Jeanine Prado: Miami as Text 2022

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Hello, I’m Jeanine Prado. I am a freshmen attending the Honors College at FIU and majoring in Communications (PRAAC). I love meeting people and going out and experiencing life. I look forward to getting to know my classmates and my hometown, Miami.

Deering Estate as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado at Deering Estate / CC by 4.0

“Hidden and Unseen”

By Jeanine Prado of FIU in Deering Estate, January 28, 2022

Have you heard someone say that they went somewhere specific and say there was ‘nothing special’ about that place? 

Going to Deering Estate, that’s all I was thinking about. Every person that I mentioned Deering Estate to basically said that it was just a “pretty place with nothing to do.” I was not very excited but nonetheless I put a smile on my face and got ready to learn. 

Nothing could have prepared me for the amazement that was Deering Estate. Every little thing had a reason for existing. The archways, the metal gates, the tiny details; it all had purpose. There were little animals added to the cement archways that were left by the Bahamians, providing evidence to who really built the estate. There were gold medallions in the ceiling that showed the richness and clasiness of Mr. Deering. There were patio lights that were used as a do-it-yourself lighthouse since the government would not give him one. Even though it is all seen, not many people have heard the history of it. 

Deering Estate is much more than a fancy building; it’s a land with a deep past. One that is hidden and never seen. There are solution holes, mangroves and a multitude of wildlife hidden in the tall trees. Weaved into that wildness, there is Tequesta tribe history. Their tools are left as evidence to their existence; shells that were made to do everything. There are old roads and weathered trails that have aged with the land. 

Deering Estate was much more than a “pretty place.” It was historic and beautiful; a place that  is worth preserving.

Vizcaya as Text

Photos by Jeanine Prado at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens / CC by 4.0

“Modernity, Wealth and Sensuality”

By Jeanine Prado of FIU in Deering Estate, February 18, 2022

Vizcaya is a legendary piece of Miami history. 

James Deering was a man of modernity, wealth and sensuality. He was basically the living version of the god Dionysus. Dionysus was the god of wine and pleasure which would perfectly play into James’ bachelor aesthetic. His need to be the richest and most interesting socialite was manifested into his glamorous, historical home: Vizcaya.

From the start James’ wealth is evident with the moat surrounding the massive home and the statue of Ponce De Leon standing tall at the entrance. Once entering into the mansion, his extreme wealth cannot be avoided. He had statues imported that would cost a fortune to replace and he had hundreds of priceless paintings (of kids he did not have and Deering relatives that were not his). His three yachts and many antiques proved him to be carelessly well off. 

James Deering was a trendsetter. With his wealth came the ability to have the newest version of everything. He had the newest refrigerator, cork floors and an entire handcrafted dock. His room was always up to the trends; hand painted details and the newest pieces of furniture. 

Vizcaya holds many of James’ secrets. He had secret passageways for late night rendezvous which is said to have been with anyone he desired. There is a painting hiding the pipes of the organ and a room painted to look like real marble. He had many small hidden details that alluded to his sensuality and the simple pleasures of life. 

Miami as Text

Photos by Jeanine Prado at Downtown Miami / CC by 4.0

“Culture: Gained and Lost”

By Jeanine Prado of FIU in Downtown Miami, March 11, 2022

Miami is arguably the most culturally diverse place in the United States. 

Growing up here, you can hear, see and experience the diversity. Something people, even the  Miamians, miss out on is the history and how Miami came to be. 

When learning about Miami’s history the best place to start is Downtown Miami. Downtown has a perfect mix of new and old. The newly titled FTX Arena, a 1998 build, sits right across the street from the Freedom Tower, built in 1924. The Freedom Tower was the place where young Cuban immigrants from Operación Pedro Pan gained citizenship. For years I have gone to the arena and not once have I thought about what was across the street. 

There is so much to learn about my home and Downtown is the place where I realized that. 

While a lot of the history is still standing, some of it has been lost. There is barely evidence of the Tequesta tribe. A small tower depicting a massacre sits on a drawbridge and the only other evidence now has a Whole Foods over it. 

Miami has always been fast-paced and has kept up with modernity but sometimes history gets left behind with so much new. Since the bahamians and the Deerings and the immigrations, Miami has been exposed to differing cultures.  It will continue to change and grow but there has to be effort put into saving the past. Miami’s past is what will lead to Miami’s future and we can’t lose that.

SoBe as Text

Photos by Jeanine Prado at South Beach Miami / CC by 4.0

“DECOrated in Nostalgia”

By Jeanine Prado of FIU in Downtown Miami, April 1, 2022

Nothing is more exciting than getting up at 7:30 AM, packing up the car with beach supplies and Publix groceries, and then starting the 45 minute drive to the beach. 

The feeling of nostalgia that hits once you see the old art deco buildings and the familiar road signs is overwhelming. The soft pastels and bright signs/letters bring a sense of home and familiarity. Nothing beats the familiar color palette that is ‘Miami Vice’. 

The shining sun beams down on the self acclaimed beach lovers as they lay on the warm sand. Even with tents and beach chairs, there is temptation to lay in the sun and just burn. The red burn or brown tint is also a welcome reminder of the overly packed but weirdly calm energy of South Beach. 

Walking past the rich in a wet bikini and sand filled shorts as they eat their dinner at Smith and Walensky is an unmatched feeling. It’s two worlds coming together on the edge of Miami and no one judges the other. There is a silent agreement that we’re all there to enjoy the nostalgic and warm experience that can only be described as unrealistically homey. 

On South Beach, the same beach that saw Scarface be filmed and years later a Jonas Brothers music video, there is no prejudice. Everyone there is there for the water, the sun, the sand and the relaxation; some even for the sentimentality. 

Others are there for the famous nightlife but the temptation to walk around, even hungover, is too much. Miami welcomes everyone and the beach is where most of it comes together; far and wide all ❤️ SoBe. 

South Beach (or Nikki Beach) will always feel like home. To me, my mom, my dad, my brother and the rest of Miami residents; immigrants and native born alike.

Jeanine Prado

Help fund my Spain Study broad!!!!


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