Carolina Echeverri Valle: Miami Springs 2022

Student Bio

Photograph taken by Lucy Logan/CC by 4.0

Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamber of Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, and Broward County. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.



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Image taken from Google Maps

The city of Miami Springs is in Miami-Dade County, located in the state of Florida. Miami Springs was established on August 08, 1926 and is located at 25°49’20″N 80°17’22″W (25.8223200, -80.2895000) (Mapsofnet). It has an area of 7.76 km2, an altitude of 7 feet/ 2 meters and a density of 1,769 Pop. per km² as of 2020 (Mapsofnet). This 2.9-square-mile, triangular-shaped city is located “in the heart of it all”, as it’s “bordered by Miami International Airport, the City of Hialeah, the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley” (About Miami Springs).  It’s an attractive place to live, and visit, as it has a great location and it has amenities that are family-oriented, such as tennis courts, municipal pool, parks, golf course, among others (About Miami Springs).

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Miami Springs or “The Springs” as people refer to it nowadays is part of the early history of Miami. It was the 5th city to be incorporated after other major cities: Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Hialeah. Its name changed from “Country Club Estates” to “Miami Springs”, because of the natural springs that were once located in the area (History of Miami Springs). 

In 1926, the first mayor and council were elected, governing for a population of 1128 residences. The history of Miami Springs heavily impacted the history of aviation in South Florida. Glenn H. Curtiss purchased 17,000 acres of land in 1916 that was intended to be used to start a flying school. That’s why the city is located so close to the Miami International Airport, which is the main large airport serving the Dade County (History of Miami Springs).

Miami Springs no longer has natural springs, because the Miami canal and the massive canal projects altered the landscape and drastically decreased the pressure that would force water up the Biscayne Aquifer (History of Miami Springs). Something that is important to consider is that “In order for the City of Miami to continue to grow a potable water supply was needed. The essential fresh water was found on the Miami Springs Golf Course property” (History of Miami Springs). 

The Miami Springs Golf Course played a vital part in the history of the city. It was the first golf course built in the Miami-Dade County. It was even the first golf course in Florida that allowed black individuals to play (History of Miami Springs). It’s hosted many important events, such as the Miami Open, local tournaments and celebrations. 


The United States Census Bureau is a crucial website when it comes to finding statistics for all towns, cities, states, and countries with a population over 5,000. The most updated statistics that we have on Miami Springs are of 2021. The 2021 population consisted of 13,859 people. From this, 8.6% are persons under 5 years, 19.0% are persons under 18 years, 20.8% are persons 65 years and over and 55.6% are females. When it comes to race and ethnicity, the highest percentages are white alone (81.3%) and Hispanic or Latino (77.7%). There are 416 veterans, and 52.0% foreign born persons in the city. When looking at education, 83.6% are high school graduates and 38.9% hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. The house prices are high in the state, making the median household income $65,910 (United States Census Bureau). 

Interview with Camila Valle (a resident of Miami Springs)

Photograph taken by Camila Valle/CC 4.0

Carolina: “Hi, can you please introduce yourself?”

Camila: “Hi my name is Camila Valle.”

Carolina: “How did you end up in Miami Springs?”

Camila: “I was actually born in Miami Springs, and my house has been in the family since my grandparents moved years ago.”

Carolina: “How would you describe Miami Springs?”

Camila: “I would describe it as a quiet and calm neighborhood. Very safe and family friendly. It is a tight community and you can feel the solidarity between the people and the small businesses.”

Carolina: “Are there any differences that you’ve noticed in your time living here?”

Camila: “I think Miami springs has grown over the years and has been modernized since I’ve been here. For example, they’re currently in the process of building an apartment complex, that would become the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. In addition the local market was just remodeled and it looks almost as a Whole Foods. The latest change I’ve seen is the opening of a Sushi Maki in the circle where there used to be a local restaurant.”

Carolina: “What’s your favorite thing about Miami Springs?”

Camila: “Definitely the feeling of community. Growing up there I met a lot of people and saw how interconnected many of the businesses, schools, churches, clubs and offices were. I’ve been part of the local community theatre, a youth group, taken classes in some of their gyms and yoga studios and have found a close knit community in each of them. Even the Starbucks baristas become your friends in Springs.”

Carolina: “What’s your least favorite thing about Miami Springs?”

Camila: “My least favorite thing would probably be how expensive it’s become. I know realistically I could not afford to live in a house here on my own or even in the new apartments. As much as I love the neighborhood it’s not as realistic to be able to live here right out of college unless of course I stay home.”

Carolina: “Thank you so much for your time!”


Miami Springs is home to some landmarks which include: The Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens, The Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens), The Miami Springs Historical Museum and the Clune-Standnik Building.

The Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion

This historic landmark in the City of Miami Springs can’t go unnoticed. It’s located at 500 Deer Run, in the golf course grounds and has a unique architectural style. This Pueblo Revival-style Mansion that was once owned by Glen H. Curtiss and is now part of the National Register of Historic Places (2001) and a Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1987). It was constructed in the 1920s by Martin Luther Hampton (who also designed the Miami Beach City Hall and the Congress Building in Downtown Miami) and was used for Curtiss to raise his family. Nowadays, it is owned by Curtiss Mansion, Inc. in representation of the city, and it’s used for meetings, private rentals, and a variety of celebrations. In addition, it hosts many local groups and free or low cost admission events open to the general public (Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens).

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

The Clune-Standnik Building

This building was constructed during the “Miami Country Club Estates” time back in the beginning of its history. It’s located at 45 Curtiss parkway or as some know it, “in the circle of the Springs”. It’s part of the National Register of Historic Places (1985), and Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1989). Since the building is 2 feet above the ground, it’s able to survive floods caused by hurricanes, as well as fires, buy-out attempts and burglaries. When it was first built, it was owned by the Curtiss-Bright Company and used for office spaces and local small business. Nonetheless, today it houses restaurants on the first floor and private offices on the second floor. A fun fact is that after all these years, the exterior has its original looks (Clune – Stadnik Building). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens)

This Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1984) is located on 201 Curtiss Parkway. It was built in the Pueblo Revival architectural style in 1926 by Glenn Curtiss and designed by Bernard E Muller. It was intended to begin the development of the Country Club Estates and attract potential homeowners to the Estates. In 1929, after the economic crash, Curtiss sold it to his friend, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to be developed as a health spa. At the time, there was a large amount of racial segregation. Yet, this didn’t stop Kellogg from allowing members who weren’t white to stay in the hotel. Kellogg also used this building to treat sick patients and develop soy-based food products. It was turned into a wellness facility  by Palms Spa Corporation in 1959, and finally to an elderly home  by Fairhavens Realty Corp (Hotel Country Club). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Miami Springs has many green spaces where people enjoy time with nature, which include the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club, Stafford Park, Miami Springs Bark Park, and Prince Field.

The Miami Springs Golf Course and Country Club

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

The Miami Springs Golf Course and Country Club is the largest green space in the city. Not only this, but it is one of the most visited spots. It’s located right in the center of Miami Springs and is divided up by a street. The 18-hole course was designed by Thomas ‘Tubby’ Martin and has 6,755 yards of golf. Holes 1-9 are located on the East side of the road and holes 10-18 are on the West side. The Golf and Country Club was established in 1923, making it the oldest golf course in Miami-Dade. The idea to construct a golf course was initially brought up by the Miami Coconuts Golf Committee, as they didn’t have a course to play on nor a clubhouse. After the different meetings they had, there was a lack of economic resources to construct the course. Hence, the Miami Springs Golf Course became Dade County’s first municipal golf course in 1923 (Miami Springs Golf & Country Club). The golf course attracts local, as well as traveling players from all different skill levels. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Bark Park

Miami Springs has a dog park, which is known as ‘Bark Park’, located on 599 Quail Avenue. This park allows dogs to roam around freely with no leash and enjoy the outdoors. The park has a variety of amenities for the dog owners and their dogs. It has benches around the park for the owners to sit down while their dogs are enjoying the park. It features a speedball field, a playground for kids, and four tee ball fields. The park is divided in two; one half for smaller dogs and other half for larger dogs. The dogs can enjoy ramps, obstacles and water fountains located around the park. “(…) many people claim that the park is well-maintained, quiet, and in a convenient location” (Miami Springs Bark Park). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Stafford Park

This beautiful park is located on the right side of Miami Springs at 501 East Dr., and it has: two soccer fields, one baseball field, one softball field, and a playground for kids. This park is very popular, due to the different sports games that are played here, such as baseball and soccer. The playground also has two gazebos and a tent for shade. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Miami Springs is a central city within Dade County, making it easy and quick to get there from most places in South Florida. To get to the Springs, you can also use the bus or the subway, and arrive at any of these stops: “…Westward Dr & Albatross St; N. Royal Poinciana & Oriole Ave; W 3 St & Palm Ave Hialeah; Okeechobee; Hialeah Market Station” (Moovit).The city is also located nearby a boat ramp off of NW 27th Avenue, which allows easy access to the city. People drive to the Springs too, as its close to two main highways: the Palmetto Expressway and State Road 112.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Many people within the city drive to their destinations. However, there are a lot of lanes for bicycles, skating, and walking. It also has its own transportation system: City Bus. It’s a free MS/VG shuttle bus which stops in Hialeah, and also offers a complimentary service to the Miami International Airport from the E.B. Hotel (Free MS/VG Shuttle). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Miami Springs has multiple restaurants that attract locals, as well as visitors. The plates they offer are varied and can adapt to any palate. 

Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro is a classic Miami Springs restaurant that you don’t want to miss. It has been open since the 90’s and it is part of “The Circle”. It’s known for its healthy and fresh ingredients. Their menu includes juices, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, melts and gyros. It’s also very affordable! The seating is on the outside patio (which has a roof for shade) in a café style. I recommend trying it!

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Crackers Casual Dining 

Crackers Casual Dining is a family-owned restaurant close to “The Circle” of Miami Springs. It serves Southern dishes with a Florida twist at affordable prices. The “vibe” of the place feels very Southern, allowing its customers to sit indoors, under their chicken hut surrounded by trees, or in their unique back garden. They serve lunch, dinner, and brunch, with products such as” burgers, soups, fish, and some mind-blowing sides (like the sweet potato casserole)” (Crackers Casual Dining). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Cozy Corner

Cozy Corner was founded over 20 years ago and is a staple restaurant in Miami Springs. It’s a Retro-Style mom-and-pop diner offering breakfast favorites and homestyle comfort food. It’s a classic American diner, with an authentic atmosphere. They offer breakfast and lunch specials, and they have different menus for different times of the day! Some of their plates include sandwiches, soups, chili, melts, wraps, salads, among others (Cozy Corner).

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Empire Boutique

This shop is located at 46 Westward Drive. They offer custom streetwear and vintage clothing. They often drop new merchandise. Some of their products are tees, bottoms, hats, vintage, décor, and accessories. The shop is very trendy looking, with a backdrop for customers to be able to take pictures (Empire Boutique). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Starlight Dance Studio

Starlight Studios is a company that offers a variety of classes, such as ballet, jazz, acrobatics, and ballroom, and they also have competition classes for children (Starlight Dance Studio). The competitions happen 4-5 times a year, and the regular classes choreograph a dance routine for their end of year recital. It’s located on 181 Westward Drive, on one of the main roads in the city. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Springs Dental

Springs Dental is a dental clinic run by Dr. Hansel Navarrete and Dr, Enrique A. Legon. They are known for their high oral care practice and their helpful staff. They offer all kinds of oral services, ranging from simple regular check-ups up to implant placements (Springs Dental). They are known for their affordable prices, friendly staff and “(…) providing and offering the latest technology in a state-of-the-art facility.” (Springs Dental)

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Even though Miami Springs has many pros as a city, it’s not perfect. The location is a plus, as it’s such a central city, filled with locally owned businesses, historical landmarks, green spaces, and beautiful homes. The environment is very tranquil and picturesque, with a rich history, as well as many amenities that cater to different ages. Hence, it’s a very well-rounded city. Conversely, the ethnic majority in the city is mostly Hispanics and Whites, with not much diversity. Minority groups, such as Asian or African American, aren’t very prevalent. In addition, it is a very small city so sometimes residents are forced to leave the borders to find other businesses or shops that they may need on their day-to-day.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Some may think there are some cons in the city, but in general, the city offers many exceptional parts to it. Many local events are hosted here, such as the 4th of July, car shows, fairs, etc, that maintain the community together. The gazebo in “The Circle” is a main place to host these events that are oftentimes sponsored by a variety of organizations like churches, schools and even the city itself. The city has such a homey ambiance that is hard to find in other cities around Miami. Since it’s so close to Hialeah, this does cause congestion of cars, especially in rush hour.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Whether you’re visiting the golf course or stopping by for dinner, Miami Springs doesn’t disappoint. It’s location and proximity to the airport makes it a convenient place to pass by. All of its businesses are close by, it’s green spaces are beautiful and its streets have space for walking or biking around, making it a family-friendly place to visit!

Works Cited

Miami Springs, FL – Geographic Facts & Maps – Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

About Miami Springs | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

History of Miami Springs | | Miami Springs News and Events. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Miami Springs City, Florida. (2022). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Clune – Stadnik Building | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens) | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

History – Miami Springs Golf & Country Club. (2017). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Miami Springs Bark Park in Miami Springs, FL | Dog Parks Near Me | Wag!. (2022). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Stafford Park 501 East Dr. | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

All Day Menu – Crackers Southern Dining. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

BREAKFAST ALL DAY. (2021). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Springs Dental. (2022). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Starlight Dance Studio. (2020). Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

The Empire. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from

Carolina Echeverri Valle: Miami Service 2022

Student Bio

Photograph taken by Lucy Logan/CC by 4.0

Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamber of Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, and Broward County. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.


On March 12th, 2022, I had the opportunity to go to the Miami Zoo and volunteer in Live Like Bella’s annual Superhero 5K to raise funds for childhood cancer. Live Like Bella is a non-profit located in Miami, Florida which is dedicated to fighting against cancer. They focus on three different goals. Their first is raising funds for research and investigation on childhood cancer, as there aren’t as many researchers focusing on child aspect of cancer. Their second is In-Treatment support which involves assisting families that have a child with cancer with groceries, gas, rent, mortgage, car payments, among others. The final In-Treatment support is funeral and memorial assistance, where they help with payments as well. This organization was started by Bella’s parents in memory of their daughter. Up to date, they’ve been able to assist 4,000 families in 49 states and 36 counties around the world. You can read more about it on: Live Like Bella.

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0


As someone majoring in international relations and Public Relations, Advertisement, and Applied Communications (PRAAC), I’ve always wanted to work in the non-profit world. My passion has always been to work with children in any way possible. This opportunity was given to me by my boyfriend’s sister, as she spoke to me about this organization. As someone who’s not from Miami, I was not very aware of local non-profits. Nonetheless, after meeting the Live Like Bella Team, it was evident that I’d love to give back to my community and help as much as I could through their organization. Cancer is a disease that has affected my family more than once, as well as a lot of my friend’s families too. Childhood cancer is a little more complex than adult ones and a lot of the times, reoccurring. This was not my first-time volunteering with them, as I had already done it in the past with their annual Gala. However, this time, we had families of survivors, and families that have lost their children due to this disease who finished the 5K to help others. It was such an eye-opening event to be a part of.

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0


We arrived at the zoo at 5:00 a.m. (when it was still pitch dark outside) and started to help set up and organize the Live Like Bella tent, as the sponsors kept on arriving to organize their tents too. I was very happy to be there and was looking forward to what we would do. In addition to this, I had also helped with stuffing the bags/giveaways for those involved in the 5K, so I saw many people pick them up with a smile on their face. I was told that I would help by taking pictures of specific parts of the event and post them on Facebook with a caption. I was able to have the rundown of the day, the pictures required and the times they had to be posted and started my day. It was one of the most fun volunteering events I’ve been to, because I was able to meet a lot of people who have been affected by cancer, survivors, sponsors, and people who just donate their time.

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0

I felt like enjoying my time with the other Live Like Bella workers, taking pictures throughout the event and watching my friends finish the 5K was an inspiring and unforgettable experience. It made me realize how much we can help others who are sick by performing small tasks. It was very informative on how a fundraising event is organized and the variety of people who show up. It’s something that I hope to continue doing in the future.

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0

W H E R E and W H A T

Firstly, I helped in the Live Like Bella office in Coral Gables. I arrived at 2:00 p.m. and got the instructions by one of the workers of the non-profit. She told me to put the boxes with all the giveaways in the outside area of the office itself and set up a little working station. Following this, I was able to start organizing one of each gift in a tote bag and placing them in a box. These were going to be the gifts that we were going to give each participant in the 5K. We assembled around 1000 bags along with the other volunteers. This was very fun and informative, because I learned about the behind the scenes of non-profit events and how much help they need for it to run smoothly. I also was able to understand that a lot of the giveaways were donations from different sponsors, which is basically how non-profits work.

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0

The day of the event, we arrived at the zoo at 5:00 a.m., I got a debriefing from the lady in charge of events at Live Like Bella, and she told me that I was going to help her with communications throughout the day. This included taking photographs of sponsors and participants, videos of when the 5K began and the winner, pictures of the volunteers and pictures of the team. I also was with her during the interviews that a professional photographer was doing that would later turn into a recap video about the 5K. 

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0

Throughout the day, there were specific times and captions that we’d post with the pictures to keep people on the loop on what was going on. We used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and would have to use a different approach for each. For instance, we would post a lot of stories on Instagram, while on Facebook we would make more posts. This is crucial for non-profits because a lot of awareness, sponsorships and donations come from the use of social media. Live Like Bella could have gained many more participants for next year as well by doing this. After everyone finished the 5K, they had a little ceremony announcing the winners of all the categories, which was divided by ages. We also took pictures of this that we used to post. The staff from Live Like Bella was amazing and treated us with gratitude and appreciation.

We ended the day by enjoying the zoo, because if we attended the event, we could go to the zoo afterwards, for free!

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0



It’s very rewarding and enriching when we give back to our community. Even though there’s still no cure for cancer, it makes a change when we are part of the fight against cancer. Being able to volunteer in such a beautiful organization makes a difference, because Live Like Bella doesn’t only assist families who have children with cancer, but they also raise funds to help grow the research being done towards finding a cure for pediatric cancer. There’s not much research being done at all in our country, but Live Like Bella has brought over 5 new research projects just in Florida in the past year. I hope to keep being part of this important change and crucial progress on a worldwide scale when it comes to health.

Assisting others has always been a passion that I have. My parents always taught my brother and I to try and make a difference even if it’s minor in the world. We tend to get caught up with our day-to-day life and forget that we can help in so many ways. I hope we’re able to keep on giving back to our community and change other people’s lives. 

Live Like Bella 5K 2022. Photo by Carolina Echeverri / CC by 4.0


Home | Live Like Bella. Retrieved 27 March 2022, from

Carolina Echeverri: Doral 2021


Photograph taken by Lucy Logan/CC by 4.0

Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working for the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamber of Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, Broward County and is currently working in the Live Like Bella Foundation. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.


Image taken from Google Maps

Doral is a city located in Miami-Dade County, in the state of Florida, in the United States of America. It is located at 25°49’10″N 80°21’19″W (25.8195400, -80.3553300) (Mapsofnet). Doral is one of four municipalities that’s located just one mile away from the Miami International Airport, and seven miles from Downtown Miami. “According to the United States Census Bureau, Doral has a total area of 39.37 km², of which 35.94 km² is for land and 3.42 km² is for water (8.7%).” (The Doral Grid). Doral is a central area, bordering Florida’s Turnpike to the west, the Palmetto Expressway to the east, the Medley to the north, and the Sweetwater City to the south (The Doral Grid). Doral has a population density of 5,478 people per square mile (World Population Review). 

In 2021, Doral is a fast growing urban landscape, filled with restaurants, shops and residential housing. You can also see some plots of land used for agriculture, as they have grass and livestock. However, most of Doral has residential homes which are modern and luxurious, as they have been recently constructed. Between NW 12st Street and NW 41st Street, you will find a lot of industrial areas, which can range between shops, restaurants and many warehouses. Past NW 41st street, you will locate many homes, ranging from apartments, houses and townhouses that have been built or are currently being built. In the past years, there has been an increase in the development of the city.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


“From Everglades to Industrial Center to Hometown – The City of Doral” (CityofDoral).

In the late 1950s, polish real estate developer Alfred Kaskel and his wife Doris purchased 2,400 acres of swampland between NW 36 Street and NW 79 Street and from NW 79 Avenue to NW 117 Avenue. Their dream came true when in 1962, they built a hotel and country club that featured the Blue, Red and Par 3 golf courses. The name “Doral” came from the combination of Doris and Alfred. This was Doral’s first structure and it became a hit after its second year of operation. The Kaskels hosted the first Doral Open Invitational, Florida’s major PGA event (CityofDoral).

In the 80’s, Kaskel’s grandson Bill developed the Doral Estates, followed by a joint business with Lennar Homes to build Doral Park. These communities were named after the hotel. Younger families started to come to the area, purchasing these investment properties or second homes, with low cost and high quality of life (even though there were no stores, schools or parks close by). This started forming the first community in the area. There were many farms in the area. Hence, there was very little traffic (CityofDoral). 

After the 1983-85 building moratorium to protect the well fields, Doral started growing rapidly. In 1989, Morgan levy led The West Dade Federation of Homeowner Association, which was formed to protect the welfare of the community. That’s how a police station was built. Plus, lighting, roads and landscaping started to be prevalent in the area. In 1996, the first election of the Community Council took place, and soon-to-be County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Cancio, Sr. Mario Pita, and Barbara B. Thomas were elected, as well as three other members were appointed. This council met up every month to address what the community needed and work on various projects (CityofDoral). 

In 2002, the Governor appointed Cancio to fill in for Commissioner, as former commissioner Miriam Alonso had been suspended after an arrest due to felony charges.  Juan Carlos Bermudez won the seat, as he intended to create a transparent government in Doral. After 7 years, in 2003, 85% of the voters in Doral voted for its incorporation, making it its own city. After this, they got their City Charter and elected their first mayor and City Council and they then took their oath of office (CityofDoral).  

In the present day, Doral is attracting over 100 corporations, businesses, young families and retirees. It continues to develop, especially in places such as Downtown Doral, City Place Doral and Midtown Doral (CityofDoral).


According to The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2019, there was a population of 65,741 people in Doral. In terms of age and sex, there are 6.8% persons under 5 years, 26.5% under 18 years, 7.2% 65 years and over, and 52.1% female persons. The highest percentages when it comes to race and hispanic origin are: 91.2% white alone and 85.0% hispanic or latino. 66.8% of the population are foreign born persons. The median household income is $77,493, the per capita income in the past 12 months (of 2019) is $28,702, and the persons in poverty are 12.8% (United States Census Bureau).

Interview with Yuliana Valentina Amaya (A Doral Resident)

Photograph by Jennifer Gonzalez/CC by 4.0

Carolina: “Hi, can you please introduce yourself?”

Valentina: “Hi, my name is Valentina Amaya and I’m an FIU student majoring in international business. I’m from Bogotá, Colombia and I’m 19 years old.”

Carolina: “How did you end up in Doral?”

Valentina: “I came to Miami to study and when I was searching where to live I wanted a place that was close enough to FIU and that could offer me accessibility to different places such as restaurants, supermarkets, etc. Given this, I started looking and Doral was the place that could offer me everything I was searching for.”

Carolina: “How would you describe Doral?”

Valentina: “I would describe Doral as a residential area, where you can find different types of housing and which has a very convenient location given its proximity to the airport and downtown Miami. In this way, Doral is a city that allows you to enjoy the entertainment of Miami, while at the same time it also offers a totally quiet residential life.”

Carolina: “Are there any differences that you’ve noticed in your time living here?”

Valentina: “I haven’t really lived in Doral for very long, but I would say that one difference I have noticed is that the area has more and more buildings and therefore more residents.”

Carolina: “What’s your favorite thing about Doral?”

Valentina: “My favorite thing about Doral is downtown since it is a place that offers a great culinary variety, with nice decorations and different entertainment that makes it a great place to go at any time of the day.”

Carolina: “What’s your least favorite thing about Doral?”

Valentina: “I would say that my least favorite thing about Doral is the traffic that sometimes occurs given perhaps the number of residents or the entertainment areas that are close by.”

Carolina: “Thank you so much for your time!”


Doral is home to many museums, landmarks and monuments that make it a beautiful place to visit. Some of these are: The Trump National Park, Downtown Doral Park, CityPlace Doral, Doral Government Center, Miami Selfie Museum, Doral Contemporary Art Museum, among others. 

Trump National Doral

When going to Doral, it’s very hard to miss seeing this enormous plot of land, filled with different services.  As  Alfred and Doris Kaskel once were able to do, this plot of land features a hotel and a golf course. In 2012, Donald Trump purchased the land and changed the name of the hotel. It now not only offers those services, but it offers a variety of dining options, spa and fitness, and spaces for weddings, meetings and events (Trump National Doral). Plus, Donald Trump stayed there on several occasions during his time as President of the United States. Famous events, such as Miss Universe, have taken place here. It’s a historic landmark, but also a visual representation of the progress and development of the city. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Downtown Doral

Downtown Doral is a crucial section of this city. Located at the heart of access to almost everywhere, this 250-acre mixed-use development has offices, homes, restaurants, shops and an award-winning school (Miami and Beaches). The Shops at Downtown Doral are almost 70 trendy shops and restaurants, almost 1 million square feet of office space, 5,000 luxurious residential units, Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School, Downtown Doral Charter Upper School, Doral Government Center, and many different green spaces with upper-class artwork (Miami and Beaches). Everything is walking distance in Downtown Doral, having activities for the young population, all the way to senior citizens. It’s a very peaceful place to be, surrounded by businesses, as well as green spaces; a place to remember. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

CityPlace Doral
This “mall” is a must when visiting Doral. Many people from other neighbourhoods in Dade visit this area, looking to have leisure time. CityPlace offers different services that include shopping, dining, entertainment and events. They’ve brought boutiques from all over the world to sell their clothes, coffee shops that attract Latin communities, elite nail salons, bowling alleys, grocery-market stores, upper-scale movie theatres and dancing bars that are not present in many parts of Miami. Likewise, they host events, such as stand-up comedy, live music and festivities dedicated to the time of the year; some are free, whilst others have a charge. Not only this, but there are also apartments located in the top of these businesses, and are very popular, due to their proximity to so many services (CityPlace Doral). With so much to offer, this is definitely a place to highlight that Doral has been successful in.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Doral has many green spaces around, which include parks and lands used for cattle farming. One of these parks is Downtown Doral Park, Doral Glades Park, Doral Central Park, among others.

Downtown Doral Park

This park is adjacent to the City of Doral Government and is made up of 3 acres of land. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Doral. Since it was completed in 2012, it’s a very modern and elegant looking park, being ideal for family picnics or evening strolls. It features a children’s playground, picnic tables (which are very convenient, because there are restaurants all around the park), a walking/jogging path (that are suitable for the families that live in the area), and a large open lawn. It’s open Monday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to sunset. (CityofDoral). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Doral Glades Park

Doral Glades Park is located on NW 74th Street between NW 97th Avenue and NW 107th Avenue, and it comprises 25 acres. It’s a place where the community gathers to enjoy nature, while being in an extremely safe space. This park has 12 acres of a lake with a natural preserve, a lighted boardwalk and nature trail which encompases the lake, and a viewing pier in the natural preserve. This park allows its visitors to fish and kayak. In addition, it includes a shaded nature themed playground, an open lawn, two tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a nature center with interactive nature exhibits, an e-library, many indoor multipurpose rooms, and an outdoor pavilion which people can rent (CityofDoral). 

Image taken from CityofDoral
Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Doral Central Park
Doral Central Park is the largest park in the city, being made up of 82 acres. It’s home to some of the major events, such as the Independence Day Celebration. Since it has open green spaces and scenic lake views, many corporate gatherings and community events take place here. It’s located in the commercial heart of Doral, next door to Carnival Cruise Lines, United States Southern Command. Some of the amenities that it has are: grills, an exercise station, picnic benches available for rent and a 0.9 mile walking/jogging trail. It’s open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to sunset (CityofDoral).


The city of Doral has a Doral Trolley, which works as a local transportation to shopping centers, parks, restaurants and recreational places. It connects to the metrorail. It has an app, called The Doral City App, where you can track the real-time trolley and information regarding the trolley’s routes and actual status. It covers some of the most significant landmarks, including Midtown Doral, the Doral Government Center, CityPlace, Dolphin Mall, Miami Dade College West Campus, Miami International Mall, and Florida International University (CityofDoral). 

Image taken from Freebee in Doral
Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Furthermore, Doral has the Freebee, which is a free, door-to-door, on-demand transportation service. It’s 100% electric and emission free, being eco friendly. You can request a ride through the Ride Freebee app, you set up your pickup location, you select your destination, and then you enjoy the ride! It shares the latest and greatest happenings in the City of Doral, which is an amazing idea, as many times, the population of Doral don’t know what’s happening in their own city. Freebee caters to all ages, from infants to senior citizens, as well as all types of pets. The hours of operation are; Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Freebee in Doral).  


Doral is known for the variety in its cuisine. There are many cultures that are exposed in the gastronomy of the city, including Peruvian, Japanese, Colombian, Cuban, American, Mexican and Venezuelan. It’s easy and fast to drive or walk from one restaurant to the next, and enjoy the variety offered.


Mondongo’s is a Colombian restaurant, located on 3500 NW 87th Avenue. It’s a popular place to visit, as it offers traditional Colombian food, such as Mondongo, Bandeja Paisa, and Ajiaco. Mondongo’s is only located in Medellin, Colombia and in Miami. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Friday’s and Saturday’s (Mondongo’s Restaurante). As a Colombian who moved here three years ago, I can testify that it’s one of my favorite and more authentic places to visit.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


This is by far my favorite restaurant in Doral, offering Italian food. Divieto means “prohibition” in Italian, and it offers a New York 1920’s decor and environment. It’s a more upper-class restaurant. It offers over 70 signature Italian dishes all made from scratch, using local ingredients. One of their most popular dishes is the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel, which is pasta made inside of a huge cheese bowl. There’s also a variety of cocktails and 1920s inspired drinks custom created by their mixologist. They have locations in Doral, Estero and Aventura, opening for lunch and dinner (Divieto Ristorante). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Chico Malo

This restaurant, located in CityPlace, is Mexican, and uses local ingredients as a way to design elevated cooking techniques. It’s open 7 days a week for Dinner and on the weekends for Late Night and Brunch, as well as offering happy hour. There’s one located in Doral and another one in Phoenix. It’s a fairly new restaurant that has gained a lot of popularity. It has a beautiful entrance that allows for “instagram worthy” pictures and a wide selection of food. It also has unlimited mimosas, margaritas and draft beer on the weekend mornings, which has attracted a large group of younger adults who enjoy brunch. They also offer “Taco Tuesday” that features its own separate menu (Chico Malo). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


Doral is home to over 10,000 local and international businesses. It offers many different services, which include nail and hair salons, adult day cares, car dealers, barber shops, dance studios, home services, pet services, law firms, realtors, fitness, home services, and many others open to residents as well as non-residents. 

Tranquility At Doral Salon & Spa

This salon and spa is located at 9566 NW 41st Street, and offers a variety of services. Ranging from facials to nail salon, this business is in-demand and is growing exponentially its customer base. They don’t only offer competitive prices, but they also have specials that vary every month. When you’re inside of the business, the atmosphere and customer service is amazing, offering free coffee for the clients and having a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing environment. The staff is also very professional and efficient (Tranquility At Doral). 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

Born 2 Swim

This aquatic academy is located on 1955 NW 108th Avenue, and offers swimming classes for children, starting at months old and up. Their training can be done in Spanish as well, which really helps with the diversity in the city. They offer Aquatic Survival Programs, Rolly Polly Floaty, Aqua Tots, and Aqua Club. These all ensure that children successfully acquire life saving skills when they’re in the water. The children will learn to float from any position and swim to and from their parents, poolsteps or wall (Born2Swim).

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

TG Bridal

This boutique bridal shop “make your dream dress come true” (TG Bridal). Located in Downtown Doral, they allow you to buy or rent (used or new) your bridal dress, and have a personalized experience when doing so. You have to make an appointment to be able to look through the dresses and try them on.  Their collection of dresses is wide, allowing you to be able to have a variety to choose from. They’ve had clients in Medellin and Bucaramanga, as seen on their instagram. Make sure to check them out @tgbridal. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


The city of Doral has developed and progressed at a rapid pace since the 1950’s, causing many people to move here, businesses to open, green spaces to be made and restaurants to open. The city has populated rapidly, making the city’s prices high, but also affordable compared to other neighbourhoods in Dade. It offers many services that are close together, making it a great place to raise a family, considering the many family-friendly amenities. Apart from this, many businesses have been opening here, not only for chains, but also local ones that see the city as an opportunity for growth.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0

The city is doing a great job when it comes to alternative forms of transportation, but could definitely work on the traffic. Likewise, their multiple green spaces, parks for the children and amenities for adults give it a friendly vibe that attracts many people to come and enjoy them. It’s a very safe city that hosts events for different audiences, bringing a boost in the economy and job opportunities as well. Whether you’re a resident or visiting, it has many business, dining options, landmarks that can entertain you, and shopping centers that you can buy at. In addition, there is development happening all throughout the city. Recently, the Baptist Health Hospital in Doral just opened, which is an enormous step closer into investing and building for the people, leading to overall progress of the city.

Whether you want to enjoy a drink at a bar in CityPlace, or go buy clothes at Dolphin Mall, this is the place for you. It’s growing population (which brings in new modern homes) and economy (which brings in more businesses and an overall progress for the city), allows individuals who go there or already reside there to enjoy it all at a close proximity. I can’t wait to see the development that Doral will have in the upcoming years. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC 4.0


“Before You Continue To Google Maps”. Maps.Google.Com

“Chico Malo”. Chico Malo, 2021,

“Doral Central Park · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Doral Central Park · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Doral Glades Park · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Doral History · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Doral Trolley · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Doral, FL – Geographic Facts & Maps – Mapsof.Net”. Mapsof.Net, 2021,

“Doral, Florida Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs)”. Worldpopulationreview.Com, 2021,

“Downtown Doral In , FL”. Miamiandbeaches.Com, 2021,

“Downtown Doral Park · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Freebee In Doral · City Of Doral”. Cityofdoral.Com

“Infant Survival Lessons Miami | Child Swim Lessons | Swim Programs”. Born2swim, 2020,

“Tranquility At Doral Salon & Spa”. Tranquility At Doral Salon & Spa

“U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: Doral City, Florida”. Census Bureau Quickfacts

“Visitor Information | Cityplace Doral”. Cityplace Doral

“Welcome To TG Bridal”. Tgbridal, 2021,

“Doral”. The Doral Grid, 2021,


Divieto Ristorante. 2021,

Carolina Echeverri Valle: Miami Service 2021

Student Bio

Photograph taken by Lucy Logan/CC by 4.0

Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamber of Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, Broward County and is currently working in the Live Like Bella Foundation. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.


On October 6, 2021, I had the opportunity to go to The Deering Estate and volunteer in a beach clean-up at Chicken Key. The Deering Estate is located on the East Coast of Florida in the Palmetto Bay area. This museum and historic site dates back to the 1920s estate of Charles Deering. We were able to go to Chicken Key, which is located one mile offshore, being characterized by its low dunes and sand beaches. This island was formed by the deposition of quartz and limestone sands by ocean currents. You can read more about it on: Deering Estate.

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0


As a student of Miami in Miami, me as well as the rest of my class was able to participate in this beach clean up. Miami in Miami is a course of the Honors College at Florida International University (FIU). The course allows us to see different parts of Miami that have shaped it to what it is right now. I’ve always been passionate about giving back to my community. No matter what I’m doing, it’s always been rewarding and it makes me happy to be a part of a positive change. Even though this didn’t relate to my major, I really enjoyed doing it, as I was able to help our environment. We all live in this world, and our flora and fauna are what allow us to live a healthy life. This was not my first beach clean-up, as I had been able to do one at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC), and I really enjoy doing them because I connect with the environment and I can visibly see the difference between before and after. I’m an international relations and PRAAC (public relations, advertisement and applied communications major), and I currently work in nonprofits, so helping and making a difference in the world is definitely something I’m always more than happy to do. Canoeing is something I loved doing and hope to do again soon. 

Photograph taken by Afifa Fiaz/CC by 4.0


This volunteering opportunity was one of my favorites. It was an adventure that made me smile the whole time. I was a little nervous when I arrived, because I’m not the most athletic person and I knew we had to canoe and walk around Chicken Key the whole time. I got into the canoe with one of my best friends, and he’s a pretty strong man (he does weightlifting) so I went in the front and tried my best but had a good partner to accomplish it. When I looked up from my canoe, I saw the beautiful light blue sky and the sun hitting the water and just lighting it up. We put music in the canoe, like “Tokyo Drift” as well as songs from our home country, Colombia. It was a great way to bond with my friend and be motivated to paddle. I was able to speak to Professor Bailly and my classmates, really reflect on all the trash on this island and we also had time to joke around. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

I felt like enjoying my time with my classmates, cleaning the island and learning from my professor at the same time was an unforgettable experience. It made me realize how much we damage our environment, and how careful we have to be with our debris, as it can really bring negative consequences to our waterways and the life that inhabits within them. It was eye-opening and informative and I would love to do it again. 

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

W H E R E and W H A T

When we arrived at the Deering Estate, we got our life vest and our paddle according to our size. As we walked towards the boat basin, the sky was clear with no clouds in the sky. Once we arrived there, Professor Bailly gave us a debrief. Right after, we got on the canoes that had been lined up by the shoreline. Me and my partner carried the water jug in the middle of our canoe. Even though our bodies, plus the jug was heavy, it was still a great time. 

Photograph taken by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

It took us a little bit to accommodate, but once we got the hang of it, it ran smoothly. We passed through the mangroves which was definitely an adventure. We were all helping each other out as we passed through the branches that were poking us, and when we had to turn our canoe around to go back. Throughout this, we learned about how important mangroves are for our ecosystem, because they help many marine organisms, as well as reducing hurricane impacts. I started my TikTok here as well.  

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

After about an hour, we made it to Chicken Key. We docked the canoes by tying them to the mangroves and then to each other. Once we arrived, I looked around to find a large amount of trash lying around the water and inside the island. We left our belongings in some chairs and ran into the water. A couple of us snorkeled and really enjoyed this time, because we connected with our classmates. Following this, we went to eat our lunch. 

Photograph taken by Ashley Sanchez/CC by 4.0

After enjoying a pub sub, me and a couple students accompanied the professor to walk to the other end of the island. We arrived there and there was even more debris. We walked and arrived at the end of the island. The beauty was immense. As we went in the water, I noticed how mind blowing nature is, and how much we should strive to protect it. We picked up around 10 bags from the three people that went with the professor. It was very shocking and sad to see the amount of styrofoam, plastic, bottles and even shoes that were everywhere. We were trying to focus mostly on the little things as they are highly dangerous to the life that inhabits the area, as they think its food and proceed to swallow it. 

Before heading back, we found a couple of baby and larger crabs roaming around the area. We had the opportunity to hold them, and this is something I hadn’t done before.

Photograph by Alex Fiedler/CC by 4.0



When we give back to our community, it’s very rewarding. Even though compared to the amount of trash that is present on the island, it seems like we don’t do much, we actually make a huge difference. We are being part of this big change that is not only helping our habitat and world, but also the fauna and flora in the area. Professor Bailly showed us pictures of before and after him and his classes started coming to volunteer, and the difference was expansive. It’s very disappointing to see how much damage we have on our environment, because this is our world which provides us with everything. We should take care of it.

Helping has always been a passion of mine. We tend to get caught up with school, work and extracurricular activities, forgetting that there’s so many ways to volunteer. We were able to volunteer, whilst also learning. This not only helps us grow intellectually, but personally, because we can teach others in the future. I hope we can continue to give back to our community and gain knowledge while doing so.

Miami in Miami Chicken Key Cleanup October 6 2021. Photo by Deering Estate staff / CC by 4.0


“Miami Museums | Miami Historical Sites | Deering Estate”. Deering Estate,

“Home – Honors College”. Honors College,

Carolina Echeverri Valle: Miami As Text 2021-2022

Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamberof Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, Broward County and is currently working in the Live Like Bella Foundation. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.

Downtown As Text

Downtown Miami Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri Valle/CC by 4.0


By Carolina Echeverri Valle of FIU at Downtown Miami on September 8, 2021.

When we started the walk around Downtown, I didn’t really know what to expect. Downtown Miami holds so much history, art and culture that it was hard to determine what we would focus on. However, I was amazed at what I saw. 

As young adults who live in Miami, we are surrounded with people who come from diverse places, who have generational varying ethnicities, people who have been brought up in different ways. What unites us? Our lovely Miami. As we walked through historic buildings, such as The Wagner House and Fort Dallas which were located one in front of the other, we truly grasped what Miami is all about. This city has seen indigenous tribes getting kicked out of the land, slavery, and the division of colored people; however, it has also seen the growth of multiculturalism that happens on a day to day basis. People from all over the world move to Miami in hopes of getting a better life. We can see it through Coosje Van Bruggen’s and Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels’, a massive public artwork. 

Personally, I saw this art piece as a representation of the diversity that Miami has. Miami grows everyday. Currently people from Venezuela are coming over to flee their political, social and economic situation. Nonetheless, Cubans, Haitians and people from other countries in South and Central America have come to Miami in hopes of having a life with better opportunities and a freer life. Miami has been the home of many immigrants, including myself. I came here looking for better educational opportunities, and my parents also lived here in the past due to work openings. The scattered oranges and peels represent the continuous increase of people in Miami. It’s like a mandarin was thrown to the floor and it exploded.

When I first saw this piece of art, it appeared very colorful and full of life, each part of it being different and separated. Miami has neighborhoods that are all so distinct from each other. For instance, Brickell is known for its fancy restaurants and beautiful tall buildings, while Little Havana is known for its people and vibrant environment. This fusion of places and cultures are what make Miami what it is: a city full of life, diversity, a variety of places to eat and activities to do and a place where people want to be. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, many decided to move to Miami and be by the beach, in a place with a warm and dreamy weather, where life is like we’re on vacation. The scattered slices and peels are all those distinct pieces that make up Miami: the neighborhoods, people, food, cultures, activities, weather, etc. 

At the end of the day, the past and present of Miami can be summed up by Van Bruggen and Oldenburg’s artwork. Will the future of Miami keep being this multicultural land?

Overtown As Text

Overtown, Allapattah, and Hialeah Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri Valle/CC by 4.0

“Diversity As We Know It”

By Carolina Echeverri Valle of FIU at Downtown Miami on September 8, 2021.

It all started in Allapattah on a rainy morning. As I walked through the city something stood out. It was the differences that surrounded this place vs other more touristic places of Miami. What happened here? What led to this clear division? I questioned myself. Inequality has always been an enormous issue everywhere in the world, but isn’t the United States supposed to be developed?

When I walked into the Metrorail, I learned that Miami has this amazing public transportation that we take for granted. Some people who’ve lived here all their lives haven’t even utilized it once. Why? All these questions just filled my head, I was eager to learn more.

When I found out that FIU, my university, was one of the places that refused to have the Metrorail add a stop there, I was shocked. As young adults who grew up in the XXI century as millennials, we were brought up to be open minded, caring, and most of all, accepting of diversity and inclusion. Isn’t that what schools and universities teaching us? It was hypocritical of me to learn that places, such as FIU, didn’t want to bring public transportation, such a necessity to many, into their university. FIU literally has the word “international” in the name. The university prides itself on having multiculturalism within, even though most of the student body is composed of commuters. These commuters have international parents, coming from different parts of the world, and their socioeconomic background, ethnicities, beliefs, way of living, etc are all different. We are in a globalized and interconnected world. That’s why it was shocking for me to see that FIU didn’t allow for a Metrorail to pass through there. Not only is it FIU, but many different neighborhoods around Miami haven’t permitted the Metrorail.

Public transportation is essential for people from all over the world. Many don’t have cars and having to walk or order an Uber isn’t sustainable. Therefore, I believe Miami should open stops in every crucial part of Miami and connect the city, people, and cultures.

Vizcaya As Text

Vizcaya Museum Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri, Oscar Roa and Ashley Sanchez/CC by 4.0

“Love is Everywhere”

When we look at our surroundings, we can see that there’s love everywhere. What does this mean? We love our friends, family, animals, plants, cities, countries, world, foods, etc. It’s a natural feeling that we feel for someone and/or something and it’s inevitable.

When I went to Vizcaya, I noticed the various love benches located around the gardens. There were even closed areas of the gardens, that allowed lovers to meet up. As we look through the generations, I notice that this hasn’t changed. We go through the world trying to be with our loved ones, trying to pursue the things we love and to be happy overall. The Vizcaya Mansion started being built in 1912, so it’s been over a century since. To see these trends still happening is shocking.

James Deering didn’t get married or have children that are known to us. There are myths and legends stating that he was homosexual. No one knows for sure if this is true. If this was the case, it resembles the LGBTQ+ fight for equality that is taking place in the recent years. If he wasn’t, but just didn’t find someone to marry and have children, he felt love for other things. Either this be keeping his garden beautiful, decorating his home with valuable pantings and/or furniture.

Be whatever it may be, love was seen through this mansion. Even though Deering wasn’t married or have a family live here, love was seen in other ways. The beauty and light coming from all these rooms and gardens was prevalent, and it made me feel love towards it.

South Beach as Text

South Beach Photography. Photographs taken by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

“Progress vs. Historical Value”

When we think of Miami Beach, we tend to relate it to tourism, beautiful beaches, luxurious cars, among others. In the present day, there are a variety of events, economic growth and people visiting on a day to day basis. However, even though this is currently the case, it was not always like this. There was an intense period where there was economic decline in the area.

Miami Beach had a great architectural value, consisting of smaller hotels with certain characteristics. Some of these included having ABA types, where the sides of the hotel looked the same, whilst the middle was different. Nonetheless, the Art Deco started to decline value as resorts started to appear around the world. Naturally, people would think that getting rid of these historical hotels, and bringing in modern looking ones would bring an economic boost. There were advocates, such as Barbara Baer who made sure to preserve these older hotels. Miami keeps on developing, but this area remains with these beautiful hotels.

The City of Miami Beach is a vivid example of a place that was able to sustain their Art Deco, whilst also bringing progress through other types of hotels, such as those that are all glass and look like ships. Its historic infrastructure has brought many tourists, and ultimately jobs and money into this city. It’s important to not forget the history of a city and to try and preserve it, as people from all over the world love to learn about it and see it in person. Likewise, when we maintain these places, we are commemorating all those who designed and built them.

The Deering Estate As Text

The Deering Estate Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“Are We In Miami?”

As I arrived back at the Deering Estate for the second time in my life, I had a feeling of concern. I was a bit preoccupied for our walking tour, as I knew we’d walk a long way. What were we going to see? What animals and nature would we encounter? It was a bittersweet feeling, because I wanted to start the day but I was also nervous. 

Once we started the walk – covering our ankles and moving the trees with our protected arms – the fauna and flora that was located around us seemed untouched. How is it possible that there were houses just a couple of miles away? It seemed like I was going back in time to a time where we were one with nature. We were able to learn about eight different ecosystems present: Pine Rockland, Salt Marsh, Mangroves, Submerged Sea Grass Beds, Deering Estate Flow-Way, Remnant Slough, Tropical Hardwood Hammock, and Beach Dune Chicken Key. Something that stood out for me was the need to create predicted fires for the ecosystem in the area, which occurs every 5 years. How difficult must it be to have to coordinate with inhabitants of the Village of Palmetto Bay? It’s important to understand that people live there and it’s dangerous to light fires, but we also need to preserve and conserve our environment. It’s hard to decide what’s correct, or what’s more important; if people or nature. Nonetheless, we can make sure people as well as the environment are both healthy and happy. 

We arrived at a site that had human and animal remains. It transported me back over 10,000 years. It’s been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I remember going to an archeological site in my hometown, Colombia as well. Nevertheless, I really didn’t think Miami had this. The Tequesta Burial Site was also a part of the tour that dates back years ago, and that shockingly reveals hundreds of shell tools. To think that there’s people who have found this and that we can learn from prehistoric times is truly inspirational. I hope we can keep on preserving these findings and expanding our horizons to find more, because it’s always interesting and informational to physically see, touch and feel a little bit of how life was like years back. 

I questioned it. I felt like I wasn’t in Miami anymore, because we tend to associate it with beaches, night life, tourism, palm trees, shopping, etc. However, Miami has so much more to offer. This can also be seen through the astounding wine cellar located in the bottom of the Stone House, reminding us that the Prohibition Era was a completely different time. Likewise, even though the Boat Basin was built mostly by Afro-Bohamians, there’s no remembrance or gratitude shown towards them (even more so, since they suffered a tragic accident when dynamite exploded beneath them). This reflects the sad truth that happens in Miami, where a lot of places don’t give credit to the Afro-Bohemians, even though they were a huge part when it comes to building this city. 

Overall, an eye-opening experience of what Miami has to offer. I hope I can keep being a part of these activities and truly learning, growing and inspiring people.

Rubell As Text

Rubell Museum Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“21st Century Art?”

When we think of art, we normally associate it with perfectly drawn or painted people, animals or landscapes. These are more classical forms of art, where things were made as they looked. However, as time has gone by, there has been a shift in the way art is made. Artists use art as a way of expressing what they feel, what they see in society, and what they want the world to see. That’s the case for The Rubell Museum, which shows mostly contemporary art from all over the world. It’s located in Allapattah, Florida and was started by Don and Mere Rubbell, and their son, Jason Rubbell. It’s a relatively new museum, opening its doors on December 4th, 2019. 

My favorite art piece was that of Cajsa Von Zeipel, who’s a Swedish sculptor, who now lives and works in New York. As soon as I walked into that room of the museum, I instantly thought of barbies. However, as I listened to Professor Bailly’s explanation, I started to notice all the details of what these really meant. These are influencers of the 21st century, who are made out of colorful plastic, and have with them little dogs, phones, long nails, big brands clothing, colorful hair and are posing in Instagram popular poses. To me, it was so interesting to detail every part of each of these “doll” looking sculptures. As a millennial, I understand how influencers make their living, and I completely respect them and look up to them for their hard work and dedication. Nonetheless, after analyzing this sculpture, it was eye-opening to notice how similar all these people are. Cajsa Von Zeipel exaggerates them, where even a dog has lashes on its eyes, but in reality we do see this. More than ever, in Miami, where there’s so many opportunities to become social media famous. As someone who’s from Sweden and lives in New York, she depicted the reality of Miami and other cities everywhere in such a precise and clear way.

Apart from this, we also had the privilege – thanks to Professor Bailly and the Rubell Museum’s staff –  to visit three of Yayoi Kusama’s interactive installations. She’s a Japanese contemporary artist who primarily focuses on sculptures, but also works in painting, film, fashion, among others. The first thing that caught my attention when I walked into the museum was the “Narcissus Garden”, which has 700 stainless steel spheres that would lead the way for us through the main entrance of the museum. It was a significant part to see, where my first thought was: How heavy are they?. The second installation was “Mirrored Room-Let’s Survive Forever”, which was another favorite of mine. As soon as I walked in, it felt so light and airy, I wanted to continue to explore the place. They only allowed one person at a time, so it was like my time to look around. It also had so many stainless steel spheres. There were spheres on the floor, hanging, and reflected inside of a middle piece. It was a happy time for me. The last installation was “Where the Lights in My Heart Go”, composed of a dark room filled with little lights all over. It resembled a starry night sky, as there were mirrored walls that created an illusion showing an infinite amount of lights all throughout the room. I enjoyed being in here, as it was like I was part of a painting. 

Something that stood out to me throughout my time in the museum is that contemporary art is art that probably most of us could do. However, as the professor said, “epeople say that anyone could have done that, but my response to them is, “but they didn’t””.

Untitled As Text

Untitled Fair Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“Diverse and Contemporary Art”

As someone who had never gone to an art fair this large, this class was extremely eye-opening. None of us were art students, but we were all truly engaged in all the artwork, the stories behind it and the artists and people we met. Untitled Art Fair was founded in 2012 by Jeff Lawson, which is amazing to think about, because this year, it’s celebrating its 10th edition. To have this opportunity is amazing, so I appreciate our Professor John Bailly and all the staff from the fair. 

As I walked in, I noticed the large art piece by Colombian artist Camilo Restrepo. As I read what the art piece was about, I completely felt identified with the subject. I grew up in Colombia until I graduated high school in 2018, so I have a clear understanding of the different crimes that took place in the country. I love my country, but it’s crucial to look back at our history and reflect on it. We can’t forget about what happened. The Other News by Camilo Restrepo portrays portrait drawings of people who were mentioned by their other names or “alias” in El Tiempo (which is one of the largest Colombian newspapers). It showcases guerrilla group members, paramilitaries, hitmen, corrupt politicians, among others. It’s impressive to see such a large art piece at the entrance of the fair, with such a violent and tragic meaning and past for my country. 

As I walked into the fair, I noticed the top of each cubicle, where there was the name of the art piece or gallery, followed by the city and country where it’s from. The diversity in the room was extensive. We learned about many cultures, including the Nigerian, French and Miami culture. It was mind blowing to learn about the trouble that artists and galleries go through, not only financially but also physically to get these art pieces here. Something that stood out was the pieces from Gallery 1957, where all the paintings had been sold between the first three hours of launching. These artists are from across West Africa and the Diaspora, and the paintings that I was glad to learn about were the ones made with duct tape and cork. We learned that there’s paintings that range in price from thousands of dollars. As someone who currently can’t afford that, I somewhat felt out of place. However, after speaking with someone from Emerson Dorsch Exhibition (who also played a large role in the creation of what Wynwood is now), it was evident to me that coming to fairs and exhibits is more than just buying, it’s about learning and exploring the art work and what artists have to say. 

Overall, a great and really fun experience, where I learned more about the art world and really got to appreciate not only the pieces, but also the artists. 

Everglades As Text

The Everglades Photography. Photographs taken by Afifa Fiaz/CC by 4.0

“Home Away From Home”

When we were driving towards The Everglades, I was a little nervous. I really didn’t know what to expect. In a sense, I had experienced getting out of my comfort zone when I went to the Amazon in Colombia and immersed myself in the culture. I stayed 5 days; one with an indigenous tribe, one in the middle of the forest and 3 in a house by the Amazon River. It truly was a different experience that I’m thankful to have lived, because it opened my eyes to how people live in other places, how crucial flora and fauna are and how to connect with our past. Our guide (park ranger) at The Everglades was explaining to us how we could think about The Everglades as our “home”. At the beginning of our walk and slog, I was questioning what this meant. 

As we started our walk, we met up in the Ernest F. Coe Center, where we could already visibly see the nature, peace and diversity that The Everglades has. There’s a deck positioned above an artificial pond that often has loitering alligators. As people who live in the city, we tend to forget that there’s so much to see around us, that our city was built on a plot of land with so much history and space to explore. We went to the “Hole in the Donut”, where we learned about these holes that animals use to drink water, the importance of limestone, how water travelled to this area, what an invasive species is, and what The Everglades basically is. It was very enlightening to learn about this National Park, as it’s a crucial habitat for many endangered species and a World Heritage Site with great importance and protection. It’s not only a place that’s beautiful to the eye, but this park helps conserve the natural landscape and prevent further degradation of its plants, land and animals. 

As we drove, walked and slogged, we could see the it’s diverse ecosystem, consisting of dense mangroves, palms, alligator holes, and tropical fauna. We were able to see a Banded Water Snake, a Wood Stork, and even a fish that swam up the professor’s pants! We were able to see an “alligator hole”, which is amazing to think about because I would’ve never thought I’d be so close to an alligator. As we kept on walking with our walking sticks, we saw and touched the “slimy feeling” Periphyton, which is immensely important for the food web. They provide community structure and primary productivity that supports many aquatic organisms. It also cleans the water to a point where it would be safe to drink it. 

We arrived to the Cypress Dome, which is such a relaxing and magical part of The Everglades. The Cypress Trees are trees that can survive in standing water. Fun fact: we could see how high the water was because of the color of the trunks. If they were white, it meant the water hadn’t gotten that high. There was a clear sign. The “Dome” name was because of the cluster of trees growing in the shape of the dome, with larger trees in the middle and smaller trees all around. It was another world! We also encountered Bald Cypress, where Cypress Trees lose their leaves in winter (some may think they look “dead”). They can live for up to 600 years. These Cypress trees are important for wildlife, since they offer food and cover. 

Overall, apart from learning about how our “home” of Miami all came from this ecosystem, it was a very fun and bonding time with my classmates and professor. With most of us falling in holes, and taking a moment of silence to listen to our surroundings, we were able to grasp what the significance of this Park really is and why more people should learn about it. I hope to be able to visit again!

Periphyton. Science Direct. Retrieved 19 January 2022, from

Everglades Walking Tour. Bailly Lectures. Retrieved 19 January 2022, from

Coral Gables As Text

Coral Gables Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“Inspirational Architecture”

When I think of Coral Gables, I tend to think of tall office buildings, or beautiful large houses. I was shocked to learn that this city has so much more to offer; vibrant and lively history. Although I do work in one of these newly incorporated buildings, I came to realize the Cuban, Mexican and Central American inspired buildings that represent ‘The Gables’ as we know it. We got the opportunity to walk to the Biltmore Hotel, the Collonade Building, the Giralda Plaza, Miracle Mile and the Coral Gables City Hall. A fun fact is that George Merrick’s statue is actually inspired by David by Michelangelo, I would’ve never guessed. 

This statue is inspired by George Merrick, a man with farming background with an inspiring developmental idea. He moved to Miami from Duxbury, MA in 1899 and used 3,000 acres of land to develop a Mediterranean Revival Style city. His project initiated in 1921, followed by the incorporation of The City of Coral Gables in 1925. It’s interesting to know that it was constructed on top of limestone, because it’s very hard to build on this. When we were looking at these Spanish inspired buildings, I really thought that I was in Europe, it’s a completely different part of Miami, that feels like another continent, whilst being so central to Miami Dade County and having access to all the amazing entertainment and amenities that Miami and Florida have to offer.  Even though Merrick is given all the credit for the development of the city, we can’t forget about all the hard work that the Bahamians put into building and maintaining it (including the beautiful golf course of the Biltmore). They aren’t recognized as they should because of the intense racial segregation at the time. 

Our first stop was the Coral Gables Museum, which was a police and fire station when it was first built. Even though it became a museum, the original structure is still there. I enjoyed seeing how the bottom part of the columns resemble firemen boots, and the doors on the west façade of the building were once used as doors for the firetrucks. We were able to visit the office of the old firefighter chief, and the “haunted” part of the building. It was very interesting to see how a police/firefighter station could become a museum. 

The Biltmore Hotel was our last stop. I had heard so much about it and had passed by but hadn’t had the opportunity to visit it inside. I felt like I was in a movie from the XVIII century, where I was inside of a palace or something. The building really was grand and impressive. It has high ceilings, with a ceiling that reminded me of a starry night. When the hotel was built, it had the largest pool in the US, hosting many competitions. Today it houses some of the most beautiful events. Not only this, but many couples and quinceañeras come to take pictures. I have a wedding here in May, and after seeing this beauty of a hotel, I will be purchasing a night in the hotel. It was also very eye opening to learn that in WWII, it had been used as an Army General Hospital. It’s very shocking to look at this beauty and imagine that at some point, there were injured soldiers and medical personnel running around. 

Another building that was beautiful was the John M. Stabile Building, which was one of the earliest commercial structures in Coral Gables. It has elaborate fish and birds in the doorway. Apart from this, the Coral Gables Elementary School is an astonishing Mediterranean-style elementary school with arcaded loggias that later became a distinguishing feature of Florida schools.  The Colonnade Building in Miracle Mile is a mixture of Spanish Colonial and Baroque, which make it a must to visit in the Gables. Finally, the City Hall is made up of quarry keystone rock, and it’s an exemplary Spanish Renaissance style architecture, which is a vivid representation of what George Merrick’s dream was for Coral Gables.

My view on Coral Gables changed after this class, because I was able to understand why these older style buildings bring value to the city. Coral Gables is an incredibly romantic, beautiful, and tranquil place. Whether you’re walking, eating, working, driving, or enjoying any of its activities, it’s difficult to not be amazed by its beauty and history. It has many businesses to offer, as well as residential areas that are always valued at a high rate. As George Merrick said, “What you are really selling is romance, the stars, the moon, the tropics, the wind off the blue water and the perfume of flowers that never grew in northern climes.” Keep that in mind when visiting!

Works Cited

Stepulveda, S., & Bailly, J. (2022, January 28). Coral Gables Walking Tour. Bailly Lectures. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from  

River of Grass As Text

The Everglades Photography. Photographs taken by John Bailly/CC by 4.0

“A True Natural Paradise”

The Florida Everglades is a true paradise. When I visit, I feel like it’s a whole different world where I can analyze my life while connecting with the truest form of nature. There’s no place on earth that compares to the Everglades. How would I know this? Nowhere else is “slough slogging” used! There are many random facts that make it such a special place, such as the fact that you can find a missile base that was used during the Cold War. It’s like walking into nature and finding an artifact that marked our history so much and that clashes into this truly untouched part of the city. Apart from this, there were two houses; one was a farmer’s house, and the other was used to put deer food in order to attract them. Likewise, it’s the one place where both crocodiles and alligators live! 

When hiking through the Everglades, it’s very shocking to have water reaching your waist, fauna and flora surrounding you and hearing no noise pollution. Throughout this hike, we visited places where the normal public has barely seen, while we immersed in the national park. Seeing the farmer’s house was something surreal, because it was such a small house (well, only some walls were still standing, but we could still see the form) with only the essentials. I imagined being that farmer, and living a happy simple life submersed into nature, with a house big enough to hold everything I need. Nowadays, people would think it’s impossible to live like that, but many before us did and that was their “normal”, they didn’t need more to live a content life.

The Nike Missile Base was another stop made during the day. This base was made with the intentions of protecting against a possible air attack from Cuba. However, it’s not active anymore. It’s very eye opening to see what we learn about through textbooks in person and comprehend those theories deeper. It was fascinating to see the data equipment used at the time.

Overall, The Everglades will always hold a place in my heart as these experiences have opened my horizons to such a beautifully untouched place on earth that holds so much history within.

Wynwood As Text

The Margulies Collection Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“The Significance of Art”

When we think of art, we sometimes associate it to its beauty and appearance, but rarely stop to question what the meaning behind it is. Art shouldn’t be either an “I like it” or “I don’t like it”, because beauty is subjective to each person. Instead, we should analyze the piece of art, just like we do with literature because most of the times, the artist is trying to evoke a feeling/ transmit an event. We were able to go to the Margulies Collection located in Wynwood. I had never heard of this place, and was shocked to see how many hidden gems it has. Among these, we encountered Olaf Eliasson’s “Your now is my Surroundings” from 2000, where there’s an outdoor installation with mirrors and parallel glasses in the top that makes it kind of look infinite. This made me question the many art exhibits around Miami, like for instance Superblue which charges for guests to go and walk around a mirrored exhibit and it has become a trend for people to go take pictures. However, Eliasson’s art doesn’t cost for us and includes other art forms that aren’t meant to be made in order to create business, but more of a way of expression.

Another piece of art that I enjoyed seeing was “Llomo che sale la scala a pioli” (Man Climbing the Ladder) by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 2008. As Michelangelo expresses, “one can bring art to life (…) or one can choose to being art into life”, meaning that as we look at the fixed time photo-sourced image, we are also incorporated into it. This being said, I appreciated the fact that it almost seemed like we were the art. Likewise, in the De La Cruz Collection, we saw Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Portrait of Dad), which was an endless supply of white mini candies, and an endless supply of two stacks of printed paper. When I first saw these, I questioned them: “How is this art?” But as I understood that they were supposed to have viewers interact with the art itself, making them part of it, I was mind blown. This is very clever, as it entices us to take it and have this art piece in a sense be dynamic and decisive on the audience itself. I also enjoyed learning that the candies were the artist’s dad’s favorite candy and that in total the ideal weight should be 175 lbs. It’s a way of keeping his dad’s memory alive and of sharing it with the world.

Additionally, “Die Erdzeitalter” by Anselm Keifer was eye opening to learn about. At first I was a bit confused at how big (17 ft high) this art piece was and I felt overwhelmed, but then came to notice what it really meant. Keifer was a German artist who, like any other artist, created art that he didn’t like. He started staking it up and adding dead sunflowers all around it to symbolize how art can be reborn in a way. Since he was making art during WW2, this piece reminded me of when Jewish books were burned. Plus, Magdalena’s Abakanowicz’s “21 Backs” was another art piece that caught my attention. This sculpture focuses on the loss of individualism and how we become dehumanized within this society that we live in. The way I take it is that with this XXI century technology, we tend to become one more of the mass, as we all do the same and follow towards what others do. Following this, “The Situation Room” by Will Ryman is a clear representation of this as this massive coal sculpture indicates the moment when the killing of Osama bin Laden took place. We can see how battles have changed to the point where we just click a button and watch, instead of having to physically fight the battle. I would’ve never guessed what this sculpture was about, because we tend to associate battling with people physically moving and fighting someone else.

As we walked through these galleries and around Wynwood, I can tell how much Contemporary art means to the Miami people and how crucial it is to the rest of the world as well. Many artists do graffiti or come and visit in order to learn more. Tourists and visitors also visit and like to see the different exhibits. We were even able to see an artist creating faces on a pole in the middle of the street. Very fascinating day filled with a lot of growth and knowledge on art and how to view it!

Key Biscayne As Text

Key Biscayne Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“The Importance of Unbiased History”

When we arrived at the Bills Baggs State Park, the beauty radiated from the crystal blue water and the white beaches. Not only did this stand out, but also we learned that the Tequesta’s (the first human inhabitants that settled in Miami) had been on Key Biscayne, camped, hunted, and lived there for centuries. However, we stand on a very different land than that of them, as we don’t have the number of mosquitos that they did, and we can rely on more food than just the fish being caught on a day-to-day basis. 

Since I went to school in Colombia, I really didn’t learn about the American history or government. It was very interesting to hear about the Southern Underground Railroad, which allowed thousands of slaves and Black Seminoles to escape Florida which after Spain sold Florida to the United States, had become a slave state (Tatro, 2021). Likewise, I gained knowledge about the Cape Florida Lighthouse that still stands today. Nonetheless, the one we see today is the reconstructed version. The lighthouse was built in 1825 with the purpose of blocking the escape route of the Southern Underground Railroad. Since Key Biscayne was so close to other countries that could serve as havens for fugitive slaves, there were many that would escape from there. In 1836, the Seminole Indians attacked the lighthouse, as a response of them being massacred all over the South. One of the four people who tried to protect the Lighthouse survived to say his story on what happened. The rest were killed in the attack.

We have been learning about events such as these from a biased perspective. A lot of the time, we learn what the white men did in American history and government. When it comes to this lighthouse event, the Seminole Indians were portrayed as vicious men that attacked the lighthouse with no important reason, but just to be cruel and evil. Nevertheless, the attack happened because the Seminole Indians wanted to prevent themselves from being pushed out of their land. That’s why I think it’s important to learn history from all perspectives so we can fully understand all sides and make our own opinion based on that.

Nowadays, Key Biscayne is known for its high socioeconomic status and beautiful beaches. When you compare the beaches here to those of for example Miami Beach, they’re much more tranquil and less people present overall. The Bills Baggs State Park has many activities that people tend to do, such as fishing, picnics, paddle boarding, biking, etc. They also have some restaurants, playgrounds, and kayak rentals. A place to visit!

Works Cited

Tatro, C. (2020, July 22). The Saltwater Underground Railroad moved slaves from Florida to freedom. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from

Coconut Grove As Text

Coconut Grove Photography. Photographs taken by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

“An Architecture that Marks a Community”

I had been to Coconut Grove only to eat at one of the nice restaurants or to walk around the street filled with shops and other businesses. Nonetheless, when we arrived we were exposed to many different hidden treasures and architecture that has shaped Coconut Grove’s history leading up to now. This strip of businesses is only a small portion of what “The Grove” really is, as it has become very commercialized, sometimes even forgetting about its past, which makes it authentic.

We arrived and met up at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, a place I had never stopped by. Professor Bailly informed us that prior, this building was a movie theatre, and then an academy for pilots.. It is now the National Register of Historic Places. It’s eye opening to think about how beautiful architecture can serve so many different purposes.

As we proceeded into Charles Avenue, we learned that this is the first black community in all of South Florida. To stand on such a historical place and have the privilege to learn about it with an open mind was truly mind blowing. We began to walk into the Evangelist Street (new name for “Charles Avenue”), where we witnessed gentrification, especially with the mixture of architecture that we could see. It was very sad to see this gentrification and displacement that forced people who had lived there for generations to have to leave. For example, we met a volunteer at a church who drives all the way from Homestead to come to the place she grew up in to be able to volunteer at what she considers “her family’s” church.

Many houses look like they’re part of the Bahamas or the Keys, and that’s actually because they were built by Bahamians, and most Bahamians first arrived in the Keys. A house that stood out to me was the Mariah Brown House, which is the oldest house in Miami Dade County that still remains in the same place and hasn’t changed. We gained knowledge on the house and were even able to see a picture of Mariah Brown, a single mother of three daughters. She was one of the first Bahamians to settle in Coconut Grove, and this vibrant house built in 1890 was the first on Charles Avenue. Her house, along with those of other Bahamians such as E.W.F. Stirrup became the heart of the African-Bahamian community in Coconut Grove. It was very interesting to learn about the “Conch Houses” that are a Bahamian style of constructing houses. The colors and architecture are very unique with their large ceilings and front porches.

Another form of architecture that we encountered was the “shotgun” house, which is typical in the African American community. They were called like this, because people would say that if you stood in the front door and shot a fire gun, it would go directly to the back door without touching any part of the house. When I first saw them, I thought of little long boxes, but these typically had around 3 rooms. The architecture seen in our tour is very similar to that in Key West and Coconut Grove. They’re very particular and original structures and I enjoyed learning about them.

In addition to this architecture, we got to visit the Bahamian Cemetery (named after Stirrup’s wife) , that has gravestones of the people who built Miami. We must not forget that most of the labor that went into building Miami came from the Bahamians. There are also a lot of World War II soldiers buried here. Professor Bailly reminded us that Bahamians were one of the first countries to abolish slavery, and when they migrated to the U.S., they weren’t used to the segregation, which is why they started to build churches and homes instead of staying in “their area”. Hence, even though these World War II soldiers were fighting for a country with segregation, as Professor Bailly so perfectly said, these Bahamians were able to “love a country not for its reality, but for its aspirations”. A fun fact is that this cemetery was used in Michael Jackson’s Thriller Music video!

Nowadays, Coconut Grove is known for its food and wine businesses, as well as coffee shops and clothing shops. It’s also known for it’s upscale neighborhood surrounded by a lot of green. We mustn’t forget about the Banacle Historic State Park, which has Dade County’s first school house. I recommend visiting and learning about Coconut Grove’s rich experience!

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