Martyna Kwiatkowska: Kendall 2021

Biography

Photo by Ashley Nunez/ CC 4.0

 Martyna Kwiatkowska is a junior studying Economics with a certificate in German Language in Culture at FIU. She moved to Miami quite recently, in the Fall of 2015, therefore she still looks at Miami through a foreigner’s perspective. She is still adjusting to the cultural differences between Miami and Poland and this course has helped her understand the deeper culture that Miami offers. She’s lived in a few places around South Miami in the past 6 years, however she has worked in Kendall for over 4 years and has recently moved in the area, through this project she hopes to discover more about Kendall than she knew before. 

Geography

Map of Kendall on Google Maps/ Copyright 2021 Google

Kendall is located in the Southwestern part of Miami – Dade County. It does not have its own government or council and it is officially called a Census Designated Place. It has an area of approximately 16.3 sq miles and combines both urban and suburban structures. It has an altitude of around 13 ft above sea level.  It mostly consists of land mass, only 1.35% of its area is water. The landscape of Kendall consists mostly of suburban landscaping, including garden plants and scarce amounts of trees. This landscape is quite different from its native Pine Rocklands. Kendall has quite a rich natural area located in the Indian Hammocks Park, which contains an 32 acre natural preserve of the hardwood hammock. The community is very family- friendly, there is a big selection of schools, ranging from elementary to high school. The neighborhood has one fire station and the Kendall District Station of the Miami – Dade Police Department. The vibrant community consists of mostly residential buildings, alongside plaza’s filled with shops and restaurants. Kendall has quite a bit to offer, however due to its large area, it does require some exploring.

History

Kendall is relatively a new neighborhood in Miami. In 1850 the United States Congress passed the Swamp Land Act which allowed the state of Florida to claim wetlands west of Red Road (57th Ave), between SW 104th St and NW 7thSt. The State of Florida sold off parts of these lands to investors and developers. In 1883, an English investor, Sir Edward James Reed purchased 4 million acres of land between SW 104th St and SW 88th St for a price of one million dollars. The developer was the owner of the Florida Land and Mortgage Company, and the area was purchased under the firm. During the time of purchase, the area was mostly uninhabited, except for a Seminole tribe that lived just west of where Baptist Hospital stands today. The tribe was one of very few left after the Second Seminole War, since only 129 Seminole Indians lived in Dade County in 1900. In 1884, Henry John Broughton Kendall was appointed as one of the trustees to manage the land that the L&M company owned in Dade County. Henry was originally from Lima, Peru and served as the London Consul for Bolivia. He was also a trustee for many leading British firms, including the Railway Investment Company and the Farmer’s Loan and Trust Company (today Citibank). Mysteriously, there is little to no evidence that Kendall lived in South Dade during his years managing the land, but the area was associated with his name. Some people believe it might be due to his name on deeds and inspections in the area. However, Kendall did not begin developing into the suburban neighborhood it is now until the 1950’s, which mostly covered east Kendall and parts of Pinecrest. It wasn’t until later in the century that with the increasing population growth people moved westward and Kendall as we know it today was created. 

Demographics

As of the April 2020 Census, Kendall is home to 80,241 people. The neighborhood is predominantly White (87.5%), with a smaller Black or African American (3.4%) and Asian population (3.5%). Most people living in Kendall identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino (70.1%) and over 45% are foreign born. The median house cost is $382,400 and the median rent is $1,543. The average people per household is 2.77 since the suburb mostly consists of family homes. The median household income in 2019 was $73,612, which is just slightly above the national median ($69,560). The mean travel time to work is around 33 minutes. Most business in Kendall are minority owned (7,927 out of 12,802 total).

Interview with Major Vidal Chavez, a resident

Photo by Dulce Villaman/ CC by 4.0

Martyna: Good afternoon! Thank you for taking time out of your day to do this interview with me! Could you please introduce yourself?

Vidal: My name is Vidal and I’m a Miami resident from 1983 – 1989 and again from 2012 – present.

Martyna: How long have you lived in Kendall and what made you decide to move here?

Vidal: I’ve lived in Kendall since moving back in 2012. I decided to move to Kendall because of location near work and affordable house prices.

Martyna: Are there any places in Kendall that you often visit or could recommend to a visitor?

Vidal: Dadeland Mall. Town and Country Mall, various restaurants, and retail stores.

Martyna: I know you’ve lived in many different places during your service, how would you say Kendall compares to those places

Vidal: Kendall is a busy suburb, which really is an extension of Miami.

Martyna: Are there any negative parts of Kendall that you have experienced?

Vidal: Due to its dense population, traffic is the biggest negative.

Martyna: Do you think that Kendall would be a good representation of what Miami is to a foreigner?

Vidal: It’s a realistic representation of Miami, working, and middle class who are the workers bees of the city.

Martyna: Thank you So much for taking time out of your day again! Have a great day!

Landmarks

The neighborhood of Kendall is relatively young, therefore there are not many historical landmarks. However, there is quite a bit of hot spots, where residents like to enjoy their free time. Some include: The Shops of Town and Country, Dadeland Mall, Zoo Miami, Miami – Dade College (Kendall Campus), the Falls and Miami Cancer Institute. I have highlighted the most important that attract many visitors to Kendall.

Miami Dade College (Kendall Campus

Miami Dade College (Kendall Campus) by Martyna Kwiatkowska/ CC by 4.0

The Kendall Campus of Miami – Dade College has been serving students from all around Miami since 1967. It offers a variety of programs under 6 schools: Arts and Letters, Business, Entertainment Technologies, Computer Information Systems & Design Technology, Natural and Social Sciences and Education. The campus offers bachelor’s and associate degrees of both Science and Art, as well as Vocational Certificates. It is in the heart of Kendall at the block of SW 107th Ave and Killian Pkwy on a 185 – acre lot. The current president of the campus is Dr. Pascale Charlot. MDC and this campus in particular are a very vital part of Kendall, since it is the community college to many residents of the neighborhood, and it makes a college education accessible and affordable for many foreign and local students.

Dadeland Mall

Dadeland Mall is one of the biggest and busiest malls in Miami and South Florida. It’s building, located on Kendall Drive, by 826 spans over 1.4 million square feet. It is home to over 185 retail stores and restaurants. The mall features many higher – end stores, including Hugo Boss, 7 For All Mankind, Tesla, and Stuart Weitzman. The second floor is dedicated mostly to restaurants, and it features Kendall hot spots, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, Texas de Brazil, and Aoki Teppanyaki. It also hosts 3 large department stores: Macy’s, JCPenney and Saks Fifth Avenue. Dadeland Mall was opened on October 1st, 1962, and it was dubbed “deadland”, since Kendall drive, which it is located on was called “the Road to Nowhere”. This approach changed quickly as Kendall developed rapidly in the following years. In the 1990’s Dadeland was the busiest shopping malls in the continental United States. It remains a thriving mall to this day.

Miami Cancer Institute

The Miami Cancer Institute is a cancer diagnosis and treatment center, part of the Baptist Hospitals Network. It is located down SW 88th St and, west of SW 87th Ave. The Institute focuses on molecular diagnosis, which allows for more targeted and personalized treatment plans, it is at a leader in cancer treatment and prevention in South Florida. It has been recognized multiple times for being one of “America’s Best Hospitals for performing Lung Cancer Surgery and Colon Cancer Surgery by U.S. News & World Report” (BaptistHealth.net). The hospital is focused on both cancer care for patients and research, it offers a variety of patient support services, including physical, spiritual, and mental. The Institute opened its doors on January 26th, 2017, and continues to serve hundreds of patients yearly from many countries worldwide. To support the needs of international patients, a Hilton Hotel with 184 rooms opened on the premise. The staff, led by Michael J. Zinner, M.D. (the Executive Medical Director) continue to look for a cure for this deadly disease every day, in the heart of Kendall.

Greenspaces

Kendall is a very family – friendly neighborhood, with most structures being single family homes, therefore residents tend to have a little greenspace right in their yard. However, the community is also enriched with many public parks, which can be used as a place of relaxation on rest days. During a typical weekend day, visitors can see families enjoying picnics in the outdoors, kids playing on playgrounds and people of all different ages participating in various sports. Parks are one of the few public spaces that a suburban town, like Kendall has to offer. I have highlighted some of the most vital greenspaces in the community. 

Indian Hammocks Park

Indian Hammocks Park is located along SW 107th Ave and SW 79th St and serves as the biggest park in Kendall. The Park grounds offer a variety of amenities, including 3 softball fields, 2 disc golf courses, 2 playgrounds, a 14,000 sq ft skate park and a 32 – acre nature preserve. The skate park was inspired by world renown skate parks and offers features that can be comparable to street skateboarding. The nature preserve covers a big part of the park and has many trails that allow visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the hardwood hammock. The Park also serves as a great celebration spot for friends and families, it offers 5 covered picnic shelters and a live oak – canopied picnic deck, which can be reserved on the park’s website. Furthermore, during the COVID – 19 pandemic, the park grounds have also hosted a testing center. Indian Hammocks serves as a central natural area of Kendall and offers a plethora of outdoor activities for residents and visitors of the neighborhood alike. 

Snapper Creek Canal

The Snapper Creek Canal spans over the majority of Kendall, it is 12.3 miles long and ranges from 50 to 100 ft in width. The creek drains water from the Everglades into Biscayne Bay. There is quite a bit of flora growing around the canal and its slowly – flowing water is home to many types of fish and ducks. The canal is the deepest at its southeast end, in the Hardy Matheson Preserve in Pinecrest. It is the shallowest around its beginning, close to the intersection of the Turnpike and Highway 836. The canal provides the residents of Kendall with a piece of nature that flows in their backyard, and it is well known in the fishing community. Patrons have caught largemouth bass and butterfly peacock in the five, boat accessible lateral canals of the Creek and a small 7 – acre lake that it connects to. The Canal continues to attract avid anglers from around the country and provides residents with access to water, miles away from the coast. 

Snapper Creek from a backyard by Martyna Kwiatkowska/ CC by 4.0
Rock Ridge Park

Rock Ridge Park is a small neighborhood park by the Devonaire community of Kendall. It is relatively small, compared to Indian Hammocks Park, but its representation is important within the community. Before development, Kendall was mostly Pine Rocklands, the natural landscape has changed a bit since then, but Rock Ridge Park serves as a monument for what used to be. The Park is not a preserve, however the path around the park is surrounded by Sabal Palms, which are native to Florida (not the Pine Rocklands in specific). At the entrance of the park, visitors are greeted by crushed limestone, which is also native to Florida. As far as amenities go, the park has a big playground for parents and kids alike to enjoy some down time in the great outdoors.

Transportation

Due to Kendall’s suburban nature, the most used mode of transportation is car. It is difficult to get around without a personal motorized vehicle, however not impossible. Many residents commute to work, averaging about 33 minutes, the commute to and from downtown is made much easier by the Metrorail. There are two stops on the eastern border of Kendall: Dadeland South and Dadeland North, both offer parking for commuters from western areas of the community. The main road in the area is undoubtably Kendall Drive, a 4-lane road connecting US – 1 with major highways like 826 and the Turnpike.  There are a few bus lines that go through the neighborhood, along the major roads, including 71, 87, 88 lines. There are no designated bike lanes or paths throughout most of the community. Bikes do not serve as a primary form of transport. In hopes of better connecting Kendall to Coral Gables and Dadeland, two expressways: Don Shula Expy and 878 were constructed, which alleviated some flow of traffic from Kendall Drive. 

Food

The CDP Community of Kendall has much to offer in the aspect of food. The family – oriented neighborhood is filled with restaurants, ranging from large national chains, like Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse, to quite a bit of local, both casual and higher – end dining experiences. A major restaurant hub and a popular meeting place is both Dadeland Mall and Downtown Dadeland, which offer a very wide range of restaurants in a prime location for the residents of the Greater South Miami Area. Here are some of the featured local – owned businesses, that everyone should visit.

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall is a local – owned and founded Miami restaurant. Currently there are 4 locations in the southern Miami, each having a different restaurant “name”. The location I had the pleasure of visiting was called Hole in the Wall Grill by SW 117th Ave and SW 120th St. The locale has a very relaxed feel to it, with wooden walls, a large bar, and chalkboards with the drinks and specials menu. The restaurant did not offer table service and patrons had to order food at the bar, however this minor inconvenience did not stop a large amount of people from enjoying their delicious food. The local favorite is famous for its Happy Hour and Taco Tuesday’s ($1 tacos every Tuesday after 3pm). Conveniently, the Kendall location is in the same plaza as Arcade Odyssey, making the plaza a hotspot for outings with friends and family.

Address: 12055 SW 117th Ave Miami, FL 33186

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar

For seekers of more elevated dining experiences, Chef Adrianne’s is a newly relocated retirant in the Shops at Town and Country. The restaurant was founded by world – famous chef Adrianne Calvo, who at age 22 created her namesake restaurant. It was rewarded many times by multiple magazines and newspapers, and it won the Reader’s Choice Award in the Miami New Time’s as the Best Restaurant. The menu offers a wide array of dishes, ranging from elevated fish sandwiches to specialty steaks. The locale also offers a Brunch Menu and a Happy Hour Menu for drinks and select appetizers. It remains a true popular spot for higher dining experiences in Kendall.

Address: 11715 Sherri Lane, Miami, FL 33183

Two Brothers Pizza

Two Brothers Pizza is a locally – owned Italian restaurant in the Shops at Town and Country. The owner, Tommaso Penza is of Italian origin and continues to use the same practices when making pasta as his family decades past. The restaurant is decorated in a manner that resembles the old – world Italian feel.  The menu contains a wide variety of Italian dishes, including different types of pasta, appetizers, seafood, chicken, veal, and pizza. Two Brothers upholds Kendall’s main value of being family oriented and family friendly and offers a kid’s menu for the youngest connoisseurs of Italian cuisine.

Address: 13740 SW 84th St, Miami, FL 33183

Businesses

Most businesses in Kendall are in plazas along major roads, like SW 88th St and SW 107th Ave. There is lots of demand, due to the large population of the area and the convenience of having services close to home. Most businesses in Kendall are also minority – owned making the conscious decision to shop local even more morally satisfying. It is a bit difficult to find great places in the neighborhood if one doesn’t know where to look and it can be very surprising what unseeingly unamusing plazas can hide. Some great businesses native to Kendall include Kendall Ice Arena, Arcade Odyssey, Sunset Feed and Supply, Super Wheels and many law and tax firms.

Super Wheels Skating Center
The entrance to Super Wheels by Martyna Kwiatkowska/ CC by 4.0

Super Wheels has been a vital part of Kendall history since 1987, when Stuart Cauff and Wayne Lippman opened the beloved skating rink. It was originally called Hot Wheels. The founders had a vision to bring skating into the neighborhood, by revolutionizing and perfecting the sport and pastime by combining it with disco music and lights. The old facility was destroyed during Hurricane Irene in 1999 and it wasn’t till Milda Wanna launched Super Wheels in 2009, that the roller rink was brought back to its old glory. The hopes and goals of the founders remain, and Super Wheels is a vital part of Kendall nightlife and social culture. The rink is known for it’s special “Happy Hour Deals” on different days of the week, including adult night, every Monday, and skating lessons a few times a week. It also offers bar drinks, food, and an arcade room.

Address: 12265 SW 112th ST Miami, FL 33186

Arcade Odyssey

Arcade Odyssey is an old – school arcade in the south – western tip of Kendall. The arcade was opened in 2011, however in the past 10 years it has become a landmark in South Florida. It draws visitors in with nostalgia or intrigue, depending on their ages. The nostalgic atmosphere makes anyone forget where they are or what they are going through and immerses them in a gaming experience like no other. There are dozens of consoles, ranging from vintage 1970’s and 1980’s to newer Japanese arcade consoles. The southern wall features a pinball wall, a favorite amongst older and newer generations. There is also an alcoholic drink bar and snack bar located within the premise. The tokens are relatively cheap, costing $1 per 3 tokens, and most consoles require from 2 – 3 tokens per game. It is a great, affordable way to enjoy some free time not far from home and combined with The Hole in the Wall’s Tuesday Taco Deal can be a very inexpensive way to get a taste of the best Kendall has to offer.

Address: 12045 SW 117th Ave Miami, FL 33186

Sunset Feed and Supply

Sunset Feed and Supply is a family – owned business with over 60 years of expertise in all things horses, pets, and cowboy essentials. Kendall West used to be a very prominent equestrian community since the days of Sunset Feed and Supply’s founding. This has changed quite a bit over the past few decades; however, the store’s business has remained booming as ever. The store now also specializes in grills and riding equipment, and it is especially busy during the holiday season. The local – owned business offers many promotions and deals for its loyal customers; it has even established a royalty program and offers impeccable customer service.

Address:  7650 SW 117th Ave, Miami, FL 33183

Conclusion

Although Kendall is a relatively new neighborhood in Miami, it’s vibrant culture and suburban amenities make it one of the best neighborhoods to live in Miami. The community consists of a vibrant mix of people, all with their own stories and origins, finding a home in the beautiful suburb. The many restaurants, parks, schools, and local businesses make this area one that’s perfect for raising kids, a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city. The CDP will surely continue to thrive in the future, however I can’t help to wonder how this rapidly changing community will look like in the next 20, 30 or even 50 years, I guess we’ll have to wait and see….

Sources:

“About Us: Miami Cancer Institute.” Baptist Health South Florida, https://cancer.baptisthealth.net/miami-cancer-institute/about-us#

“Contact Us.” Twobrothersite, https://www.2brothersrestaurant.com/contact-us

“Dadeland Mall.” Flashback Miami, 7 Apr. 2016, https://flashbackmiami.com/2015/12/10/dadeland-mall/. 

Hole in the Wall Florida. “Hole in the Wall Florida.” Hole in the Wall Florida, https://holeinthewallflorida.com/. 

“Hours/Direction/Pricing: Arcade Odyssey.” Hours/Direction/Pricing | Arcade Odyssey, http://www.arcadeodyssey.com/hdp.html. 

“In the Beginning the Birth of Kendall – Part 1.” Pinecrest Dental Center, 12 Dec. 2018, https://pinecrestdental.com/kendall-part-1/. 

“Kendall Campus.” Miami Dade College, https://www.mdc.edu/kendall/campus-information/default.aspx

“Kendall Indian Hammocks Park in Kendall, FL.” MiamiandBeaches.com, https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/parks-recreation/kendall-indian-hammocks-park/23891. 

“Menu.” CHEF ADRIANNE’S, https://chefadriannes.com/menu/#. 

“Miami Cancer Institute Opens Its Doors: Newsroom: Baptist Health South Florida.” Newsroom, 21 Mar. 2017, https://newsroom.baptisthealth.net/press-release/miami-cancer-institute-opens-its-doors/. 

“Miami’s Choice for Animal Feed, Pet Supplies, Western Wear, Riding Gear & Hay for 60 Years.” Sunset Feed & Supply, 15 May 2021, https://sunsetfeed.com/. 

Online, Bass. “Snapper Creek Canal.” Bass Fishing – The Complete Guide. Voted #1 Freshwater Fishing Resource by Experts, 10 Feb. 2021, https://bassonline.com/fl/lakes/snapper-creek-canal/. 

“Schedule – Super Wheels Miami, Hours- 305-270-9386.” Super Wheels Miami, https://superwheelsmiami.com/schedule/

Services, Miami-Dade County Online. “Kendall Indian Hammocks Par.” Untitled Document, https://www.miamidade.gov/parks/kendall-indian-hammocks.asp

Services, Miami-Dade County Online. “Metrobus Routes & Schedules.” Miami, https://www.miamidade.gov/transportation-publicworks/routes.asp. 

Simon Property Group, L.P. and/or Its Affiliates (NYSE: SPG). “About Dadeland Mall.” Discover A Simon Mall®, The Mills® Or Premium Outlets® Shopping Center, https://www.simon.com/mall/dadeland-mall/about. 

U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: United States. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: