My name is Tammy Gomez and I am a Junior at Florida International University, and also, part of the Honors College. I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and I just moved to Miami for Fall 2021. My favorite hobby is to play tennis and I also love to hang out with friends. I am majoring in International Business my plan is once I finish my Bachelor’s degree get a little of job experience and then, start my Master’s Degree.
South Beach is a neighborhood located in Miami Beach which is a city on a barrier island connected through bridges to the city of Miami. It goes from South Pointe Park in the north until Dade Boulevard and 24th Street. South beach is one of the many beaches of Miami Beach and is at the end of the island. Its waters from the east are from the Atlantic Ocean and from the west is Biscayne Bay. South beach is very famous because of its restaurants, architecture, and celebrities that you can find on Ocean Drive. Ocean Drive is a street within this neighborhood.
Carl Fisher discovered South Beach in 1910. Miami Beach was infested y mosquitos and it was a “swampy land”. No one would have bet for that land to be the destination that is nowadays. However, Fisher saw the potential of this land and that’s why he bought a holiday home at first, and soon after bought the whole land.
Before the development of the city of Miami happened, Miami used to be a small city where everyone knew each other no matter their ethnicity. After the railroad was built and Fisher created Miami Beach, things changed. Seminoles, Bahamians, and Afro-American people were banned from these lands and whites stayed. It is important to know how Miami Beach was created and the people that first lived in this part of the city.
Miami Beach was a mangrove-populated barrier island, it was not a swamp as many people think. In 1913, John Collins built the first bridge to Miami Beach with the help of Carl Fisher who also started the development of this land as a resort and paradise. This led to the destruction of the mangroves and the marine life that existed around the mangroves. The “Flamingo Hotel” was built by Carl Fisher for prospective residents could live there while they were waiting for their mansions to be built. Fisher advertised Miami Beach as a “paradise for sale” and he obtained the welcome he wanted.
The neighborhood has a very authentic architecture of Art Deco, Mediterranean style, and Memo. It has the world’s largest Art Deco architecture in the world located between 5th street and 27th street. This architecture is characterized by having pastel colors and geometric figures.
The population of South beach is of 3,429 people in 2018 according to the projections of the Census. The population instead of increasing as most people may think, it has decreased from the last Census projection made in 2010. It has decreased by 2.06% (the population was 3,501). The average household income is $257,349, which is a high average income, but as the neighborhood is high class, the average income is also expected to be high.
The median age in South Beach is 69 years old, 71.4 for males and 69 for females. Almost a third of the adults who live in South beach are elders. The ratio between male and female is 44.71% and 55.29% respectively. Almost the entire population of South beach is white with a percentage of 99.1, and for other races the percentage is 0.9.
Interview with a current resident:
Raphaela Garces is a 22-year-old woman who is a junior at FIU and her major is in nutrition. Raphaela is from Quito, Ecuador and just moved to South Beach four months ago.
What do you like the most about living in South Beach?
“I like that I have the beach very near from me and that I can go whenever I want. There’s a boardwalk where I can go for a run and here in South Beach you can find more like a family environment as there are not as many young people as there are in Brickell or Midtown, I also like that there is a bay where boats pass every day. It is really beautiful because I can see the sunrise and the sunsets. I also like that where I like is not very near from Ocean Drive so there is not as much movement as there is in that street. Therefore, I have everything near to me like supermarkets or gas stations.”
What do you like the least about living in South Beach?
“I don’t like to cross the bridge every day, it is very far and sometimes I have to wait until the bridge is closed so I can pass through it and that’s time-consuming. Also, I have to pass through tolls every time I have to go out and get back because if not it would take me more than an hour to come to FIU.”
Is there too much traffic in this neighborhood?
“There’s not always traffic except from 8-9 am and after 5 pm because it’s “after office” and many people are returning from their work or vice versa. It is horrible either going out or coming in from the highway.”
Would you recommend this place to live?
“I think it depends on the person, if they want a more residential zone, I would recommend them to go a little bit up north in Miami Beach. Also, it’s expensive to come here as it is a touristic place so your living expenses will increase if you come to live in South beach.”
The Villa casa Casuarina
The Villa Casa Casuarina, most known as “The Versace Mansion”, was the home of the Italian man Gianni Versace. Versace was a businessman and a fashion designer. In a contrast to the Art Deco architecture that is the most famous in Miami Beach, this mansion follows a Mediterranean Revival style. The great Gianni Versace was killed in front of his mansion in 1997. Afterward, the mansion was bought in 2000 and serves as a hotel and restaurant nowadays. It even offers the suite where Versace used to live, so this is a great option for someone who wants to see how this fashion icon used to live 25 years ago.
The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU
The Jewish Museum is the only place that collects data and documents about the Jewish in Florida and their history from about 250 years ago. This museum also has had a partnership with FIU since 2012 and this partnership helps both FIU and the museum share their resources and information. It is located in the SoFi area, it’s an eight-minute walk from Ocean Drive. Even though there were many Jews in Florida at the time Miami Beach was starting to be advertised as a resort, they were not welcomed in Miami Beach. There were many signs which said that Jews were not welcomed as “Gentile only”. Jews were not allowed to live on the 5th street and up north. That’s why the synagogue they had at the time was between the 3rd and 4th street until 1986 when they changed the location to where is nowadays located.
The Browns Hotel is located at 112 Ocean Drive and is the oldest hotel in South Beach and even in Miami Beach. This hotel was built in 1915 with art deco architecture. The hotel has 2 floors; Initially, it had thirty-six rooms available for the hotel, however, the first floor was given to a steakhouse named Prime 112. The second floor only has nine rooms and those rooms are the ones available for clients who want to spend the night at the hotel.
Lummus Park is a famous park and beach located between the 5th and 15th street of Ocean Drive. This 74-acre park has many palm trees that give people shade and many benches where people can sit and have a nice morning and afternoon. The park opens at sunrise and closes when the sunsets.
This park has 34 acres of land. It is smaller than the Lummus Park but here you can find 2 pool areas. The eight-lap swimming pool is kept at a warm temperature all year so anyone can swim in it without having any trouble because it’s cold. Anyone can come and enjoy these pools. This park also has many courts and fields for different sports including tennis, baseball, football, soccer, and running, where people can rent them if they want by contacting the park.
Collins Park is between the Holocaust memorial and the beach. This park is six miles away from Ocean Drive, which is a 15-minute drive due to traffic. It is located in the northeastern part of South Beach which is the start of this neighborhood. Also, the Bass Museum of Art is located in this park. It opens from 7 am which is the sunrise until 7 pm which is when the sunsets. This park was donated in 1914 by John S. Collins in 1914.
There are different options for public transportation in South Beach. There is the Metrobus, the Miami Beach Trolley, and the Miami Beach Airport Express. The Metrobus is one of the most famous and well-known for everyone who resides in the Miami Beach area. This bus costs $2.25 each trip or $5.65 for a one-day pass and it is available 365 days a year. The Miami Beach Airport express is like the Metrobus, but this bus only takes you to the Miami International Airport, and it also costs $2.25. Finally, the best alternative if you want to go from the north of Miami Beach to the South many times on the same day is to take the Miami Beach Trolley which is free. This Trolley operates 15 hours a day starting from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Depending on where you want to go you can take the different trolleys there are and see the routes for each trolley at the Miami Beach website.
There is always the option to go by car and park at the many public parking lots there exists like South Beach Parking, Miami Beach Municipal Garage, or Pelican Garage Parking. It is recommended to see in Google Maps which parking lot is near where you want to go so you can park there and not walk much.
Mama’s Tacos Latin Restaurant Miami Beach
This is a Latin restaurant and is in charge of making every customer feel the Latin vibe that this restaurant has. Every plate of food is freshly made and serves Mexican food. The colors of the chairs and walls resemble the colors of Mexican restaurants and the Latin music makes y0ou feel like you were in Mexico. This is a very famous restaurant of South Beach and is a place every tourist should visit if they are in the area.
Il Pastaiolo Italian Restaurant Miami Beach
This restaurant offers Italian gourmet food. It offers old traditions that will never change and is located on Collins Avenue. One of the owners of the restaurant came from Italy in 1999 and with his idea and vision of having homemade food with the best ingredients that they could find, the restaurant is what is nowadays. The hours of operation are from 12 pm until 11:30 pm on weekdays, and Fridays and Saturdays are from 12 pm until 12:30 am.
PLANTA | South Beach
According to VegNews “Planta is the hottest celeb spot in South Beach… and it’s totally vegan”. Planta is the ideal place to have lunch or dinner if your diet is plant-based as all of its plates are 100% vegan; or if you want to have dinner next to a celeb, this might be the place for you! Many worldwide-known movie stars and singers like Vanessa Hudgens and Pharrell have come to PLANTA.
Garcia Nevett is a business created by two sisters named Susana and Isabel Garcia. These sisters are Venezuelan and have a love for chocolate, they have perfected their skills in making chocolates in their home country and in France. Then, they opened their business in Miami combining it now with the flavors of South Florida. This is a very popular chocolate in Miami and is considered to be in the Top 10 chocolates in the USA by Time Out.
U Rock Couture
U Rock is a boutique of clothes of name-brand jeans and dresses. It is located on Ocean Drive, so this makes it really difficult to miss it. This glam boutique offers different types of styles than usually seen in common boutiques, that’s one of the qualities that U Rock Couture has and part of what makes it special!
The Fillmore Miami Beach
The Fillmore Miami Beach is a theater located in Miami Beach. Here you can find a legendary venue with special events. It has the art deco of Miami beach, but also it has a rock and roll vibe. It was used to host the 1950s and 1960s shows, but now the theater is used for events such as private concerts or cocktail receptions, or music acts and comedy.
South Beach, or SoBe as many calls it, is a very touristic neighborhood known worldwide. This neighborhood is very famous for its architecture Memo, Mediterranean and Art Deco. Art deco is characterized by having heavy geometric influences and shapes, and either vibrant and shine or pastel colors. It is not a quiet neighborhood, but it is very important when visiting Miami and learning a little bit about its history. Fisher was the one who discovered this land and transform it from a mangrove populated land to what it is nowadays, the people who built Miami Beach are Afro-American, Afro-Bahamian, and Seminoles which were then banned from Miami Beach. It is also important to remember that South Beach is not the same as Miami Beach, South Beach is just a neighborhood inside Miami Beach.
“About US – Garcia Nevett Chocolates in Miami.” Garcia Nevett Chocolatier De Miami, https://garcianevett.com/pages/about-us_chocolates_miami.
Bernstein, Fred A. “Browns Hotel in Miami Beach.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Jan. 2005, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/travel/browns-hotel-in-miami-beach.html.
“Citywide Free Trolley.” City of Miami Beach, https://www.miamibeachfl.gov/city-hall/transportation/trolley/.
“Flamingo Park in Miami Beach: South Beach, FL.” MiamiandBeaches.com, https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/parks-recreation/flamingo-park/2982.
“Il Pastaiolo – Trattoria Gourmet.” Il Pastaiolo South Beach, https://ilpastaiolosouthbeach.com/.
“Mama’s Tacos – Homemade Mexican Food.” Mamas Tacos, https://mamastacosmiamibeach.com/.
“South Beach, Florida Population 2022.” South Beach, Florida Population 2022 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs), https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/south-beach-fl-population.