Adia Pena Is a junior at Florida International University. She is under the honors college majoring in Political Science. When Adia gets free time, she likes to read, clean, and cook. She especially loves to cook and eat spicy food (can eat anything spicy also). Adia has a sweet personality and an open mind to new opportunities that are in front of her.
Deering as Text 2022
“A New Home,” by Adia Pena of Fiu Deering Estate
Whenever you think of a luxury real estate many factors come into mind. In most cases it could be a huge acre a land that has mansion that is five story in the middle. There could be a huge pool in a secluded area with lots of security. But in the 1920’s living the luxury lifestyle was a different way.
When I first step into the estate I was greeted by a large Boat basin and two beautiful homes next to each other. Before it was bought from the state all the area was owned by a man named Charles Deering. Before Deering purchase the property, it was a vernacular home called the Richmond cottage. When he bought it, he made and renovated the two buildings next to each other. The one he lived and his well know home was a stone house made of concrete. It also had design inspiration from foreign architecture. Inside was a huge secret wine cellar that hid alcohol that was illegal to obtain during that time period. Looking at this area is a sight to see but had a tragic history of how it was made.
During the times Charles Deering wanted to make this home was during racial segregation. Black Workers, most from the Bahamas, would construct his house in harsh and unsafe conditions. It was so bad that an accident occur that killed four of the workers. Ambulance did not even save them since they believe their lives were not worth it to get them out of danger. Who knew such beauty from a home can have such tragedy to it.
Next to his home my class was able to hike through the huge Nature Preserve. This preserve was first own by the natives there called the Tequesta. The Tequesta land hold many valuable factors towards it. The land contains freshwater and saltwater. The fresh water was their main source for drinking and the saltwater gave them shell bits. These were important tools for them to do daily chores like descaling fish. Though the Tequesta are no longer physically here they did not leave their home. Some of the Tequesta were left in a burial mound. Under this huge oak tree contains the bodies of the natives. They are position in a circle underneath the dirt protected by the preserve so they may be in peace.
Who knew not too far from where I live in south Florida there is another piece history that is not to well known. To know that what happen in the estate was a mind-blowing experience wish that more of the locals here in Florida would be able to know about what happen in the estate to get to know happen before we all lived here in Florida.
Vizcaya as Text 2022
“Garden of history left behind” by Adia Pena of FIU Vizcaya Musuem and gardens
A huge estate known as the Visacya Museum and Gardens resides in Miami. Though it is now a historical traction use for weddings,celebrations,and get togethers it once belonged to a maned James Deering. With the incredible wealth that he had, he wanted a home like no other in Miami. It had to be decorated, design and sculpted to his taste.
He started by making his home huge by buying 100 acres of the land within 1000 feet in 1912. Now that he owned the property, he needed workers to build his dream. He got workers whose origins were Bahamian. These black workers were treated terribly based on the low pay they were getting for this hard labor and the horrible work conditions. Not only at their workplace, they were poorly treated, but in Miami, they were put into segregated areas. Many artists came to the home to make some touches to it. Some of these artists are unknown, and some were big named artists that have done multiple projects for Deering. One notable artist is a man named Paul Chalfin. In fact, he was in charge of the general design for inside and outside the home. Other people whose names they were able to find that helped build the home were Burrall Hoffman as the architect and Diego Suarez, who was in charge of the landscape.
First, entering the guest entrance of the museum is like walking on a red carpet. To go inside, you have to walk a certain distance to get in, but when you are walking, you are guided by a long waterfall from both sides that makes it feel it is taking you where you need to enter inside.
Once inside the building, I was amazed at how much detail was put into each room of this estate. Entering in the middle of the home, you feel, see, and are with the ocean. The house gives a feeling you are in Miami’s tropical Flora by the sunlight coming into the vast window up and the many plants decorated around.
After being in the middle of the home, the class explored the rest of the first floorof his home. Like any standard home, there is a kitchen, pantry, and Dinning room. Each design with statues and artistic details mainly from Europe. But Deering wanted more to be made for him that everything would be astonishing and towards his liking. To his request, more was put inside like no other home. A reception room was made inside with decor from France named Rococo style. That style contained heavy decoration of curves and designs like seashells. Then the most astonishing room inside was the living room. As the largest space in the home, there was a huge fireplace with stonework from Normandy. A huge painting and small sculptures had lions on it, showing the great beast. But the most significant and unique artistic piece was the carpet. Not like a rug carpet that gets stained all time; oh no, this huge Admiral carpet hangs on the side with Islamic designs. It has a script in Arabic that translates to say there is no god but Allah. Inside the design, there are coats of arms in which one has a has lion, two wolves, and the chivalric order of La.
After being inside this one of a kind of home, we went outside where new beauty was shown. A huge sculpture on the sea shows a huge mermaid that Deering wanted. But when it was first created, it was not to his liking. He complained about the breast size in which he got it made smaller despite having to give another large compensation. Then a large fountain was transported onto the garden that was originally in a town square. In it, there was a small maze, though not able to have a lost experience base of the bush being cut short, it was interesting to be in one.
Another new visit to add to my list here in south Florida. Through art, there is a story and meaning. While here, I was able to know the true meaning behind that phrase. Even though it seemed at first Deering Just wanted to spend his riches on this because he was able to, he wanted artwork that he could show that had meaning, purpose, and beauty to it.
Downtown Miami as Text 2022
“Deep in the Depth of Dowtown Miami” by Adia Pena Downtown Miami
Miami about anybody from Florida or outside has heard of this city. The reason is because of the reputation it brings. Its diversity, urban culture, and fast past city life. But to actually know if it does bring those options, you have to be in the heart of it, which is downtown Miami.
In the downtown of Miami, the first stop I went to was the Government center. This hits you with the city life base on how many people are hustling to go to their destinations. They either travel by car, Miami busses, or the Miami metro, which is right next to the government center.
Though fast past city life can be nonstop, one thing will stop to catch your eye. The amazing art that is display throughout the city.One artwork that stands out is by two artist named Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. In front of the government, building is a sculpture that has huge pieces of Orange peels, Orange slices, and broken bowls displayed made of iron. This represents the Florida symbol, which is the orange, and the explosion that the city of Miami holds.
Another few blocks away is a home. Not like an apartment building or a luxury home. But an older home that holds history. The original homeowner was named William Wagner. What stood out with him and his house is who lived there. During his time, segregation took place. Not only were people of color limited on where they could go they were also limited on who they could love. This still did not stop Eveline Aimar, an immigrant from Haiti, and Wagner, a German Immigrant, from being together and having a child. They made their family there and friendly relationships with the Seminoles. This estate is known as one of the oldest Miami homes.
After being in that historical monument, the class went right into the middle of downtown Miami. Like most downtown cities, there was the courtroom of that district. What is unique about Miami’s courthouse is its architecture. It took a Neo-classical style to meet what was needed in Miami’s county for 50 years.
By the courthouse lays a disturbing history. One of them being a statue of Henry Flagler. Even though Flager helped make Miami, he also negatively impacted it. Some negative factors he did are creating a segregated city named color town, destroying a burial mound of the Tequesta, and throwing waste into the river. Many people have made petitions and gone to the government to get rid of his name being honored in the city by changing the street named after him.
A while later, we walk passed the residential areas of Miami. A vast river was by that used to have freshwater by the Everglades which got destroyed based on discharge by the Royal palm hotel. Then there was the Flager’s workers house that was used for construction works to live in when they first started building the Royal Palm Hotel. Before we started our journey, we went to the center of Miami. Not afraid of the crazy traffic or anybody stopping us, the class stepped in to take a group photo showing proof that we were officially in the middle of Miami.
Our last historical stop was the Freedom Tower. This beautiful building help Cuban immigrants start their new life here in Miami. Cubans would stay here for refugee and made this establishment their symbol of liberty. Not only does it hold memories, but the building itself is amazing. Based on how it is 17 stories and has architecture inspiration from Spain.
Who knew going through a downtown city holds so much. Miami is more this just party life and luxury styles. It shows that a community from the past, present, and future can hold more opportunities. Not only do we have these opportunities nothing and nobody can stop us from keeping our creative spirit, growing minds, and rightful views.
Sobe as Text 2022
“Miami Beach Madness” by Adia Pena South Beach
I have been through places in Miami that I did not even know existed through this time. The next destination that I went to, South Beach, is a well-known huge tourist attraction. Many people come here for the summer, spring break, or visit to see what the hype is all about there. Little do tourists or people that live in that area know what made South Beach like no other city in South Florida.
There is no way while at South Beach that you do not stop by the sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Imagine sea salt, cool breeze, and a scenery that hits a person with astonishment. Now scratch that thought and think about mangroves with long roots all over. That is what south beach originally looked like until Carol Fisher came into the picture. With greed in his eyes, Fisher wanted to take this environment and make it into a holiday home for his own profit. While building this without a thought in mind, he took away what was already on the land. He took away the homes of the Africans, Seminoles, and native animals. The only thing he left was destruction to the environment.
Walking away from the beach, knowing what is behind all those buildings, you are hit with the Miami everyone knows. Streets filled with heavy traffic, people partying, and the Florida heat in your face. Now what surrounds you all over is the building that are there. These are not just regular buildings any architecture made; they each have their own style, all inspired by Art Deco.
Art Deco is not like any other building design or style. Art Deco came to be unique because of the fascination with technology. Some examples can be toasters, refrigerators, or even spaceships. To add on how this style is supposed to be, there are characteristics that make it stand out, like having pastel colors, curved edges, and porthole windows.
Though most buildings take from Art Deco, they are each unique in their own way. One building that many tourists come to is the Versace Mansion. Gianni Versace fell in love with Miami and made a residents here. Within South Beach, he saw the fashion and beauty that Miami had, so he incorporated it into his fashion line. People loved what he did, but some people had another viewpoint about him. One person’s viewpoint led to Versace being shot and killed on the front steps of his home. Now his home holds a story that brings people all over to see his home while enjoying a bottle of wine that cost an arm and a leg and 72.00 prime rib dinner while inside.
If that is not in your price budget, going further down the streets, you can find reasonable price quick eats like coffee, BBQ, and even seafood. But one specialty that no one can beat is Pizza. But what makes a specific pizzeria well known is not what is inside but what is in-between. There is the Betsy Orb which is an egg shape sculpture that is in between an alleyway. This unique sculpture can be posted on social media and can land a person a free sweet treat with a pizza purchase. This quick bite is well deserved on an exploration of South Beach.
I always have a feeling that certain tourist spots can be just scams. But while I was in South Beach, the beauty and history captivated me. So many people come here, whether for vacation or to have their own investment, know that South Beach is the spot. But, I know what made South Beach the spot that brought its attraction for what it is today.