Daniela Canizares: Cutler Bay 2021

Daniela Canizares at History Miami Museum, September 2021, taken by Paola Castro (CC by 4.0)

student bio

Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is passionate about the influence Spain has on American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling.

Geography

Cutler Bay city limits. Screenshot from Google Maps

According to the U.S Census Bureau, the city of Cutler Bay has its base on a total area of 12.69 square kilometers (12.43 square kilometers of land and .26 square kilometers of water). It stretches from South Miami through Homestead It has an altitude of 23 ft. Because of being a relatively flat city, it is prone to flooding. Its climate is often described as a tropical savanna climate.

The Church of Miami next to Old Cutler Road sign. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
Franjo Road in Cutler Bay. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

history

Just like throughout Miami, Cutler Bay’s first settlements were the Tequesta. They had settlements all over the Southernmost part of Florida, and Cutler Bay was not the exemption to the rule. This was their land years before Europeans arrived on the continent, and it was until that point that there was settle here, dying of the European diseases and other external factors. After their extinction, the Seminoles went and settle down Florida, primarily Miami and Key West.

In 1838, Dr. Henry Perrine was granted 36 square miles of land with hopes people will settle down and improve the land. This began to attract people down south and small communities were starting to form.

Following Dr. Perrine’s idea, Dr. William Cutler was able to purchase some land with an idea to bring down settlers, but not enough settlers were able to stay, but the ones that did, established a town naming it Cutler in honor of Dr. Cutler. The settlers in Cutler established the first post office in South Miami and created a trail of what is known today as Old Cutler Road.

Despite the challenges of hurricane Andrew in August 1992, the rainfall from Hurricane Katrina resulted in flooding in August 2005, its development led to the Town’s incorporation in 2006.

Interview with Deniska Rodriguez, a current resident:

Daniela: Hello Deniska, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.

Deniska: Of course, the pleasure is mine.

Daniela: How long have you been living in the Cutler Bay area?

Deniska: I have been living here for about 9 years now since I came from Cuba

Daniela: Oh wow, that is a long time. Do you like living here?

Deniska: Oh, I love it.

Daniela: What is your favorite spot here, a place you would recommend to someone out of the area?

Deniska: Lakes by the Bay Park.

Daniela: I see you like Cutler Bay, however, what would be one thing you would change about it?

Deniksa: What I would change is the transportation. I wish they had electronic scooters as Brickell does.

Daniela: Thank you for taking the time today Deniska, have a great day.

Deniska: You are welcome Daniela. Bye-bye

Demographics

According to the U.S Census Bureau, Cutler Bay’s current population is 45,425 people, with a median age of 37.7. The largest ethnic groups are Hispanics (making up to 55.7% of the population), White-non Hispanics (24.6% of the population, and black or African American (9.75% of the population).

Out of all its population, about 18,000 people (40.8%) were foreign-born population as of 2019, ranking higher than the national average. Their most common origin is Cuba, Haiti, and Colombia.

The median household income for the city of Cutler Bay as of 2019 was $75,101, having a 3.98% growth. However, there is still a 9.33% poverty rate, where females over the age of 75 years old make up for the largest demographic group living in poverty, followed by males between the ages of 55 and 64 years old and then females between the ages of 65 and 74 years old. Ethnically, the largest group living in poverty is white, followed by Hispanics and African Americans.

Landmarks

Southland Mall (20505 South Dixie Highway, Cutler Bay, Florida, 33189)

Southland Mall. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall, is a mall that opened in 1978 as an extension of Cutler Ridge Shopping Center, but right after its opening the entire shopping center was named Cutler Ridge Mall. The mall has two anchor stores (JCPenney and Macy’s) and also has a movie theater, and additional worldwide recognized stores such as DSW Shoe Warehouse, Victoria’s Secret, and Old Navy. It also offers a variety of food services from fast food such as Subway, to restaurants like Olive Garden. It also features a full-sized Italian carousel by the movie theater. It opens Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM and Sundays from 12 PM to 6 PM.

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center opened on October 1st, 2011, and ever since it has played a key role in the development of the Cutler Bay area. It emphasizes educational activities partnering with community groups. It is managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. The Center is home to works of art created by Miami’s artist Robert Chambers. The Center offers community accessibility and it has been the home of Cutler Bay Senior High School graduation for the past years.

Cutler Ridge Park (10100 SW 200 st, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)

Cutler Ridge Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Cutler Ridge Park is right next to Cutler Ridge Elementary School. This park has a 25-meter swimming pool, which makes it home for the Riptides Swim and Water Polo teams, lighted athletic fields, which makes it home for the Albion SC Miami. a covered playground, a picnic pavilion and has parking for up to 70 vehicles. Reservations for its facilities can be done online on the town of Cutler Bay website. The Pool is open for the public from 12 PM through 3 Pm from Monday through Friday. There is a daily admission price to the park:

  • adults (17 years old to 55 years old): $2
  • children (17 years old and younger): $1.50
  • senior citizen (55 years old and older): Free
  • 10-visit Monthly Pass: $10

The park is open Monday through Sunday from Sunrise to Sunset.

Green

  • Franjo Park (20175 Franjo Road, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
Franjo Road Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Having its most recent reopening in the Summer of 2021, Franko Park had been closed since September 2017 due to Hurricane Irma’s damages. During this time, the park went through a major improvement project. It is the house of Perrine Baseball and Softball Association, as it has three lighted baseball fields. It opens every day from Sunrise to Sunset.

Franjo Road Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
  • Lakes by the Bay Park (8551 SW 216 St, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189
Lakes by the Bay Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

One of the largest parks at Cutler Bay, Lakes by the Bay Park, and its 45 acre consists of three lighted baseball fields, two lighted soccer fields, and a .6 mile exercise path. It has parking space for up to 100 vehicles. It also has a Canoe/Kayak launch located north of the parking lot. It opens every day from Sunrise to Sunset.

Lakes By the Bay Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
  • Whispering Pines Park (8800 Ridgeland Drive, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
Whispering Pines Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Located in the heart of the Whispering Pines Community, this 1.3-acre park finds its borders next to the Ned Glenn Nature Preserve and the Whispering Pines Elementary School. This park is known for being well shaded and having covered pavilions. Every 4th of July since 1960, this park has been the gathering point for the Whispering Pines community.

  • Bel-Aire Park (18500 SW 97 Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
  • Blue Heron Park (21900 SW 97 Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Cutler Ridge Park and Pool (10100 SW 200 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Lincoln City Park (21200 SW 99th ct, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189) – Town’s smallest park
  • Saga Bay Park (8000 SW 205 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Saga Lake Park (SW 198th St & 83rd Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)

Transportation

The city of Cutler Bay has two local transportation services at no cost:

  • Go connect

Available Monday through Friday from 5:30 AM to 8 PM (except for holidays), this on-demand public transit service can be booked through a mobile app and it transports people to and from the South Dade Transitway and everywhere in the Cutler Bay boundaries at no cost. It offers its services in English and Spanish.

  • Town Circulator Bus
Town Circulator Bus. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Available Monday through Saturday from 8:40 AM to 4:40 PM and on Sundays from 10:40 AM to 3:40 PM. As of September 1st, 2021 the town circulator bus is free to everybody. The bus stops at every existing bus stop and shelter around its route. The bus real-time can be seen on the Miami Dade Transit website

Food

  • Black Point Ocean Grill (24775 SW 87th Ave, Cutler Bay, FL, 33032)
Black Point Ocean Grill. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Established in 2005, Black Point Ocean Grill is a waterfront American-style restaurant. Ever since its opening, it has been a regular spot for fishermen due to its closeness to the Marina and local tourists due to its authentic quality, offering from refreshing beverages to fresh seafood. What makes this place special from the others in the area is that they grill and cook in a charcoal-fired hearth, which adds smoky flavor to every meal. This restaurant is also open for private events and its staff is willing to accommodate any specific request. It opens Sunday through Thursday, from 11 AM to 10 PM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 1 AM

  • Cubavana Cafe Restaurant (20445 Old Cutler Rd, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)
Cubavana Cafe. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A family-owned cafe restaurant, Cubavana offers an authentic Cuban-style menu that is approachable to every single member of the family. Due to the many Cubans or Cuban descendants living in the area, this place is one of the most visited during the family days. It also offers catering services for the holiday season or any specific occasion. It opens Monday through Sunday from 7 AM to 10 PM for dine-in and takes you, and from Monday to Sunday from 11 AM to 9:30 PM for Delivery Services.

  • Xochimex Cantina Grill (20525 Old Cutler Rd, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)
Xochimex Cantina Grill. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A tex-mex restaurant, Xochimex Cantina Grill’s mission is to satisfy every family member. Blending traditional and contemporary style, it offers an affordable and diverse menu. Something interesting with this restaurant is that they are looking for franchise owners and they have the application for it with the detailed spends on their website. It opens Monday through Sunday from 10:30 AM to 11 PM

businesses

  1. MEZZA LATIN HOUSE (19790 South Dixie Highway, Cutler Bay, Fl. 33157)
Mezza Latin House. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A Latin-style restaurant. It has been passed down through generations and it has finally opened its door in the Cutler Bay area. Their staff makes you feel like if you were part of their own family. It opens from Monday to Saturday, from 7 in the morning to 8 at night, and Sundays from 8:30 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. In my personal opinion, the place closes early considering the businesses hours around the area, but overall a great place.

2. SLUSH FACTORY (19367 South Dixie Hwy, Cutler Bay, FL. 33157)

This place is one of the most unique places around the Cutler Bay area. It has unique drinks that you can customize so that no drink is ever going to be the same. You can add anything from airheads to gummy worms, all depends on the customer’s preference. It opens from Sunday to Thursday from 12 pm to 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 9 pm.

3. ANGELIC’S LADIES (10505 South Dixie Hwy, Cutler Bay, FL. 33189)

Angelic’s Ladies. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

This boutique-style store opened in summer 2021. It is located in Southland Mall however its atmosphere does not feel like if you were in the mall. From the moment you walk in you feel welcomed by the ladies working there and they do not judge based on size or appearances. It opens from Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 7 PM.

Summary

Within all the neighborhoods in Miami Dade County, Cutler Bay could be considered one of the most familiar ones. From its history to its present days. The people around are very nice and you would find them at most shopping centers with other family members. It is a very Hispanic community, where most of its population speaks Spanish. Most of its establishments close early, which could be one of the reasons why they do not have nightlife around the area.

References

“Black Point Ocean Grill Waterfront Seafood Restaurant.” Black Point Ocean Grill | Miami Waterfront Dining Seafood Restaurant, 1 Mar. 2021, https://blackpointoceangrill.com/black-point-ocean-grill-2/.

“Cutler Bay, FL.” Data USA, https://datausa.io/profile/geo/cutler-bay-fl/.

“Cutler Ridge Park and Pool.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/parksrec/page/cutler-ridge-park-and-pool.

“Home.” Mezza Latin House, https://www.mezzalatinhouse.com/.

“Hours + Location: Cubavana Cafe: Cuban Cafe Restaurant in Beautiful Cutler Bay, FL.” Cubavana Cafe | Cuban Cafe Restaurant in Beautiful Cutler Bay, FL., https://www.cubavanacafe.com/location/cubavana-cafe/.

Ltd., TheGridNet. About Cutler Bay, https://cutlerbaygrid.com/en/info.

“Safety.” Southland Mall, https://www.mysouthlandmall.com/about-us/.

“Settlement in Southern Miami-Dade.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/community/page/settlement-southern-miami-dade.

“South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.” SMDCAC, https://smdcac.org/content/facility-design.

“Town Transportation.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/publicworks/page/town-transportation.

“Whispering Pines Park.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/parksrec/page/whispering-pines-park.

Xochimex Cantina Grill, https://xochimexcantinagrill.com/.

Author: Daniela Canizares: Miami as Text

Daniela Canizares was born and raised in Cuba and moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. She is currently working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Florida International University, planning on graduating in May 2023.

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