Joheily Rodriguez: Naranja 2021

STUDENT BIO

Photo by Tammy Gomez//CC by 4.0

My name is Joheily Rodriguez, and I am pursuing a B.S. in Biological Sciences at Florida International University through its Honors College. Although my professional goals are to go into the medical field and become a doctor, I love to explore new places, cultures and try new dishes. Living on campus and exploring Miami has been an inspiring experience filled with spontaneity and vibrancy. I choose to focus on the small census-designated place of Naranja, Fl, it’s past, present, and future, in the hopes of making it shine and highlight its authenticity.

GEOGRAPHY

Rest of the photos Taken by Joheily Rodriguez// CC 4.0

Naranja, Florida is a small census-designated area packed with nature and diversity in Homestead, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The community obtained its name from the Spanish word “Orange” because many orange groves were once located. The suburban area coordinates are 25°31′25.6174″N 80°25′W-80.42, and it expands on an area of 1.7 square miles. This small community is 25 miles from the Everglades National Park and 34.0 miles from the city of Miami. Naranja is an up-and-coming community, mainly a residential and rural area where much of the landscape is underdeveloped and filled with empty lots of green. There are different green areas such as the Naranja Park, Naranja lakes park, and Modello Park, catered to parents and their children for leisure. The site has many schools and new buildings up for sale; you may actually come across many religious buildings and small businesses that bring vibrancy and authenticity to Naranja

DEMOGRAPHICS

Photo retrieved from city-data// CC by 4.0

According to the 2019 census, the population in Naranja was 11,816. The ethnic group is made of primarily Hispanic people, which their population accounts for 59.6%. The rest accounts for 30.3% being African American, while White alone, not Hispanic or Latino accounts 4.7% while Asian alone being 2.1%. The neighborhood age range is unevenly distributed. In Naranja; (5.9% )of the population was found to be over the age of sixty-five, (47% )of the population falls between the ages eighteen and sixty-five, while (37%) of the population is between the ages of five and eighteen years of age; lastly, (14.1%) of the population was under the age of five.

Interview with Diana Diaz

Photo of Diana Taken by Joheily Rodriguez//CC by 4.0

*Translated from Spanish to English.” 

Joheily: How long have you lived in Naranja?

Diana: “I have lived in Naranja for about 8 months. I moved here with my family.” 

Joheily: What do you think of the area? 

Diana: “I think the area is very calm and quiet. I like it very much so far.”

Joheily: what is your Favorite thing about Naranja?

Diana: “I like the people, everyone is very kind and friendly, especially to people who just recently moved to the area, they are always lending a helping hand as well, another thing is that it is very calm not a lot happens here.” 

Joheily: what is your least favorite thing about Naranja? 

Diana: “My least favorite thing is that it is away from the city; it feels like we are in our own little world. I feel like other individuals that live here like that it is so away from the noisy city, but personally, I don’t.

LANDMARKS

The Coral Castle Museum and Garden. 

1st and second photo taken by Joheily Rodriguez, 3rd photo courtesy of the Coral museum// CC by 4.0

The Coral Castle Museum and Garden was built by one man, Edward Leedskalnin, from 1931 to 1951. Mr. Leedskalnin made this mysterious master masterpiece through an unknown process and without any help from hand labor. Ed would say that he knew “the secret of how the pyramids were built” unfortunately, his secret died with him. Their doors have been open for over 50 years to show this majestic work of art. This is definitely a landmark that should be in your top five when visiting Miami, Florida. 

Address: 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, Fl 33033 U.S

St. Martin De Porres Catholic church 

Photo Taken by Joheily Rodriguez// CC by 4.0

The Catholic Church was founded on July 1, 1990. Pastor Father Luis Rivera founded it, who led services at St.Ann Mission in Naranja. Initially, the church rented a storefront at a plaza in Naranja. They served the community until Hurricane Andrew destroyed it on August 25, 1992. Now St. Martin Serves the community through their religious practices and the help they extend to the community through programs for young children and hosting food drives. 

Address: 14881 SW 288th St, Homestead, Fl 33033

The Historic Town Hall of Homestead

City Hall
Photo Retrieved from the TownHall Museum website// CC by 4.0

The town of the homestead was incorporated on January 27, 1913. The historic town hall was built after the need of having a town-owned municipal building where people could come together to discuss ideas and build a community. Its construction was final on August 16, 1917. After 60 years of this hall serving the community, it was vacated. The building found use as a senior citizens center and a state of Florida Department of Corrections, Bureau of probation and parole. The building faced demolition, but community members came forward and opposed it; this led to an effort of protection. The opposition quickly raised funds to protect and celebrate the town hall. Thanks to their efforts, we can visit and explore this historical landmark. 

Address: 41 N Krome Ave, Homestead, Fl 33030 U.S

GREEN

Modello Park 

Modello Park is located at 2840 SW 152nd ave, Homestead, FL 33033. Modello Park serves the surrounding suburban area. It is a park with a lot of free space that allows various sports. Its empty lots of green definitely leave everything to the imagination. The park provides out-of-school and Afterschool programs and a summer camp for young children and adolescents. 

Naranja Park 

Naranja Park is located at 14160 SW 254 Street, Naranja, FL 33033. It’s a 10-acre public park known for its fantastic community pool developed in late 2012. The pool was built to allow people of the community to have a place to have fun and relax while encouraging healthy movement. The park also offers swimming lessons and other multipurpose amenities. 

Naranja Lakes Park

Naranja Lakes is located at 14410 SW 272 Street, Homestead, FL. Naranja Lakes Park serves the suburban community. It’s a very spacious park, filled with playgrounds. The park has a pond that allows for residents of Naranja to fish recreationally. Lastly and one of the most important is their memorial of MartinLuther king that, in my eyes, ties and brings purpose to the community. 

TRANSPORTATION

The average car Ownership is 1 car. Naranja’s population is considered a commuter community, with 45% of its workforce traveling out of the community to work. The area of Naranja’s most common commute in 2019 was Driving alone, which accounted for (72%), followed by carpooling (16.3%), lastly, for those that worked at home (6.29%). Naranja has also opened a new segment on the South Miami-Dade Busway Busway to decrease the traffic problems, the extension to the bus-only runs from Southwest 112th to 264th street in Naranja.

FOOD

Sak Pase 

Photo by Joheily Rodriguez// CC by 4.0

Sak Pase is a Haitian Restaurant which goal is to serve authentic and cultural food. It is located at 27156 S Dixie Hwy, Naranja, FL in the Naranja Plaza. When entering the space, it felt very traditional and comfortable. The staff was very kind and welcoming with 4.2 stars on google, and 400 reviews of customers talking about how delicious and cost-effective this restaurant is, definitely a place to visit. 

Shiver’s BBQ 

The Shiver’s BBQ is located at 28001 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL 33033. Shivers is the heart of Naranja; with its bright LED red sign, it is pretty hard to miss. Shiver’s BBQ has been offering its fantastic food since 1950. Shivers specializes in slow-smoked meats, many items as the pulled pork, have been smoking for 12 hours or more. Shiver’s BBQ is definitely a restaurant to stop by for a quick bite, as well as to fully experience an authentic southern BBQ.

Elote Lovers 

The Elote lovers Restaurant is located at 28838 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL 33033. This is a small family own business that actually began as a Miami roasted corn food truck. With hard work and determination for 8 years, they went from having a food truck to having their restaurant in an establishment. Their vision is to ensure a happy and delicious experience. 

BUSINESSES

 La Mexicana Market 

La Mexicana Market is local produce and small grocery store Located at 27861 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL. It is known for its exceptional sweet bread and homemade tortillas. Once you enter the store, you get an immediate comfortable, familiar feeling. This shop offers many everyday items and delicious food at an affordable price while at the same time providing excellent customer service. 

Plat It Again Video Games 

Play it again retro video game is located 27064 S Dixie Hwy. Naranja FL U.S. has been serving its customers since 2009, selling, repairing, buying, and trading retro video games and electronics. They have a vast collection of P.S. games and many retro electronics like the Gamecube or Gameboy. When entering the store, you feel complete nostalgia and find yourself reminiscing about your childhood.  

True Color Tattoo 

Photograph Taken by Joheily Rodriguez// CC by 4.0

True Color Tattoo Located at 27148 S Dixie Hwy is a local tattoo parlor that caters authenticity and edginess to its customers. The Tatto shop is rated with 5. o stars on Yelp. It has six reviews sharing their fantastic experience on service, communication, and how clean the establishment is. If looking for a place to get art done, this place could be for you; many also mentioned that they always return with joy and excitement.

SUMMARY

Photograph Taken by Joheily Rodriguez//CC by 4.0

Naranja is a small neighborhood filled with history, entrepreneurship, and drive. The beautiful rural area is definitely very different from what you are used to, primarily if you are used to the city environment. Even though of all the destruction and hardships Naranja has gone through, it has successfully overcome its adversities. I found the people to be very welcoming for the most part. However, most were concerned with my questions and only allowed a couple of images to be taken. Still, to me, it proved how protective the community is of their members and their businesses. 

Even though Naranja has a strong community, I noticed how underdeveloped the area is in the present day compared to other neighborhoods in Miami; a lot of the main roads do not have sidewalks. Individuals without a car would have to walk long distances to find a convenience store or a small market to buy food and other day-to-day items. Another factor that doesn’t work is the roads; the road is also very underdeveloped, which can be an issue for individuals who drive and are afraid of damaging their car. The small neighborhood is no stranger to crime, and the majority of the population in Naranja do come from humble backgrounds. Overall I will recommend classmates and viewers to visit Naranja, FL. To experience these iconic businesses and spaces for themselves, and who knows, you might find another hidden gem. 

CITATIONS

“About Us and Menu.” Elote Lovers, 11 Dec. 2019, https://elotelovers.com/about-us/.

“About: Shiver’s Bar-B-Q Homestead, Fl: Miami BBQ Menu.” B, https://shiversbbq.com/home/about-us/.

“Adom :: St. Martin De Porres Church :: Main.” ADOM :: St. Martin De Porres Church :: Main, https://www.miamiarch.org/CatholicDiocese.php?op=Church_531417225118_main.

Coral Castle Museum, https://coralcastle.com/.

Google Maps, Google, https://www.google.com/maps/place/Naranja,+FL+33032/@25.5208152,-80.431137,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x88d9dca33110d6b5:0x2d0d46acaf20c497!8m2!3d25.5181647!4d-80.4228332.

Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum, http://townhallmuseum.org/history/.

“Naranja Park.” Https://Www.southfloridafinds.com/, https://www.southfloridafinds.com/park/fl/miami-dade/naranja/naranja-park.html.

“Naranja, Florida.” Naranja, Florida (FL 33032) Profile: Population, Maps, Real Estate, Averages, Homes, Statistics, Relocation, Travel, Jobs, Hospitals, Schools, Crime, Moving, Houses, News, Sex Offenders, https://www.city-data.com/city/Naranja-Florida.html.

“Play It Again Retro Video Games: Retail – Electronics: Electronics Store.” Retail – Electronics, https://www.webpagedepot.com/play-it-again-retro-video-games-5098.

“Sak Pase Restaurant, Naranja – Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews.” Tripadvisor, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1882307-d4952382-Reviews-Sak_Pase_Restaurant-Naranja_Florida.html.

Services, Miami-Dade County Online. “Modello Park.” Untitled Document, https://www.miamidade.gov/parks/modello.asp.

“True Color Tattoos – Homestead, FL.” Yelp, https://www.yelp.com/biz/true-color-tattoos-homestead.

U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: Homestead City, Florida … https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/homesteadcityflorida,floridacitycityflorida,princetoncdpflorida,naranjacdpflorida,leisurecitycdpflorida/POP645219.

Author: Joheily Rodriguez

Joheily Rodriguez is an honors junior studying biological sciences with a minor in chemistry. "When I am not working as a Resident Assistant, I like to journal, go out to eat with friends, and painting."

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