) so I thought I might enjoy living in a similar area. I really love it and its and even bigger and better arts district than the one I have at home.
*Komila: What is your favourite thing about Wynwood?
Isabella: Along with loving the arts, I really do love the variety of food that I have at my disposal. If I don’t feel like eating food down the street from my place, I can always walk one or two more blocks and there’s an entirely different and amazing selection of food available.
*Komila: What is your least favourite thing about Wynwood?
Isabella: Wynwood is a very lively and active part of Miami. There are always events going on and Tourists love to visit. I would say my least favorite part is trying to park and the pollution and noise that goes along with being an attractive part of town.
*Komila: If you could choose one place to visit in Wynwood what would it be?
Isabella: There are so many places to look at art in Wynwood, but like I said, I really love the food. I would definitely recommend visiting “House of Mac”, a mac and cheese joint that was founded by Pitbull’s former manager! The food is delicious and the atmosphere is chill. They usually have a Dj playing music, so you can jam out and enjoy delicious cheesy mac and cheese.
If a tourist would visit Wynwood a must go destination would be Wynwood Walls. Conceived by a pacemaker Tony Goldman, the Wynwood Walls became a major tourist attraction that includes the artwork of the world’s most famous artists in the street art and graffiti genre. Since its establishment, the Wynwood Walls program has served as a hosting place to more than 50 artists depicting 16 different countries. The artwork of Wynwood Walls has covered 80,000 feet of Walls. As the time passes, Wynwood Walls expand its territories and open doors to new world class art and well-known artists. The tickets to this beautiful destination may be purchased at the Guest Welcome center, which is located at 266 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127. The current general admission price is $10. Additionally, they provide various tours, events and memberships.
The Margulies collection at the Warehouse is located at 591 NW 27th St, Miami, Fl, 33127. It is a non-profit organization extended to 50,000 square feet of land. It introduces seasonal exhibitions to the public from the collection of Martin Z. Margulies, who owns the place and has collected more than 5,000 pieces of artwork of a different kind. The main mission of the renowned collector is to encourage the education of art in the community. As Mr. Margulies once mentioned himself in one of Miami in Miami classes that were held at the Margulies Collection, “art is about learning and educating yourself” (Margulies, 2020). The Warehouse is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. The admission is free for Florida students, the general admission for adults is $10, and $5 for out-of-state students.
Bakehouse Art Complex
The Bakehouse Art Complex was founded in 1985 for artists and by artists. The Bakehouse incorporates 100 associate artists and residents coming from a rich cultural diversity of backgrounds. The art complex is one of the oldest foundations of Miami with a big range of studios, galleries, ceramic and wood-working areas, classrooms and printing and photography labs. The Bake house allows artists to learn, share, make, discover their art and work with each other and a wider community. The garden and indoor galleries of the Bakehouse are open to the public each Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 5pm. Admission is free of charge. RVSP is highly recommended, since it would guarantee the admittance.
Roberto Clemente Park
Roberto Clemente Park is the only park in the Wynwood neighborhood. It is located at 101 NW 34th St, Miami, Fl, 33127. Originally named as Wynwood Park, the green space was renamed to Roberto Clemente Park as a sign of dedication in July of 1974. The park was named after the baseball player from Puerto Rico who passed away in a plane crash in December 1972. The park witnessed name change due to the Hispanic influx in the middle 1960s. Today, the park provides various programs to the public that include Basketball and Baseball League, Children and Senior citizens Arts and Craft, after school and seasonal programs. Roberto Clemente Park is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 am to 9 pm and on the weekends from 9 am to 5 pm.
Due to the central location of the neighborhood, transportation is very well-developed and it is convenient and easy to find ways to reach needed destinations. There is the City of Miami Trolley which is free of charge and makes multiple stops around the city, including the most wanted tourist destinations as Wynwood art District and the Wynwood Walls. Metrobus is another type of transportation. The Metrobus routes are 2, 6, 77, and 277 depart from Government Center located in the downtown right to the center of Wynwood’s Art District. In order to catch Metrobus one should take the Metrorail to downtown Miami and then transfer to different bus-rides would be available. The hours of operation of Trolley are: Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm. No service provided on Sundays. To plan the trip and stay on the right track of the ride it is suggested to download the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker app. In addition to the public transportation, ride sharing on the Freebee cars, Bike sharing and Moped sharing are available for the comfort of the community.
Wynwood is one of the districts of Miami that became the richest home to a big variety of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and markets.
1-800-Lucky is my most favourite restaurant in Wynwood. Restaurant serves a wide diversity of Asian cuisine, from Japanese to Thai, from fish ice-cream to dim sums with shrimps and poke. Guests can take a virtual tour of the inside of the restaurants and get access to an online menu. The restaurant has an amazing atmosphere with live music, karaoke and of course eclectic and delicious offering of cuisines! Reservations are not required. The restaurant is open every day from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am on Monday through Wednesday, and from 12:00 pm to 3:00 am from Thursday to Sunday.
Zak the Baker
Bakery was established in 2012 by the head chef Zak Stern. Zak the Baker is a kosher food restaurant that gained its popularity for its sourdough bread. It is one of my favorite bakeries in Miami. If you are nearby, you simply cannot help but go to the bakery because of the delicious smell of freshly baked bread. They also serve various bakery and food. It is a great place to have a breakfast with a cup of coffee and freshly baked bread with butter. The main chef Zak Stern was named Best Baker by the Miami New Times and received several awards for distinguished service and quality.
Giache crepes of Art
Founded by Valeria Giache the Giache crepes of Art restaurant was created through a family tradition passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. Valeria mesmerized her entire childhood with her grandmother’s crepes, the recipe of which was passed from generation to generation. She wanted to share the flavor with the rest of the world and she did by opening this beautiful restaurant with wonderful delicious pancakes, the taste of which cannot be compared with more than half of the pancakes located in the restaurants of entire Miami. The restaurant serves freshly made crepes and rolls of a different kind. They also provide gluten free and vegan options.
Wynwood is one the most dynamic and colorful neighborhoods in Miami. Even though I have visited Wynwood several times, I was not able to truly appreciate its beauty and learn about its rich history behind the colorful and bright walls. It is not just a neighborhood, it is an open air museum and a district the walls of which are the canvases to the most eminent artists of the world. Like many other neighborhoods have their drawbacks, Wynwood also has one and it is a limited number of green spaces. The only green space in the area available to the public since 1917 is Roberto Clemento Park. Hopefully, the concrete jungles of Wynwood would execute new green plans for the district. The pricing for most of the restaurants, museums and galleries is frank and affordable.
Wynwood plays an integral role in the identity of Miami and serves as an outstanding example among all with its rich history and cultural melting pot. Every culture who lived through the history of Wynwood has left a mark that will always remain with us and continue to embrace the identity of Miami.
“A Brief History Of Wynwood”. Wynwood Art Walk Official, 2013, https://wynwoodartwalk.com/brief-history-of-wynwood/.
“Directions & Lodging | Wynwood Business Improvement District — Miami, Florida”. Wynwood Business Improvement District — Miami, Florida, 2021, https://wynwoodmiami.com/experience/directions-lodging/.
“Home – Margulies Collection”. Margulieswarehouse.Com, 2021, https://www.margulieswarehouse.com/.
Piket, Casey. “History Of Wynwood Miami – Miami History Blog”. Miami History Blog, 2014, https://miami-history.com/history-of-wynwood-miami/.
Shulman, Sara. “The Complete Guide To Wynwood, Miami”. Tripsavvy, 2019, https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-complete-guide-to-wynwood-miami-4174451.