Jeanine Prado: Miami as Text 2022-2023

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Hello, I’m Jeanine Prado. I am a sophomore 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 beautiful hometown, Miami.

Historic Miami as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Historically Beautiful”

By Jeanine Prado of FIU at Downtown Miami, September 7, 2022

One of my favorite stories to come out of Miami history is about William Wagner, Eveline Aimar, and their little family. Miami has always been recognized as a melting pot for multiple cultures and races; the Wagners might have been the first instance of that.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

The German man and French-Creole woman built one of the oldest structures in Miami. Within the structure lived a mixed family that were open to befriending the Seminoles; who their people told them were the enemies.  

The Wagners became the middle ground and further pushed the mixed population agenda here in Miami. I often am proud to see the place I come from be applauded for its inclusivity. The years between the Wagners and me cannot be erased nor can we ignore it; segregation happened, POC people were used as slaves and people died at the hands of others for the land. Miami has troubling history, like the rest of the U.S.A, but it was able to grow from that. Taking the life of the Wagners into example and advice from Julia Tuttle (a woman who defined Miami before it really became Miami) it became a beautiful and loved piece of land.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

To show its beauty a representative art piece sits off to the side of the government building. The shattered fruit bow fruit with orange slices and peels represent the chaotic city of Miami and applauds what makes it up.

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Looking at the art piece, you must understand Miami. Miami is not just a tourist spot nor is it just a party city nor is it a missing piece of Latin America; Miami is a world within itself that cannot be defined by one thing. The art piece reflects the notion that Miami has layers and pieces that make it up. I look at the art piece and see my Miami represented perfectly and I applaud the collaborators Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen for getting Miami right.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

In my opinion, one of the most defining pieces of architecture in Miami is the Freedom Tower. The tower, a copy of the Giralda Tower in Sevilla, is located on the border of downtown and does not look out of place even next to the FTX Arena or Bayside. It became the Freedom Tower in the 60’s when it was used as a place for Cuban refugees. Since then, it has represented freedom and opportunity. Its location could not be any more Miami-esque with the ocean right there and the party life waiting to start at Bayside.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Downtown has so much deep-rooted history that I did not know of but nonetheless it is beautiful. No matter how troubling the past is and how much making up we need to do, Miami is still a fast-paced city that has changed so much for the better of its people. As you walk through the streets of downtown you can really see how Miami has developed and changed as a city and as a community overall. My love for this city grows the more I learn about it. 

Overtown & Hialeah as Text

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“As time goes on, things change.” 

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Overtown and Hialeah, September 21, 2022

I just turned 20 and looking back at my life 5 years ago, it was nothing like it is now. I look older, I have new friends, a new dog and have a different view of life. As time passes, we experience change, and it is often necessary.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Overtown, Miami’s most overlooked and under appreciated part, is a victim of change; not completely good change. Gentrification has led to massive changes within the area. The idea of gentrification seems great because it can better a poor area, but it causes a lot of problems for the inhabitants of the area. As homes get bought out, businesses get rebuilt and expressways go over the town, more people end up leaving than staying around; they cannot keep up with the standard of living.  

Great Bethel church still stands but is in danger of being bulldozed and replaced by something trendier. As one of the first established and organized dominions in Overtown it is important to many but as the surrounding area gets replaced and people get pushed out, less and less people are there to save the church.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Mrs. Alberta Godfrey talked beautifully about her experience and how as a realist she came to terms with the change. Even though it breaks her heart to see the things she grew up with leave it is just a part of life. Even with a realist mind she shows her hope that at least her church can stay strong and stay as a haven for those who remain.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

It is comforting knowing that some things will stay around. Great Bethel church is an example as well as Jackson Soul Food. A restaurant that has not lost its roots is exactly what an area like Overtown needs. Its food and culture remind people of where they come from and gives them a sense of familiarity. The restaurant is still at risk, even if presidents like Clinton visited it. Overtown is not considered historical and does not have the same level of respect as other parts of Miami. The history of Overtown will always be at risk unless we fight to keep it alive. Overtown is important for the formulation of the melting pot Miami id and without it we would be missing a huge part of Miamian history.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Hialeah Park is an abandoned hidden gem in Miami. Historically known for its horse racing and pink flamingos, it now welcomes a group of gamblers. Things changed and slowly we lost things that once made Miami.  

Winston Churchill, Britian’s Prime Minister (1940-1945), was quoted as saying “Extraordinary!” The moment he looked upon the racetrack. Standing in a similar place I can see the beauty that he saw. The vast field had its natural charm, and the flamingoes added a sense of exoticness that could not be found anywhere else.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

It is funny how time works. Barely a year before I was born, racing horses became illegal, and it halted the traffic that was coming to Hialeah Park. Only a year difference and not once was I told about it. Now 20 years later is when I got to find this beautiful piece of history. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I wish that a lot of these pieces of history would have stayed. How exceptional would it be to see a jazz singer in Lyric Theatre or have a drink at Hialeah Park while races happened (not horses)? Miami history would not be at such a risk to be lost.  

Miami is dependent on its history to make it what it is. Some things need to be saved and kept around because without them Miami would become nothing more than another city with nothing too special about it.  

Biscayne Bay/ Chicken Key as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“The Kingdom of Chicken Key” 

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Chicken Key, October 5, 2022

In no way am I an environmentalist; the only thing I really do is recycle and to some extent I am not the best at it. I have never thought or really cared about the land around me that is not in my immediate reach. I never really cared or wanted to.  

To be honest, when we were told that we were going to be cleaning up Chicken Key (the uninhabited island off Biscayne Bay) I was not too excited. Do not get me wrong, I wanted to go and help a bit but more selfishly I wanted to go so I can be in the water, kayak, and tan a bit. It was wrong of me to think that; to avoid the obvious help that the environment needs. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I was not an environmentalist prior to reaching the island but once we got there and I saw how that island was and I became one. I wanted nothing more than to pick up every ounce of trash and leave that island looking brand new. I even went around the island looking for anything that could have been missed. It is sad to see how much of the island suffers after a hurricane or due to uncaring individuals. It was like the mangroves were begging for our help.  

I decided that this land is important and not for business/ entertainment purposes (f*** the Whole Foods in Downtown) but for historical and grounding purposes. I want to see Chicken Key become something beautiful on its own. I want no one to touch it in any harmful way. I want to find other islands like Chicken Key and protect those as well. 

There’s also history there. A long time ago the island was not full of trash and was inhabited by the Tequesta. Alongside the Tequesta there was natural wildlife that was living there peacefully. The waters were clear, and the tribe was safe. Ruining this island would ruin its history and everyone would forget about it. I am glad this island is almost completely unknown because then there is less effort to ruin it and make it into a tourist attraction or hang out spot.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Nothing beats looking out and seeing the clear water and thinking about how far the next island is or if I could swim to Cuba. There is this peace and tranquility that could only be matched by clear, calm waters and uninhabited shores. Chicken Key has these qualities, and it should be cared for.  

If it were more accessible, I would often take the chance to go out there and enjoy the natural beauty for at least a few hours. The kayak ride and then the time on the island make for the perfect day and or afternoon, especially if all you want to do is escape for a little while.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Also, the Caribbean is seen as such a tourist trap because it has been made to be one. Islands like Cuba and the Dominican Republic close their beaches off to the inhabitants there to save it for the tourists. The Bahamas has islands owned by cruise lines and has the natives working the stands not enjoying the natural beauty of their home. I feel like this is an issue no one seems to talk about, and it might be too late to fix it but as someone who grew up surrounded by the Caribbean and has family literally living on an island, I feel like people need to realize that were taking away the beauty of these places and using it for monetary gain.  

Vizcaya as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Deering’s Dionysus Dream” 

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Vizcaya, October 19, 2022

It’s unknown if James Deering lived his life exactly like he wanted to, but we can easily say he lived spectacularly. I bet that’s what Pope John Paul II said to President Reagan after walking through the beautiful home that is James Deering’s Vizcaya; at least that’s what I would have said.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0
Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Latest technology was necessary for both Deering’s, but James seemed to immediately fit it into his house. A telephone booth, elevators, vacuums, refrigerators and dumb waiters are just some of the things that he managed to incorporate into his Miami home. No one could imagine living so modernly at the time and people would often visit him with a sense of awe for the newest of the new. In his elaborate rooms (that he literally pluck out of Europe like the four walls and and roof) he could discuss all his new things and further his popularity among visitors. In his dark study with the giant painting of his kids (but not his kids) he can play the part of serious, intimidating businessman while just a secret bookshelf door away his real friends are drinking and smoking the time until he can join them again and be the oh-so-wanted James Deering.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Vizcaya’s prized possession which is cherished more now, probably more than before, is the garden. Though something inherently simple with orchids, eucalyptus and various bushes have intricate details spread throughout. The maze and mini arena are randomly placed of the side of the garden and the statue of Luda is almost to hidden to find it. Its oddly romantic with lovers benches placed around and fountains lining the rows. Deering could not have owned something more subtly romantic and high status and incredible.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

James Deering was a maximist. His style did not match his brother’s Charles who had a much humbler living style when compared to James. He always had to go to an extreme; his house, his energy and his general being could never be described as simple. I could understand him; why be boring when you could be the moment.  

My favorite little thing in Deering’s home is right in the entrance (technically the back entrance) and that is the Dionysus statue over the bathtub. It quite literally encapsulates the message Deering wants to convey to his visitors; let loose and enjoy life. It almost compares to the often to seen Jesus/ religious figures that show that the house is ‘holy’ and ‘protected’.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Even as a white rich man, James Deering seems to define Miami perfectly. His avant-garde approach to life and his extremist style matches the general idea of Miami as a city and home. To the people who live here we see Miami as our place of expression with street art, cultural events and mixed homes. Through Vizcaya one can get a small taste of what Miami and all is inhabitants are.  

I believe that instead of an Our Father or a Hail Mary, James Deering would say: 

‘Dionysus, I beg, plague me with your drunken spirit, free me of my heavy heart, let me revel in your happiness, I beg’ 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Miami Beach as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Magnetic Miami” 

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Miami Beach, November 2, 2022

“It is Paris that makes one feel poetic, Rome that makes one feel heroic, yet it is Miami that makes one feel young.”   

Pietros Maneos

Being new to Miami is always a culture shock to people; especially when they arrive at South Beach. They have this idea of partying, neon lights and a never-ending beach and while that is something you find, those people often look over the importance and history embedded there. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

My cousin, a month away from her thirties and barely living life outside of communist Cuba, jumped the border to come live with us in Miami. Of course, she came with the basic idea of what Miami was and how it was going to look. She did not expect to fall in love with it. 

It was like Gianni Versace’s story. A fashion driven queer man from Milan who was passing by instantly fell in love with Miami Beach. The sexiness and loudness of the wonderous beach district attracted him and left him with a dire need to be there; just a street separating the beach. He did not expect to fall in love with it, but he did. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Obviously, Miami Beach has more to offer than a beach and a few tourist spots to line it. There is a mix of architecture, one-of-a-kind locations and insane art pieces. It is very avant-garde and conceptually overwhelming but nonetheless it works for Miami. A surplus of art deco, the Scarface staircase from the chainsaw scene, a giant ball sculpture and Versace mansion all sound completely random and unfitting together but the flow in the natural sense of Miami.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

It is quite incredible how many ways Miami can be represented and described. It is a given that Miami Beach is going to be the first thing one talks about and where most people try to vacation, but it also has the trivial things to talk about; things that could never be forgotten once experienced. The Clevelander, the News Café and basically anything down Ocean Drive fall under those little things. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, once said “I don’t know how anyone lives in Miami…Because no one goes to sleep.”

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0
Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

He’s right; New York may never sleep, but Miami must never stop. It feels like anywhere, especially at Miami Beach there are people enjoying some aspect of life here. Have it be those biking down Lummus Park or waiters enjoying the outdoor breeze, there is always something. Miami Beach is beautiful in that way; nothing is worth not enjoying. Everywhere you look there is something amazing and enjoyable about it. Like a giant ball sculpture between two buildings or the tiny details in art deco designs, or the pier looking over South Pointe and even buildings that look like boats.  

There has always been a reason Miami was so dreamed about that it even made a man move from Europe to reside there. It is the place itself, having something setting it apart from the rest and its people celebrating that.  

“Miami is one of these great places that is a really sensual, physically beautiful place.”

Michael Mann
Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Deering Estate as Text

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“Plane Crashes and Butterflies”

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Deering Estate, November 16, 2022

I was raised in the outdoors; from freshly cut back lawn grass to open natural spaces. I always was a curious child; I asked too many questions and tried to reach every inch of every place. That made me a little troublemaker as I easily would wander off in search of a new thing or new adventure.  

At 20, an age where I know people spend more time inside than out, I choose to remain the same. I prefer the outdoors with the breeze hitting me and the sun blazing. It seems like the perfect place to me.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Deering Estate is 80% nature and 20% indoor space. Charles Deering wanted to keep the original nature alive in his Miami home. He kept the original cottage, Richmond Cottage and built himself a Sitges-replica home right next to it. A beautiful basin sits peacefully with manatees swimming happily. Surrounding the buildings there is Miami nature all around but the real wonders lie past a fence not open to the general public.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I hate restrictions and knowing there were things to see past a fence on Deering Estate it made me wonder what could possibly be on the other side. When the chance presented itself to get past the fence on Charles Deering’s humble estate and into his preserved nature reserve, I took it.  

Once the class started our walk with Anna and Bailly knew I was going to love what we were doing. Going to the mangroves and the rock and seeing all the different landscapes was something I will never probably experience ever again. And I could go on about how many things I saw, how preserved it was and how beautiful it was, but I’m going to focus on two key things: the cocaine cowboy plane crash and the Atala butterfly. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

The cocaine cowboy plane crash is so Miami that not much else compares to it. Crashing in about the early 1990s, this small plane was used to carry the thing that made Miami cocaine. I hate to say that where I grew up was made on the drug business but that’s the truth. Before the 80s and the rise of the cocaine business Miami was much more of a quiet place. Mangroves surrounded it and people like Charles Deering came there to vacation. Even the beaches were men made rather than being nature’s own doing. I love the idea that a random plane used to carry illegal substances was abandoned in a mangrove forest and was slowly losing bit by bit. It reminds me just how odd Miami is in a way. It’s so full of people from so many different places and there’s so much to do in so much to see here that people often don’t know what to do. Weirdly I fear I feel a connection to the plane not because I’m a drug mule nor because I’m stuck in a mangrove forest but because it’s still there; the plane is still in Miami and will be for a while.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Now the Atala butterfly. Now I bet that most people are going to have the butterfly as a footnote in their blogs (I could be wrong) but I want to highlight it. This specific species of butterfly was thought to have been gone forever and most people thought they’d never see it again. It’s sad to think that a butterfly so beautiful could have easily been forgotten. Its black body makes it seem almost unspecial, but it has this beautiful orange red body and small blue details that make it more than spectacular; that makes it stand out. Deering Estate has been able to do something special. They were able to plant species of plants that thrive in Miami and allow a space for these butterflies and possibly other animals to come back and make themselves known. Having these native plants and giving them a space to thrive, let’s Miami thrive. Knowing that these butterflies are now native to here and probably will live here forever gives me a certain satisfaction and happiness that I am glad to have. 

I know that this blog was supposed to be about Charles Deering and his estate, and I was supposed to talk about how he was a rich man who couldn’t get a lighthouse, so he added a light to his porch or how he was in the agriculture business. I think his efforts in saving Miami native nature needs to be highlighted more than anything. Decades later I get to enjoy the real Miami because of him, and I thank him for that. 

Rubell Museum as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Finding a New Passion”

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Rubell Museum, November 23, 2022

Rubell museum is a one-of-a-kind place. A collection of contemporary art made over decades by a dedicated art loving couple. Their collection has grown to extents that have allowed them to have two museums and they are proud to open it to the public. Walking around the place you can see the love and appreciation that went into this collection. After meeting Mera Rubell, I realized just how much all those pieces meant. I saw the magic she was talking about in every room I walked through. She inspired me to be open and enjoy art, not question it.  

Some art pieces I loved were: 

Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Room and Narcissus Garden 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Kusama’s art pieces are simple but profound. The narcissus garden is so inspirational as it allows the viewer to look at themselves and really think about what they see. It inspires us to look further into ourselves without doing much. Each room installed there gives you curiosity and has you look for an answer but without asking a question. Kusama perfectly immerses the people into the art and leaves a lasting effect from it. 

Keith Harring – Figures with Hearts 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Keith Harring is a graffiti artist who found success in simple designs. This piece, one you can see across the museum from the entrance, stands out and calls for attention with the big bright red heart. His figures, famous around the world, are dancing in front of the heart. There is no message and there is no set idea. It is just a painting to admire and enjoy. I love to just look at it as it simply brings me joy; reminds me to just love and enjoy anything in my life.  

Urs Fischer, Sarah Lucas, Kaari Upson – Untitled 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I am a secret romantic always hoping to see happily ever after and I always try to find the romance in random pieces. This piece to me represents the sadder side to love which is destined lovers who have yet to meet. The candles and flames represent people and their connection. The spinning sticks represent their proximity, and the circle represents the days that pass by without each other. I know their story has a sadder ending because they will never meet but still there is hope they will. Something I noticed later was that the shorter stick had wax on it, which means their paths have crossed but they have yet to discover each other. It is a complicated piece with no set meaning but this is the one I personally gave it.  

Barbara Kruger, et al. – The Pictures Generation (MY FAVORITE!!) 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I genuinely was immersed in these pieces. I have always loved photography and thought that a captured snippet of time could show so much. In these three pieces, there is something so classic but also not about the pieces. The pieces are so simple and have almost nothing going on in them, but it still has me entranced. I never concluded what it was or what it means, but I like it; I keep thinking about it and loving it at the same time. Like Mera Rubell said, art finds you and it is up to you to figure out how you feel about it and what it is telling you.  

Untitled as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Unique and Untitled”

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Untitled, November 30, 2022

In Miami in Miami, I have learned a lot but mostly I found a new passion; art!  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Miami Beach Art Basel is a prestigious event that I never thought I would go to. Untitled, though not technically Art Basel, was a taste of the art fair. Galleries upon galleries but together in a giant tent right on Miami Beach is an impressive sight.  

Once walking inside, you feel the eccentric artist and snobby richness of the people walking around. I almost felt out of place in my Urban Outfitters top and Forever 21 boots, yet I still involved myself as if I were one of those people. I pretended that I dropped $45 and gathered every piece of art knowledge I had and took a lap around the tent.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

I walked around like I had millions to spend and as if I knew everything there was to making art. It did me well as I was able to fully immerse myself in this experience. 

The three galleries we visited as a class were interesting and each had a specific aspect that I enjoyed. 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Emerson Dorsch 

The man who founded it, Brook Dorsch, intrigued me. He made something so big from just a love of art and a small apartment.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

When I asked him if he remembered his first exhibit ever, he laughed and said, ‘of course I do.’ He told me it was a group of his friends just showing whatever they could in his apartment. He laughed again when he told me that none of those friends were ‘real artist.’ It was great seeing someone who was not scared of failing and just wanted to share art with others.  

Kates-Ferri Projects 

Founded by Natalia Kates with her husband, this exhibit aims to represent anyone who has struggled to find representation. Natalia Kates spoke very passionately about representation and how important it was to give these people a chance, especially since society many times has not. 

There were powerful pieces shown there that really represented POC and women. It puts into perspective how beautiful life can be and how everyone’s life can be depicted similarly but also differently. I personally loved the clay airplane windows piece. It is something everyone can relate to and see their own perspective  

Dimensions Variable 

My favorite of the three; this gallery specializes in pieces that celebrate contemporary and how simple objects and ideas can amass too so much.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

The artist who spoke, Magnus Sigurdarson, is eccentric and views life as something fun and enjoyable. I loved him and how he talked about his art and how it is something he wants people to be mesmerized by. He also talked so nonchalantly about his work as if it were something so easy for him. Actually, now writing this I look up to the man; I want to be him. I want to regularly wear sunglasses on my head and produce completely random art pieces that people just love for no reason other than it is just fun and interesting. 

Chosen Neighborhood as Text

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

“Florida’s Riviera” 

by Jeanine Prado of FIU at Sunny Isles Beach, December 10, 2022

Chosen Neighborhood: Sunny Isles Beach 

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

The word riviera is defined by Merriam Webster as a coastal region frequented as a resort area and usually marked by a mild climate. Sunny Isles Beach is exactly that. 

I went to Sunny Isles Beach with my little brother and my two cousins who recently came from Cuba. None of us had ever been to this beach and we were expecting something like South Beach especially since Sunny Isles Beach is in North Miami Beach. We were pleasantly surprised by how it differed from South Beach. 

Sunny Isles is luxurious (obviously as the Ritz Carlton and TWO Trump towers are right next to the beach entrance) but it is relaxing and casual. It is as if you grabbed all the best aspects of Miami Beach and put it up North.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

We started our day normally by waking up early (but leaving way later than expected) and heading to Publix to buy too many snacks. We then headed to the beach taking the expressway for a lot longer than I expected and circled for parking for a good twenty minutes. Once we parked, all four of us filled our hands with the things we brought and walked down to the public beach. As soon as we touched the sand and looked at the gorgeous blue water, we knew we would love this beach.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

The beach itself is nothing short of stunning. The water was a mix of light blues that had the light reflect nicely on it. The sand was smooth and was a satisfying off white. The beach felt like one that would appear in my dreams. With almost no people on the small public beach and free shade from a classy hotel, we could enjoy the beach as if it were just there for us four.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

Everywhere I go I try to friend something unique or interesting about the place; no matter how big or small it is. Something interesting about Sunny Isles is the Newport Fishing Pier. It is huge and is open to the public. It also homes a casual restaurant that almost seems out of place next to the tall hotels.  

Photo by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

It is interesting just how Sunny Isles contradicts itself since most the hotels and restaurants go over three-dollar signs and has obviously rich people going in and out of them but at the same time regular people were just walking around and enjoying their day. It brings a nice balance to city life, proving just how special Miami is.  

In the end we decided that Sunny Isles Beach was a place worth driving to and enjoying a long day on the beach. Even on a Saturday and with a small worry of the wind, we fell in love with the beach. After skim boarding, getting in the water, playing futbol and volleyball and just lazily laying out on the beach, we decided our day was more than perfect. It left us satisfied, calm and pleasantly tired; something we all needed.  

Video by Jeanine Prado / CC by 4.0

My Miami as Text

“Mi Miami Maravilloso”

by Jeanine Prado at Miami, FL, December 11, 2022

“Miami is too bright and colorful to miss.”

Anshula Varma  

Recently my cousin was talking to me about how she has found the United States but especially Miami. In movies and shows, many other cities are shown as these amazing cities that have everything to offer but Miami is always shown as the party or vacation spot. It is undermined and targeted as one thing. I never understood why but I like proving just how amazing it is. My cousin, who always dreamed of being in New York, recently said “yo no pensaba que Miami me iba encantar tanto.” Nothing made me happier than hearing that as I really tried to take her everywhere and have her experience Miami in all types of aspects.  

Personally, I cannot love a place more than the one I am from. Of all the places I have been to (some multiple times) I have never found a place I love as much as Miami. Some people call me a ‘Miami girl’ and I happily agree as I could never see myself anywhere else.  

Miami is unique, something that you will not find anywhere else; sometimes it is a good and bad thing but a balance always needs to exist. In one of the biggest cities in Florida, so much has happened over time.  

What really gave Miami a name and what it then became known famously for is the drugs & nightlife. Movies like Scarface showed just how influenced Miami was by the drug life. Even at Deering Estate you could see a cocaine Cowboys plane crashed within the mangroves; the plane was left entirely and the one thing that those people saved were the kilos of cocaine. Through this Miami game gained the stigma of being a party city and while it is still true there is so much more that makes up Miami then just night clubs and substances. 

Miami welcomes people from all around. It is a ‘melting pot’ of cultures and is a place where many feel safe to be in and build a life. Even if the stereotype is a bunch of Cubans, which is partially true, there are many people who come from other parts of Latin America and The Caribbean and Europe. If you look around Miami you will discover just how mixed it is. So many people I know come from mixed families like a Nicaraugan-Puerto Rican and Cuban-Dominican. The mix of these cultures makes Miami so special and like no other place because there is something for everybody. I will never get tired of meeting new people, finding out where they come from and listening to their story; Miami allows me to do that easily. 

One more thing I want to talk about is the beaches. Miami is often chosen as a vacation spot for our famous beach. That beach is so much more than a beach, it is a place with deep roots in history. First that it was man-made and it used to have a forest of mangroves and after being cleared out now it only homes sand, ocean, and thousands of tourists. The buildings unique to South Beach are art deco and that style has yet to be replicated to the level it is here. The neon lights funky buildings and intense atmosphere makes it stand out from other beach towns and major cities. In Miami Beach you find all who call that place home, tourists, famous people, dreamers and more. 

Overall, Miami is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. From unique museums (Vizcaya, Rubell Art) to beautiful beaches and amazing people, Miami is a perfect place to be. I love the place I came from and even if I cannot change all the terrible things about it, I still accept them because it is my home, the place I feel right in and the place I will never leave. 

“It’s the kind of place you say, ‘That could never be me,’ and then it is. It’s a temptation that’s almost irresistible… but across the causeway, there are other worlds, older worlds, I think it’s safe to say, better ones.”

Parts Unknown (the Miami episode)

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