Oscar Roa: Miami Beach 2022

Student Bio

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is headshot.jpg
Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

My name is Oscar Roa, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student. I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. I am passionate about sports, outdoor activities, music, and food. One of my favorite things to do in life is to take a walk around nature and think about life.

Geography

Miami Beach Map. Imagery @2022 Google, Imagery @2022 TerraMetrics, Map data @2022.

The city of Miami Beach is located at 25° 47′ 26.3544” N and 80° 7′ 48.162” W (Country Coordinate). It started developing soon after the Collins bridge was built. The urban landscape of Miami Beach is comprised of luxury hotels, restaurants, and apartment buildings. It is thanks to its paradisiacal beach and weather that Miami Beach is an international destination for a vacation. People from all around the world seek to experience Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, Luxurious establishments, and nightlife.

History

Miami Beach was incorporated in 1915. The initial factor that made this possible was that Henry Flagler brought the Railroad in 1896 and built the Royal Palm Hotel in 1897, which gave way to the beginning of the travel market in Miami. However, the most important people for its construction and development were John S. Collins, T.J. Pancoast, the Lummus brothers, J.N. and J.E., and Carl Graham Fisher. It was because of John S. Collins that the first bridge that connected Miami Beach to the mainland was built. What we know today as Miami Beach started as a crop for growing avocadoes owned by Collins. The bridge was built so that the avocadoes could be easily distributed to the market. The importance of this bridge cannot be underestimated. It was because of the bridge that the Lummus brothers and Fisher got involved in the development of Miami Beach. The Lummus brothers were presidents of the two banks that loaned Collins the money for the bridge’s construction. Fisher decided to invest in the bridge and help the Lummus brothers invest in Miami Beach after he saw the bridge halfway built. In return, the Lummus brothers and Collins gave Fisher land that they owned in Miami Beach. From 1913 to 1914 there was a great project to move six million cubic yards of the bay bottom to the bayside of Miami Beach. Giving it its modern-day landscape. After the building of the bridge, the city of Miami Beach began to flourish. It was on March 26, 1915, that the town of Miami Beah was incorporated. (Forty Years of Miami Beach).

Demographics

Miami Beach demographics are listed below. (Niche).

Population: 90108.

Education Levels:

  • Master’s degree or higher: 22%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 26%
  • Some college or associate’s degree: 22%
  • High school diploma or equivalent: 19%
  • Less than high school diploma: 11%

Racial Diversity:

  • Hispanic: 57%
  • White: 36%
  • African American: 3%
  • Two or more races: 2%
  • Asian: 2%
  • Other race: 1%
  • Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0%
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%

Gender:

  • Male: 52%
  • Female: 48%

Age:

  • <10 years: 9%
  • 10-17 years: 5%
  • 18-24 years: 6%
  • 25-34 years: 17%
  • 35-44 years: 17%
  • 45-54 years: 16%
  • 55-64 years: 12%
  • 65+ years: 17%

Income:

Median Household Income: $55,971

Median Individual Income: $31,269

  • <$25k: 25%
  • $25-$44k: 18%
  • $45-$74k: 19%
  • $75-$149k: 21%
  • $150k+: 17%

Interview to Charlotte:

The bench where the interview happened. Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

I decided to interview a random person that I saw while I was photographing Flamingo Park. My interviewee’s name is Charlotte. She describes herself as an “artist and creator who moved to Miami to try a different lifestyle.” She asked me not to include her photograph in the blog.

Oscar: “Please introduce yourself.”

Charlotte: “My name is Charlotte; I was living in Miami for 6 months last year. I lived in the South Beach Area.”

Oscar: “Why did you decide to live in Miami Beach?”

Charlotte: “I decided to move to Miami during quarantine because it was a lot more peaceful and safer than living in New York at the time. ”

Oscar: “What has changed since you first arrived? What has remained the same?”

Charlotte: “When I came it was very empty because of quarantine. The way it has changed is that there are a lot more people outside. I am very into fashion, and I’ve seen that a lot of fashion has changed in Miami and that’s the one thing that stood out to me the most.”

Oscar: “If you were given the chance to move to a different city within Miami-Dade County, would you? Why/why not?”

Charlotte: “I think I would go around Wynwood or Downtown Miami because I like the fashion and the art there.”

Oscar: “Thank you very much.”

Charlotte: “You’re welcome.”

Landmarks

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Miami Beach has several well-renowned landmarks. Some of them, like Fisher Island, are basically private. However, most of them are available to the public to explore. The main landmarks in Miami Beach are Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road, The Fillmore Theater, the Art Deco Historic District, South Pointe Park, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Espanola way. I will continue to further expand on three of my favorite landmarks:

Art Deco Historic District:

The Art Deco Historic District consists of a series of historical hotels/buildings whose architecture aimed to represent futuristic devices. In the mid-1900s, neon lights were Avant Guard in architecture. Therefore, most of the buildings in the district have neon lights on their facades. Additionally, it was the architect’s aim to make their buildings look like modern home appliances. Other common themes that can be seen around the district’s buildings are the usage of white facades with pastel highlights, ziggurat rooflines, eyebrows, glass bricks, and porthole windows. (Bailly Lectures).  

Lincoln Road:

Lincoln Road is known worldwide for being a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with luxury stores and restaurants. Some of these are even part of the Art Deco District. There is street seating for most restaurants and a wide variety of street artists who perform for the tourists. (Afar).

South Pointe Park:

This is one of my personal favorite places to go to the beach in Miami. South Pointe Park offers a unique view of the Port of Miami, it has amazingly clear beaches, and the South Pointe Pier is located inside of it. This Pier offers a unique view of the ocean and is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise/sunset. Sometimes, one can even witness marine wildlife. Additionally, the park has the renowned Smith & Wollensky restaurant. Which I will elaborate on in the food section.

Green

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

There are several parks in the Miami Beach area. Some of the most popular parks are Flamingo Park, Lummus Park, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Ocean Beach Park, Allison Park, North Beach Oceanside Park, and Collins Park. All these parks receive good funding and maintenance, which is why they are in such good condition. My favorite ones are listed below.

Lummus Park:

Lummus Park offers a variety of activities for its visitors. Including chaise and umbrella rental near the beach, bike and skate rental, and two outdoor gym areas. This park has access to the gym and one can even climb the lifeguard towers for a bird’s-eye view of the beach! (Lummus Park).

Flamingo Park:

This park is a great place for people to come and refresh in the hot summers. The park counts with 17 tennis courts, a baseball stadium, football and soccer fields, a running track, walking trails, and a state-of-the-art aquatic center with two pool areas! One can spend the entire day in Flamingo Park with family and friends while being active. (Flamingo Park).

Allison Park:

For those who enjoy a smaller and calmer park setting, especially for parents with young children, Allison Park is a great place. This park is very peaceful, and it counts with a small but cozy playground for children to enjoy. One can come to this park to sit on a bench and read a book, and just enjoy quiet time in nature.

Transportation

Transportation in Miami Beach.
Miami-Dade County, Transit System.

The modes of public transportation in the city of Miami Beach are the Metrobus, taxicabs, and private transportation companies. The modes of private transportation are private vehicles and boats. The city of Miami Beach counts with a good public transportation system that allows people to move around the city with ease. This public transportation is fast and reliable. One can download the app to track buses and find routes.

Food

Miami Beach is known worldwide for its great restaurant variety. From inexpensive and casual restaurants to luxurious experiences, Miami Beach has something for everyone to enjoy. Some of my personal favorites include Orange Blossom, Byblos, Pura Vida, The Villa Casa Casuarina, Bacon Bitch, and Palace. I will highlight three of these restaurants. It is almost impossible to list all the good restaurants that the city of Miami Beach has. There are a lot of restaurants that I have yet to explore.

Byblos:

This fantastic Eastern Mediterranean restaurant has a beautiful atmosphere, and the food ingredients are top quality. I would recommend it for a dinner date. “Byblos represents a marriage of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with strong influences from both traditional and local ingredients.  Using time-honored classic techniques and modern methods, our dishes showcase the regionally-specific spices and flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard.” (Byblos Miami).

The Villa Casa Causarina:

Located at the former Versace Mansion, The Villa Casa Casuarina is the most luxurious restaurant on my list. It offers a great menu and experience for its visitors. It is certainly a treat to most, but I would recommend visiting it if you have the opportunity. (The Villa Casa Casuarina).

Palace:

One of the most unique experiences in Miami Beach. A historic restaurant that not only sells amazing food but also has been key to the development of the LGBTQ+ community. “For more than three decades, Palace has been the #1 Drag Bar & Restaurant in Miami Beach. But don’t just read about it! Swing by our iconic Ocean Drive location and see what the buzz is about. Experience craft cocktails, tantalizing bites, and daily live entertainment hosted by our fabulous resident divas.” (Palace).

Businesses

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

It is no surprise that the biggest businesses in the city of Miami Beach belong to the Hospitality and Tourism industry. With luxurious hotels from the best-known companies and restaurants that have a waitlist of months, Miami Beach thrives on the business industry. The following three businesses are among the top of the city.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach:

“Fontainebleau Miami Beach has been around for a long time. It was founded back in 1954. This established company loves to hire graduates from Florida International University, with 22.1% of its employees having attended Florida International University. Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a great place to work and is featured as number 9 on Zippia’s list of Best Companies to Work for in Miami Beach, FL. The average employee at Fontainebleau Miami Beach makes $35,328 per year.”(Zippia).

Edition Hotels:

“EDITION Hotels is a relatively young company. It was founded only in 2011. This emerging company loves to hire graduates from the University of California – Davis, with 8.7% of its employees having attended the University of California – Davis. Despite its youth, EDITION Hotels has already established itself as a great place to work and is on Zippia’s list of Best Companies to Work for in Miami Beach, FL. Based in Miami Beach, FL, EDITION Hotels is a medium-sized hospitality company with 810 employees and a revenue of $175.0M.” (Zippia).

Estefan Enterprises:

“Founded in 1986, ESTEFAN ENTERPRISES is an established company that loves to hire graduates from Florida International University, with 34.6% of its employees having attended Florida International University. Want to compare ESTEFAN ENTERPRISES to some other great places to work in Florida? We suggest taking a look at Zippia’s list of Best Companies to Work For in Florida. Based in Florida, ESTEFAN ENTERPRISES is a medium-sized media company with 500 employees and a revenue of $26.6M.” (Zippia)

Summary

One of the best-known cities in the world, Miami Beach has a lot more to it than can ever be written on a single blog. From its amazing history and the complete transformation of its natural landscape to its busy beaches, clubs, hotels, and restaurants; there’s no other place in the world like Miami Beach. It is no surprise that people from all around the world come seeking to experience this city every year. Not only does it have paradisiacal beaches and magnificent weather, but it also is a melting pot of cultures. One can find businesses from all around the world, especially restaurants. Miami Beach has it all.

Citations

Ruby Leach Carson (1955). “Forty Years of Miami Beach” (PDF). Tequesta. Historical Association of Southern Florida. ISSN0363-3705 – via Florida International University.

Author: Oscar Roa

My name is Oscar Roa, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I'm a third-year mechanical engineering major from Bogotá, Colombia. Fun facts about me: I play the violin, I'm part of the FIU Powerlifting team. https://oscarmroag.wixsite.com/portfolio

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