Andro Bailly: Miami as Text 2021

Photo of Andro Bailly in 2020. Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

Andro Bailly is a Junior at Florida International University majoring in International Business and part of the Honors College. He loves studying finance and actively investing in his future. After Graduating in 2022, Andro will pursue an MBA degree. Some of his favorite activities include cycling, rock climbing, enjoying the ocean, and tasting delicious foods. As Andro embarks on his journey through the Finding Miami class, he hopes to broaden his understanding of the land he was born and raised on.

Downtown Miami as Text

The Miami River. Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“The Power of Time” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Miami River

Modern Miami is a diverse and rapidly changing city. A bustling epicenter has attracted millions of people to visit this concrete jungle. Its population and attractiveness have grown drastically in the past serval decades. When people visit Downtown Miami they expect to see the expensive cars, dazzling boats, and the pristine beach ambiance. People who have lived in Miami are all too familiar with its bad drivers, wealth disparity, and its mouth-watering food options. One thing that is similar when comparing the majority of these two groups is that they probably don’t know about the Tequestas. As they enjoy the luxuries of the modern world, they take the same steps as the people who once inhabited these lands.

If you follow the coast of the Miami River in the picture above, you will end up at the original location of the Tequesta civilization. The Tequestas is the Native American Tribe that lived in Miami before the Europeans began migrating to the Americas. This location was stable when compared to surrounding areas because of the porous environment of South Florida. Hundreds of years ago the Taquestas enjoyed access to the ocean, which increases their ability to collect a diversity of resources. Their population eventually disappeared because of the weakness of their immune system to European sicknesses and discriminations from European settlers. Humanity has rapidly changed, leaving the story of the Taquestas to be carried on through time. This class has successfully passed on the story of the Taquestas to a new generation of scholars.

Everglades as Text

Photo by J.W. Bailly, CC by 4.0

“Silence” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Everglades

Miami is one of many epicenters in the United States. Tall buildings and bustling streets define downtown. Whether you are an inhabitant or simply visiting Miami, you are engulfed into the hectic environment. Large businesses are in the process of migrating to Miami because of its attractive tax laws. The liveliness of Miami will continue to grow at a steady pace. Along with it will come an increase in people, traffic, construction, and noise pollution. The city never sleeps. The noise levels always reflect that of a living ecosystem of working humans.

Approximately 50 miles southwest of the center of Miami you will find the true heart of Miami. The entrance into the Everglades. An epic and vast ecosystem that harbors a large biodiversity of wildlife. The Everglades is a one of kind and rich with history. Yet there are tourists and inhabitants of Miami who have never stepped foot into this glorious landscape. Our FIU class was fortunate enough to be able to go slogging through a special part of the Everglades. At one point, the class gathered, and the Park Ranger instructed us to have a moment of silence. This moment of silence is a luxury that not many people can enjoy, especially when you are in downtown Miami.

This silence is filled with life. You can hear the wind, birds, and the trees bumping into each other. It creates a calming sensation when you solely focus on this silence. As humanity continues to rapidly expand and evolve, experiences such as this Everglades adventure become more valuable. Preservation of these magical areas is a priority that has often been overlooked. Once class concluded, there was a post-class discussion led by a historian named Cesar. Cesar demonstrated how the integrity of the Everglades has been in jeopardy multiple times and till this day is fighting against the side effects of an ever-growing society. It is important to appreciate this silence while you still can, our class has allowed people to enjoy this experience.

South Beach as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Preservation and Progression” by Andro Bailly of FIU at South Beach

Humans have been living on Miami Beach for thousands of years. Fast forwarding to the 20th century, Miami Beach was a small town inhabited by both blacks and whites. It was until Carl Fisher discovered it in 1910 that Miami Beach would change at a rapid pace. Carl Fisher was a visionary who saw Miami Beach as a pristine opportunity. He began purchasing land and developing the land to make it suitable for a large influx of wealthy white people. The connection of the railroad to Miami Beach would mark a turning point for the prevalence of segregation based off skin color in Miami Beach. Blacks helped build Fisher’s dream and when he didn’t need their help, he turned his back on them.

In response to the Blacks no longer being allowed access to Miami Beach they began going to an Island directly south of Miami Beach. Which they were also eventually kicked out of. This is now ironically called Fisher Island and the inhabitants are among the wealthiest in the world. Racism and segregation are present in the roots of Miami beach history. Earthly devastation of mangroves and an array of species was another factor in Fishers equation for a paradise. To prepare the land for mass construction, destruction of natural wildlife was needed. The beauty of Miami Beach is built on destruction, segregation, and greed.

Although Miami Beaches growth from Fisher may have a lot of negative aspects, it has given birth to beautiful architecture. In the present day, you will find 3 prominent architectural styles along Miami Beaches Ocean Drive. Mediterranean revival is a style of building that relates to the Earth. You can expect tiled roofs and earth type colors. Art Deco style is the most famous style and most common when strolling down Ocean Drive. Art Deco buildings appear as if they were a boat or spaceship that landed on a street. Dominated by pastel colors and building eyebrows that are present in the picture above. The third style that stands out the most would be Memo. A style of tall modern buildings with large amounts of glass and features adopted from Art Deco buildings.

It is important for our generation to understand and learn from how the Miami Beach as we know today was created. It is even more important if the history is filled with injustices, so that we can help prevent similar events from occurring.

Deering Estate as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Diversified Luxury” by Andro Bailly of FIU at Deering Estate

The Deering Estate is a valuable historical site in the Miami area. The Deering Estate was one of the homes of Charles Deering. Charles was a well-off individual that had strong interests in art and nature. His financial position allowed him to indulge in endeavors such as the creation of this estate and the art which it held. There is Miami and European influence present in the architectural style. There is a ceiling mosaic created entirely by local marine objects. The marine objects included sea sponges, sand dollars, and an assortment of all different types of shells.

In the past, the Estate was filled with famous artwork the Charles had decided to transport directly from Europe. This action created friction because the people from Europe felt that he was taking part of their history away from them. Eventually the government decided that these art works would need to be returned to their original location. Now the rooms in the stone household are filled with modern art, old books, and some awfully small sized beds. The wooden cottage is filled entirely with props and technically the entire building is a replica because of hurricane Andrew.

A personal favorite location on the estate would be the hidden alcohol cellar located beneath the stone household. As Charles aged, he was known as an alcoholic that may have been losing his grip. During this time in the US there was prohibition. Charles securely held his prized alcohol in a underground vault that seems it was built to store gold. The hidden door was more than 1 foot thick!

The location of the Deering Estate is also significant because the Tequestas resided there. On the sprawling 444 acres, there are diverse biomes that hold hidden treasures from the past. In our class we took the time to find some of these treasures and connect with the history. The main prize was an untouched Tequesta burial mound. We also trekked through the mangroves to visit an abandoned airplane that crashed in the mangroves. The class also enjoyed a hike through the pine rocklands. Finally, we interacted with real tools that the Tequestas themselves used to perform daily tasks.

A day at the Deering Estate demonstrated how a location that is not widely known can be a so intertwined with not only the history of Miami but with countries across the Atlantic as well.

Vizcaya as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“True Miami” by Andro Bailly of FIU at Vizcaya

The Villa Vizcaya is a 50-acre mansion property that has a mix and mash of different cultures and historical influences. Vizcaya was one of the homes of James Deering. James Deering was the half-brother Charles Deering. When comparing the Deering Estate and Vizcaya, it is obvious that James was far more flamboyant. If James Deering took interest in arcs meant for military victories, stained glass, or special marble, he would purchase it. James Deering doesn’t care if it wasn’t part of his culture or if people think his purchases are not being used appropriately. This type of mentality is present in Miami residents to this day and embodies what attracts tourists to Miami.

As a real Miamian I know that residents of Miami love to buy the newest products and flash it to as many people as possible. It doesn’t matter which country the product is from or how the product was created. Much like James Deering, the modern-day people of Miami concern themselves with a materialist façade. This façade in most cases hides an individual who isn’t educated on the history of their material objects. James Deering also purchased the newest technology. He had a room solely dedicated to making phone calls. Just like James, people in Miami always need the newest iPhone and the newest cars or they won’t fit in.

While walking through his villa you can observe that all his rooms have different themes. Ranging from mute and calm rooms into architecturally rich French style rooms. With floral walls and rich chandeliers to organs being covered up by paintings that split in half. This diversity demonstrates James willingness to purchase whatever he wants because he likes it. The rest of the property is filled with Italian renaissance styled gardens and calm fountains of Islamic origin.

Surrounding the outskirts of the well-tended gardens are the mangroves. Mangroves are the roots which hold Miami together. This luxurious property has all the elements of Miami and James Deering has the mentality of the Miami rat. For students who are new to Miami, this visit to Vizcaya gave unique insight into further understanding the Miami culture. For students who are well versed with the Miami life, they may take pride in the beautiful origination of their culture.

Marguiles as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Diversity and Purpose” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Marguiles Collection

The Marguiles Collection is a 45,000 square foot warehouse in Wynwood that holds a large variety of artworks. Unlike an art gallery, a collection is composed of works that are not for sale and in most cases is an owner courteously showing his collected works to the public. In this instance the Marguiles collection is owned by Martin Z. Marguiles, a top tier collector known globally. He made his wealth by developing real estate in the Miami area. Once you reach a certain upper level of wealth then the question of “What do I spend all this money on?” arises. Marguiles decided art was the perfect answer.

Our Finding Miami class was fortunate enough to have a personal tour of the Marguiles collection from Mr. Marguiles himself! He was able to give us an in-depth review of nearly every artwork in his collection in and provide insight on how he ended up with it. He was passionate and welcoming especially because we are students, which is why students are granted free admission. The fact that Marguiles took time out of his day to give a tour to college students demonstrates his care for the youth. Regardless of your major, appreciating art is an act that does not discriminate and the Marguiles collection is the perfect place to start. There are also complimentary drinks located in the back of the collection, another plus furthering Marguiles generosity towards art appreciators.

Once a year Marguiles decides to swap out the art works in the current collection for ones that are hiding in storage. Marguiles has collected over 4,000 works and personally decides which works will displayed in the next season. This upcoming winter there will be an entirely new array of works in the warehouse minus a few that Marguiles designates as permanents. Marguiles contributes to society with more than just his expansive and world class art collection. There have been some instances where he has sold art works and utilized the funds to support his Lotus House. The Lotus House is a homeless shelter designated for women and children.

The Marguiles collection has a deeper connection with my Finding Miami class because of the generosity demonstrated my Martin Z. Marguiles. With an impending circulation of art works displayed in the Marguiles collection there is a large incentive to visit this upcoming winter. Hopefully more people walking down the streets of Wynwood or driving on the expressway find their way to the Marguiles collection.

Author: androbb7

A human doing human things

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