Lauren Velazquez: Miami as Text 2022

Lauren in Coney Island, New York. Photo taken by Leslie Velazquez // CC 4.0

Lauren Velazquez is a sophomore at Florida International University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology on a pre-med track; aspiring to become an Anesthesiologist. Lauren loves to explore, which gives her the opportunity to not only gain new knowledge but a new perspective. And she is able to do this through John Bailly’s class: Spain Study Abroad: Miami y España: Ida y Vuelta.


Deering as Text

History in the Rocks

By Lauren Velazquez of FIU at Deering Estate on January 28,2022

Photo of a Solution Hole taken by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

Deering Estate is more than just an aesthetic environment for you to go have a picnic and take pictures. And more than just a hotel for you to stay at before getting to Key West. There is a story behind every single item in that location: from the way the windows are structured, to the trees in the trail. Deering Estate contains a history of identity and culture for many people without them knowing. 

For Charles, his property was a recreation of his old home in Spain; bringing the style of architecture used by the Spainards to Miami. What should be noted in this is that the upbringing of the buildings on the property were built by Bahimans. This ties into the diversity that Deering Estate holds. Not only from an ecological point of view (Deering Estate has 8 ecosystems), but the diversity of people who have inhabited the area. This was a site that was lived on by Tequesta people, there is even fossil evidence of it to this day on those grounds. The tools they used during their time (shells) and even a cemetery. 

It was eye opening to me having to realize that the Tequesta people from thousands of years ago are considered our geographical ancestors. This shows the importance of the historical identity that Deering Estate holds. One way or another, it seems that we are all tied to the Deering Estate through either geographical ancestors or cultural ancestors, which both lived on those grounds.To me, Deering Estate can be seen as the roots that Miami grew from to become what it is today.


Vizcaya as Text

Come in for a Good Time

By Lauren Velazquez of FIU at Vizcaya Museum on February 20,2022

Photo of Vizcaya’s back entrance taken by Lauren Velazquez //CC 4.0
Photo of Bacchus, Roman God of wine and ecstasy by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

When you enter Vizcaya, you get the feeling you’re going to have a good time; whether it is now in 2022 or back in 1916 with James Deering himself. The vast space in every area of the house, in and out, makes you feel free. The house is exposed yet so private at the same time. Surrounded by a moat and lots of trees for privacy from the outside; but once you enter it is nothing but open space embracing the lifestyle that Miami now portrays. The life of being free and having fun, born to party, is what is first seen as you walk in embodied by a statue of Bacchus.

Photo of Ponce de Leon taken by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

While this could have been the beginning of Miami’s reputation, there was still appreciation of Spain all over the house. Before entering the house, you walk through a trail, and in that trail there is a statue of Ponce de Leon. Deering’s appreciation and recognition of how Miami, Florida came to be is implied by having this sculpture present. There is significance in Ponce de Leon’s pose and him standing on the globe; he was the one that gave Europeans “access” to Florida, as he discovered it.

The house invites you to more than just the party life style of Miami and Deering, life by the ocean is also a big factor. The view of Biscayne from all the windows in sight and a tiny caravel as detail in the windows and stone. All of this was significant to Deering because of the expansion and success of the Spanish. But it should also be recognized all the harm that was done to native Indigenous people in the process, by the taking of the land. As well as the harm down to Bahamians for the house to be built. There are many different types of European styles that are shown in different rooms of the house, which creates an adventure for those visiting, you never know what you’re going to see.


Miami as text

When life gives you oranges

By Lauren Velazquez of FIU at Downtown, Miami on March 11,2022

Photo of Dropped Bowl by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

Behind all the beautiful beaches and the flying sky scrapers, there is lots of ancient history. Miami was not always as modern as it has come to be. Before it became known for its night life, it was the hot spot for settlers to settle. The Miami River was an amazing spot due to the variety in the environment, and connection. between the Everglades and Atlantic Ocean. Along side the Miami River lies the Miami Circle. The Miami Circle is a sacred spot to the ancestors of the land: the Tequesta people. It is more than just a pretty circle in the middle of a dog park. It holds some of the most fascinating artifacts used by Tequesta people. It is such a significant area that it has even been blessed by natives.

Since the interaction between the Tequesta people and Europeans, the city has grown and developed tremendously while still keeping the history alive with buildings and monuments. The Fort Dallas park will take you back in time to when Flagler was around. The homes will show you the past, but if you look around it will bring you back to present time; so you absorb the history and see how the city came to be. Around Miami you have the newest buildings 100 feet in the air surrounded by windows for a great view while also having some of the oldest buildings telling you a million stories of what they have seen.

All of this is represented by the Dropped Bowl in the center of the city. The explosion of the city growing and becoming what it is today.


SoBe as Text

Locals Only

By Lauren Velazquez of FIU at South Beach, Miami on April 1,2022

Photo of Fisher Island by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

A place where you can feel free, taste the salt in the air and look at a variety of different architecture styles: South Beach in Miami. This part of the island that is off of Miami, has some of the most popular beaches in the world. The life style this area carries is what attractions many people to vacation on these beaches. These famous beaches have two perspectives depending on who you ask: a tourist and a local.

From a local’s point of view, South Beach is constantly crowded. It is a place for people to go vacation if they aren’t from Miami. A saying most people that are from Miami follow: “We live where you vacay”. It is sometimes a mission to get to South Beach due to the traffic on the only bridge available to get there. As a local, it is important to know the right day and time to go to the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery South Beach has to offer. The creation and growing of South Beach has caused environmental problems. Since it is only a piece of land made of sand, there are constants flood concerns. The main support of the island was ripped away years ago when it was it was first being built. The island was originally surrounded by mangroves. These mangroves were the back bone of the island; protecting it from erosion and floods. Mangrove forests also have a variety of life that depend on them to maintain their ecosystem. They are the habitat for many species. Due to the absence of these mangroves, South Beach will one day be a city under water. Although for now it is holding up.

Photo of Avalon by Lauren Velazquez // CC 4.0

From a tourist point of view: South beach is the best place for you to get some sun during the day, have some brunch with a show, and enjoy some architecture. There are three main styles that dominate the streets of South Beach: Mediterranean, MeMo and the most attractive Art Deco. Art Deco is used to show how society was becoming obsessed with the new styles being created reflecting spaceships and appliances.

At the end of the day, weather if you are a local or a tourist, South Beach is going to be one of the best places for you to go and relax to have fun.

Author: lauren velazquez

I am a student at FIU pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, participating in Spain Study Abroad 2022.

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