Oscar Roa: Miami Beach 2022

Student Bio

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

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


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

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


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


Miami Beach demographics are listed below. (Niche).

Population: 90108.

Education Levels:

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

Racial Diversity:

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


  • Male: 52%
  • Female: 48%


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


Median Household Income: $55,971

Median Individual Income: $31,269

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

Interview to Charlotte:

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

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

Oscar: “Please introduce yourself.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oscar: “Thank you very much.”

Charlotte: “You’re welcome.”


Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

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

Art Deco Historic District:

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

Lincoln Road:

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

South Pointe Park:

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


Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

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

Lummus Park:

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

Flamingo Park:

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

Allison Park:

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


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

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


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


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

The Villa Casa Causarina:

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


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


Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

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

Fontainebleau Miami Beach:

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

Edition Hotels:

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

Estefan Enterprises:

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


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


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

Oscar Roa: Miami Service 2022

Student Bio

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

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


Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

I had the pleasure to volunteer with Miami Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces. More specifically with the Castellow Hammock Preserve & Nature Center. Castellow Hammock is a 112-acre park that contains a mature tropical hardwood forest. This park was one of the first environmental education centers in Miami-Dade County, and it is popular with birders, butterfly watchers, and botanists. (miamidade.gov).  


Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

The main reason for my decision to volunteer with Castellow Hammock is the admiration that I have developed for nature and its preservation. Thanks to my Miami in Miami class, I’ve had the opportunity to visit places like the everglades national park, Vizcaya, and the Deering Estate. Where I learned about the unique ecosystems that we have in Miami. I admire park rangers and people who dedicate their lives to the conservation of natural landscapes. I want to contribute my grain of salt by volunteering at natural parks whenever I get the chance to. Even if my life will not be dedicated to nature conservation, I will always have it present in my mind.


Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

When I was looking for parks to volunteer at, it came to my attention that there were several opportunities that had a name in common. Eco Action Day. I decided to research this and I found out that “Eco Action Day is an annual nationwide campaign in Singapore encouraging awareness and action for the environment, which culminates in the celebration of World Environment Day on June 5th. Over the years, it has grown to be an established platform for organizations and individuals to pledge environmental actions.” (Eco Action Day). I was excited to see that this initiative had reached my own city. Here in Miami, Eco Action Day is any day when people gather to collaborate in efforts to take care of the environment. I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of April 17th’s Eco Action Day.  

Where and What

Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

My service project consisted of a three-hour collective effort to clean and organize the installations of Castellow Hammock Preserve. Our team consisted of four volunteers, and we were assigned the task of clearing a small lot that was full of invasive weeds and debris. This lot would be later used as a nursery and as a small park attraction. The first thing that we did was to get rid of invasive plants/weeds. In the process of cleaning, I learned about the importance of endangered plant species. I wasn’t aware of the importance of native species for the preservation of the local wildlife. I learned that the plants that grew in the park had been intentionally planted because they attracted native species. After clearing the lot, we raked the ground floor to even it out. We later added pots for decoration and a couple of benches for people to sit on and admire the nursery. After organizing the small lot, we took a walk on the park’s trail. There we were assigned the task of making the trail’s path more visible. To do so, we used fallen branches to show the trail’s path. One of the most important facts that I learned on the trail is that there is a tree at the preserve that was a champion tree of the US until recently. Today it holds second place as the tallest tree of its kind in America. This tree’s scientific name is Sideroxylon Foetidissimum, its height is 86 ft, and its circumference is 4.5 ft. It was estimated to be 500 years old. (Champion Trees). After marking the path, we were taught about solution holes and how they are formed over hundreds and even thousands of years. These solution holes have a unique characteristic to them, the ambient temperature is significantly lower inside of them. This allows for species of plants that wouldn’t normally survive in our weather to flourish. There are dozens of solution holes at Castellow Hammock.


My service project took place on Sunday, April 17, 2022. From 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.


Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

After my service time was done at Castellow Hammock I had the chance to take a walk around the visitor’s center. There were several exhibitions, mostly targeted toward children, showing some of the most important species that live in Florida. There was a microscope showing our state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing, and several books and toys. It all looked old and abandoned.

It was very sad and eye-opening to see the state that the visitor’s center was in. It made me realize that many of the people who live in Miami don’t have any idea of our natural treasures and the importance of nature conservation. I see every day on the news how our everglades are being threatened by companies who want to use them to build more housing. Unique species, champion trees, and invaluable solution holes are being forgotten but also threatened. It is very unfortunate to realize that many of the people who threaten our ecosystems are aware of the damage that they’re causing. While the people that will be harmed (residents) are unaware of what is going on.

I hope to raise awareness of the importance of preserving our natural treasures in my community. We should understand that no amount of money is worth the unique things that nature has given to us. No matter how much money a person makes, they will never be capable of building a champion tree. I’m optimistic that my generation and future generations will be activists for natural preservation.

Works Cited

Castellow Hammock Preserve & Nature Center. miamidade.gov 

Eco Action Day. Eco Action Day

FDACS. “Champion Trees”. Champion Trees

Florida Hikes. “Castellow Hammock Preserve”. Castellow Hammock Preserve

Oscar Roa: Riverside 2021

Student Bio

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

Hello! My name is Oscar Roa, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student from Bogotá, Colombia. I love going out and exploring Miami with my friends, working out, and playing music. I am always eager to learn from people who have different lifestyles and backgrounds from mine.


Riverside Map

Imagery @2021 CNES/Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Sanborn, U.S. Geological Survey, Map data@ 202

Riverside, also known nowadays as East Little Havana, is located at 25° 46′ 25″ N, 80° 12′ 30″ W (GeoHack). It started developing soon after the City of Miami was established. The urban landscape of Riverside is comprised of mainly residential areas. However, it is also home to LoanDepot Park, the Miami Marlin’s baseball stadium, and decks on the river area. When it comes to its natural landscape, Riverside has several parks that we will discuss in the Green section of this blog, as well as the Miami River. The most important sources of income for the city of Riverside are


The city of Riverside began its rapid growth soon after the railroad was brought by Henry Flagler in 1896. The most influential people who were responsible for Riverside’s development were the Tatum brothers and their company Lawrence State Land Company. Thanks to the railroad, the value of property in Riverside increased drastically, and it got even higher in 1915 with the introduction of the Flagler Street Trolley. Thanks to both the railroad and the trolley, later on, there was a great economic influx and thus a great development. With time, churches and businesses settled in the area. In the 1920s, thanks to Miami’s real estate boom, the city of Riverside expanded greatly. There were new roads, like the representative 8th street, which allowed for greater development. Additionally, there was a great inflow of Jewish people who brought their businesses with them to Riverside. (Calle Ocho News).

After the end of World War 2, there was an era of economic prosperity in the U.S., which ignited a second real estate boom in Miami. There was a rapid development of suburban areas in Miami, which prompted the migration of Riverside residents into the new suburban developments. This left open space in Riverside, which was promptly filled by the Hispanic community (primarily Cuban) in the 1960s. The main reason for the great influx of Cuban immigrants was the Cuban revolution (July 26, 1953 – January 1, 1959). (Calle Ocho News).


Riverside demographics are listed below. (Niche).

Population: 21,784.

Education Levels:

  • Master’s degree or higher: 4%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 12%
  • Some college or associate’s degree: 17%
  • High school diploma or equivalent: 33%
  • Less than high school diploma: 34%

Racial Diversity:

  • Hispanic: 93%
  • White: 4%
  • African American: 3%
  • Two or more races: 0%
  • American Indian or Alaska native: 0%
  • Asian: 0%
  • Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0%
  • Other race: 0%


  • Male: 53%
  • Female: 47%


  • <10 years: 10%
  • 10-17 years: 8%
  • 18-24 years: 6%
  • 25-34 years: 16%
  • 35-44 years: 13%
  • 45-54 years: 15%
  • 55-64 years: 12%
  • 65+ years: 21%


Median Household Income: $22,263

  • <$25k: 54%
  • $25-$44k: 21%
  • $45-$74k: 15%
  • $75-$149k: 9%
  • $150k+: 1%

Interview to Gloria Moreno:

Gloria Moreno (CC by 4.0)

Oscar: “Please introduce yourself and describe your relationship with Riverside.”

Gloria: “My name is Gloria Moreno, I was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and I came to the United States in 1987 with my family. I have been living in Riverside since then.”

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

Gloria: “Many things have changed since I came. Everything is different. There has been a lot of construction and modernization. What hasn’t changed is the way I feel in Little Havana. I feel safe and I feel that I am at my home away from home.”

Oscar: “If you were given the chance to move anywhere else in the world, would you?”

Gloria: “Absolutely not. I have a great life settled here and I appreciate it a lot. I am already too old to be thinking about starting a new life somewhere else.”

Oscar: “Thank you very much for your time.”

Gloria: “It’s my pleasure.”


Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Riverside has several museums, monuments, historical landmarks. The majority of them are around 8th street (Calle Ocho), and the Cuban heritage of Miami. Among these, we have MDC’s Tower Theater Miami, Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, Calle Ocho Museum and Performing Arts Center, The Cuban Memorial Boulevard, The Calvary Baptist Church, and the Loan Depot Park. The latter is more of a modern-day landmark but it’s very significant in Miami’s and the United States’ baseball culture. I’m going to further expand on three of my favorite landmarks:

Loan Depot Park:

“LoanDepot Park (formerly Marlins Park and officially stylized as loanDepot park) is a retractable roof baseball park located in Miami, Florida. It is the current home of the Miami Marlins, the city’s Major League Baseball franchise. It is located on 17 acres of the former Miami Orange Bowl site in Little Havana, about 2 miles west of Downtown. Construction was completed in March 2012 for the 2012 season.” (Wikipedia).

Calle Ocho Walk of Fame:

Also called the Latin Walk of Fame, the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame was established in 1988 to recognize Latin celebrities with ties to South America. It runs between 12th Avenue and 17th Avenue. (Cafe la Carreta).

Calle Ocho Museum and Performing Arts Center:

“Considered to be a mainstay of the arts renaissance in Little Havana, Cubaocho is a museum and gathering space where art, music, dance, cigars, and mojitos converge. Art lovers can gaze at the museum’s large collection of 19th century and early- to mid-20th century Cuban art as they sip on a cocktail. Besides its art collection, Cuba Ocho is also home to a research library and cafe bar boasting an impressive selection of rums.” (CubaOcho).


Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

As far as parks and green areas, there are only a few considering the great number of residencies in Riverside. These are the Grove Park, the Grove Mini Park, the Ernesto Lecuona Park, Riverside Park, and the Jose Marti Park.

Jose Marti Park:

The Jose Marti Park was named after the Cuban patriot and poet who devoted his life to the idea of liberating his country. The park is 1.7 acres of green space along the Miami River. There are different recreational activities like basketball courts, an indoor gym, a six-lane, 25-meter pool, and a recreation building among others. The park also offers free yoga classes on Tuesdays on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau).

Riverside Park:

Riverside Park is a small park located in the southeast area of Riverside. The park counts with two basketball courts, a baseball field, and a playground.

Domino Park:

Maximo Gomez Park, better known as the Domino Park, is an iconic spot where Little Havana locals come to smoke cigars and to discuss the news over a game of dominoes. It is a common gathering spot for the families where the children can play and the parents can hang out. (The Jose Marti Park was named after the Cuban patriot and poet who devoted his life to the idea of liberating his country. The park is 1.7 acres of green space along the Miami River. There are different recreational activities like basketball courts, an indoor gym, a six-lane, 25-meter pool, and a recreation building among others. The park also offers free yoga classes on Tuesdays on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau).


Bus Stops in Riverside.
Miami-Dade County, Esri, HERE, Garmin, INCREMENT P, USGS, METI/NASA, EPA, USDA

The modes of public transportation in the city of Riverside are the Metrobus, taxicabs, and private transportation companies. The modes of private transportation are private vehicles, and along the Miami River, boats. As you can see on the map, riding the bus doesn’t give the people of Riverside access to the key stops like some of the public parks, or any location within the suburbs. This is a limiting factor that is common in the city of Miami, which tends to make owning a car a necessity for the people of Miami. A 15-minute commute by car can take an hour using public transportation.


Although there is a great deal of variety when it comes to the restaurants available in the city of Riverside, the most authentic and representative cuisine of Riverside is Cuban cuisine. After all, Riverside is also known as East Little Havana. Among the best restaurants in Riverside, we can find Versailles Restaurant, Sanguich de Miami, Azucar Ice Cream Company, Union Beer Store, Bar Nancy, Cafe La Trova, Los Altos, and El Santo Restaurant.

(Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau).

My top three restaurants to highlight for Cuban cuisine in Riverside are:


Azucar is an ice cream store located in Calle Ocho. It is well-known all-around Miami because of its great variety of flavors and its façade. It is a great spot to grab a delicious treat while visiting Calle Ocho’s tourist attractions. Its most popular ice cream flavor is “Abuela Maria”, it is made with vanilla ice cream, guava, and Maria cookies. It is featured in the picture above.

Versailles Restaurant:

This is the World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant, it opened its doors in 1971, and quickly became the gathering place and unofficial town square for Miami’s Cuban exiles. Today, it remains the unrelenting gauge of the community’s pulse. (Versailles Restaurant).

Cafe la Trova:

“The world-famous Julio Cabrera and his team of Cantineros bring to life the retro Cuba atmosphere with their artisanal, handcrafted cocktails. James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michelle Bernstein lends her culinary prowess with a contemporary take on Cuban-styled dishes. Immerse yourself in Miami Cuban culture with live music played by real Trova musicians.” (Cafe La Trova).


There are many different kinds of businesses in the city of Riverside. Ranging from family-owned restaurants, salons, and stores; to well-established companies and multinationals. I highlighted three companies from three different fields to show the diversity of businesses in Riverside.

RMK Merrill-Stevens:

“RMK Merrill-Stevens is a full-service shipyard dedicated to the refit and repair of the world’s finest yachts and vessels. Work is of the highest international standards and meets Classification Societies requirements, including ABS, Lloyds, and US Coast Guard Regulations. The shipyard handles many diverse projects of all sizes including major refits, rebuilds, and reconfigurations (including reengineering and repowering). RMK Merrill-Stevens adheres strictly to the Client’s individual needs, privacy, and confidentiality, whilst ensuring on time and to budget delivery upon completion.”(RMK Merrill-Stevens).

Nuro Marketing:

“Nuro Marketing Agency is a full-service web design, internet marketing, and web development agency offering integrated web solutions for businesses around the world.” (Nuro Marketing).

DMI Asphalt Equipment, LLC:

“Our company, initially incorporated in Miami; Fl has been serving customers in The Caribbean, Central, and South America since 1988.  The main core of our business is exporting asphalt plants, aggregate equipment, and general construction machinery. We offer after-sale technical services including plant setup and calibration, personnel training, 24-hour spare parts shipment, and custom fabrications if required.” (DMI Asphalt Equipment, LLC).


As you were able to see throughout this blog, Riverside is a very complex and rich city. It has a very significant Cuban influence and it is a very important place for Cuban history and culture; it has several museums and cultural sites which celebrate the Cuban heritage. Despite the fact that it was originally occupied by the Jewish community and it was a very luxurious place to live, housing in the city of Riverside isn’t as expensive as many other areas in Miami nowadays. The average household income is $22,263, $40,580 below the national average. This might be due to the fact that the average education level of its inhabitants is low compared to the national average, having 34% of its inhabitants with less than a high school diploma compared to the national average of 12%. Riverside’s most iconic landmark is up to personal interpretation, people might say it is the Loan Depot Park because of the size of the structure and the huge role that baseball plays in American Culture. However, I would argue that Riverside’s most iconic landmark is Calle Ocho because of its cultural importance. Calle Ocho not only represents Cuban culture but Miami’s culture as well.

I invite you to visit Riverside and the landmarks highlighted in this blog. Experience this neighborhood and learn from its history, it will give you a good idea of Miami’s culture and history.


Paul S. George “Riverside, Little Havana’s First Neighborhood Part 1″. January 9, 2019.

Paul S. George “Riverside, Little Havana’s First Neighborhood Part 2″. January 31, 2019.

Tompkins, Wayne. “Commissioners OK Plan to Have Marlins Change Name, Spring-Training Site”Miami Today. May 24, 2007.

Ramos, Roberto “The Ramos Cuban Art Collection (1800-1958)”. 2020.

Cardona, Carolina “Explore Calle Ocho in Little Havana” Jul 7, 2021.

Oscar Roa: Miami Service 2021

Student Bio

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

Hello! My name is Oscar Roa, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student from Bogotá, Colombia. I love going out and exploring Miami with my friends, working out, and playing music. I am always eager to learn from people who have different lifestyles and backgrounds from mine.


Photo by Jhon W. Bailly/CC by 4.0

I volunteered for this service project with Florida International University’s Honors College. Specifically, under the Miami in Miami class with professor John W. Bailly. This class was a great group to do the cleanup with since we are all like-minded individuals when it comes to our responsibility with the environment and sustainable practices.


Photo by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

The main reason behind our service project is to preserve Chicken Key’s biodiversity and to create consciousness within our student body of the impact that we as humans have on nature. It also encourages us as students to create our cleanups and take responsibility for our environments. One of the most important aspects of cleanups is what we do after. Many people volunteer for cleanups and put effort at the moment of picking up trash. But then they continue to live their lives the same way as before, using a lot of plastic products without recycling, purchasing products that aren’t manufactured under environmentally sustainable measures, etc. I think that it is our responsibility as students to spread awareness of the importance of sustainable practices, especially when we have experienced firsthand the consequences of contamination. I believe that environmental responsibility falls under all majors, as a mechanical engineering student, I am compromised with practicing sustainable methods in my career. Additionally, on a personal level, I want to change the stigma that lies around engineering students, who we are, and what we do. Many young students tell me that they don’t want to work in STEM because they are afraid that they will end up working in a cubicle for the rest of their lives. I know that many of my engineering classmates share my enthusiasm for different areas of study such as the arts and social sciences. I hope to inspire other students in the STEM area to pursue their careers without the fear of missing out on the other things they enjoy about life. I want to prove to them that one can be more than just a STEM major and that their career doesn’t have to become their life.


It was thanks to Nicole Patrick, a former FIU student who was very involved at the Deering Estate, that I first volunteered for Chicken Key’s Cleanup back in 2020. However, for this service project, our Miami in Miami 2021 class went under the supervision of professor Jhon W. Bailly. Totaling over 25 FIU honors students in a collective effort to clean Chicken Key. I still am in contact with Nicole, and I plan to continue creating events where FIU students can volunteer for Chicken Key cleanups throughout my different involvements on campus.

Where and What

Photo by Jhon W. Bailly/CC by 4.0

My service project was done in a single-day cleanup. We got there at 10:00 am, and then we canoed/kayaked from the Deering Estate to Chicken Key. The trip itself was about an hour-long since we stopped a couple of times. We then ventured inside chicken key with empty sandbags, two per student, and we started to pick up all the plastic we could find across the island. The process was exhausting considering the heat, humidity, and the fact that we had to bend over or crouch for an extensive amount of time. Little by little, we ended up filling up all of our sandbags with pieces of plastic. Some of them were as small as a penny and some of them were as big and heavy as a car wheel. With a total of over 25 students carrying 2 or more sandbags each, plus some items that were too big to fit in a bag, we ended up carrying a great amount of debris out of Chicken Key. Despite our great efforts and contributions, there was a lot more trash to be picked up. There were some pieces that we couldn’t reach, some that we couldn’t pick up because they were too big, and even some that we couldn’t touch for our safety. Even with a team of 100 people, it would take a long time to clean Chicken Key completely. The problem though is that every time that a group of students comes back to do a cleanup, there is more debris. It doesn’t matter how many cleanups we organize; the ocean is full of plastic that will continue to be washed in our shores.


My service project took place on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. From 10:00 am to 3:45 pm.


Photo by Carolina Echeverri/CC by 4.0

As an engineering student, it isn’t common for me to take courses like Miami in Miami, let alone courses that are not math-related. Thus, I value deeply in my heart the opportunity to take classes like this one and partake in this kind of activity so different from my field of study and unique in nature. From kayaking under the sun and through the peaceful water, interacting with the wildlife, and having fun with my fellow classmates; to picking up debris from the mangroves, getting cuts in my legs, and carrying a giant smelly plastic part; this has been one of the best experiences in my college career. Not only am I having a great time, but I also am contributing to the preservation of local wildlife and protecting the birthplace of several endangered species. (Deering Estate. “Conservation”). In terms of what worked and went well, I consider that everything went smoothly when it came to kayaking and collecting the debris. Everyone had a great attitude towards the cleanup effort and the professor patiently waited for those students who struggled with paddling. In terms of what didn’t work it’s very hard to say that we could have done things differently to have a greater impact on chicken key. One becomes frustrated with the fact that despite all the cleanup efforts, there will always be more trash to pick up that keeps on getting washed ashore from the ocean. The problem of contamination will never be solved by cleanups if we don’t stop contamination in the first place.

Works Cited

Deering Estate. “Conservation.” Conservation – Deering Estate

Oscar Roa: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Photo by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Hello! My name is Oscar Roa, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I’m a third-year mechanical engineering student from Bogotá, Colombia. I love going out and exploring Miami with my friends, working out, and playing music. I am always eager to learn from people who have different lifestyles and backgrounds from mine.

Downtown as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Scattered Slices and Peels

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Downtown Miami 08 September 2021.

Visiting downtown Miami was an opportunity to reflect on the history of this city and examine how different events and people in the past determined every aspect of the Miami we know today.

The first picture of my collage shows the Freedom Tower, a building that stands as a symbol of hope for immigrants that come to seek a better life in Miami. This building is particularly significant to Cubans who got political asylum, it was in this building that they got their documents as U.S. citizens. There is, however, some irony in this building’s architecture. The building is inspired by the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Which was originally a Muslim building with religious purposes. The irony is that a building that was built as a beacon of hope for immigrants that come to Miami was inspired by a building that was part of the culture that is most discriminated against in the U.S. and that is in desperate need of humanitarian aid right now. Discrimination is, unfortunately, a big part of the history of Miami. The second picture in my collage shows the remnants of a segregated Miami where black people had to sit in the back of public transportation. A key moment for racial discrimination was when Color Town (nowadays Overtown), was established so that rich white people didn’t have to leave around black people from Miami. This had an impact that is still plausible in modern-day Miami. The demographics of Miami established around Henry Flagler’s railroads still prevail today.

Despite its history of racism and discrimination, Miami continues to be a place where people from all around the world come seeking better opportunities. This is best represented in Claes Oldenberg’s and Coosje Van Bruggen’s “Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels”. They describe Miami’s different cultures as orange slices and peels that are scattered all around the city. And that’s the magic of Miami, wherever you go there are remnants of foreign cultures.

Overtown as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

A Society Divided by Development

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Overtown 03 October 2021.

Overtown may be one of the most overlooked historic places in Miami. There are multiple remnants of segregated Miami such as the Historic Baptist church (Picture 1) and the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater (Picture 2). It is very sad to see how Miami’s progress and rapid development have forced the displacement of the African American community. Even to the point where one of the most important places in the history of the civil rights movement was partially demolished for the construction of an interstate highway.

Miami’s segregation and the mandate that all people of color had to spend the night within Overtown led to an unexpected turn of events where the most important nightclubs with the most popular jazz musicians ended up being located in Overtown, bringing a lot of money and prosperity to a black neighborhood. Artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holliday were amongst the artists who performed in the Lyric Theater. One would expect that Overtown would have become one of the most important places in Miami but, since it was a black neighborhood, there were evident attempts to disrupt its progress.

The most evident attack to Overtown was the placement and construction of Interstate 95. Many black families weren’t able to own a house at the time, so the majority of them had to rent an apartment.  These families were asked to leave their homes so that they could be demolished for the construction of the highway with little time and no compensation. This highway also forced the Historic Baptist Church to give up its clergy house.

Unfortunately, this displacement isn’t just something from the past. We have a modern-day example of the same situation going on in Wynwood. Where the rapid growth of bars and clubs has led to the displacement of African American families. Where will we draw the line?

Vizcaya as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

A Historically Consistent Lavish Lifestyle

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Vizcaya 29 October 2021.

It is no secret that the city of Miami is renowned worldwide as a paradisiacal destination full of parties, beautiful people, and a lavish lifestyle. It isn’t surprising then, that this image of Miami has developed in part thanks to the construction of two luxurious estates: Deering Estate, and Vizcaya. I will focus on the latter in this discussion.

The lavish lifestyle that James Deering was able to afford for himself was paramount to social inequality when compared to his workers and the segregated African American community in Miami. Unfortunately, however, it’s still the perfect depiction of Miami’s current reality. Like most of the developed cities of the world, Miami has a huge juxtaposition of poverty and wealth. While visiting Vizcaya I looked at its contents as well as its gardens and I thought to myself that it all belonged to a museum. But then I came to the realization that there is nothing obsolete about Vizcaya. It is a perfect reflection of modern society. The only thing that changes are the contents of these luxurious houses where the wealthy live. It is sad to see how despite all of the progress in our society and the development of new technologies, some human traits don’t seem to change with time. It appears that there will always be a gap of inequality in our society and that we will never do anything about it.

Despite its beautiful gardens, artwork, and architecture, Vizcaya is and will always be a depiction of the worst aspects of society.

South Beach as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

The Importance of Historic Sites’ Conservation

By Oscar Roa of FIU at South Beach 8 November 2021.

South beach is what most foreigners think about when they think of Miami. Beautiful beaches, art deco buildings, and luxurious cars are amongst the most representative things of South Beach. Even though it is currently a place with lots of economic growth and events such as the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, it was hard to believe that there was a period in which South Beach was under an intense economic decline.

Despite their great architectural value, the art deco hotels became rather obsolete compared to the resort hotels emerging around the world. From an economic standpoint, the most logical thing to do was to get rid of all the art deco hotels and build modern hotels that would attract more tourists. However, this would have been a great loss in terms of the historical value that the art deco district has. People like Barbara Baer advocated for the conservation of historical places, and it is thanks to people like her that this important district didn’t get lost with the development of the city. This is a great contrast compared to what happened in Overtown.

In my opinion, South Beach is a great example of a functioning modern economy that respects and protects its historic infrastructure. The art deco district attracts thousands of tourists every year and brings in money to the city of Miami. A great example of this symbiotic relationship between a modern economy and the preservation of historical sites is the H&M that was built inside the old Lincoln Theater.

Deering as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

The Importance of Natural Conservation

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Deering Estate 17 November 2021.

Deering estate is home to many unique habitats including the Miami Rock Ridge, mangrove forests, chicken key, and submerged seagrass. The fact that there is such a great variety of ecosystems in such a small area makes Deering estate very unique and valuable. Being able to hike across Deering’s different landmarks was a great experience that put me into perspective and made me realize how disconnected I was from the true wilderness.  

Even more important than its natural beauty, the Miami Rock Ridge serves as a barrier between Biscayne Bay and the interior of the Florida peninsula, protecting it from the harsh conditions of the environment and the corrosiveness of the ocean. Being able to see this habitat practically unaffected by human activity was a truly unique opportunity that opened my eyes to the importance of nature conservation. The Deering Estate could have easily been destroyed many decades ago and be just more buildings and tourist sites, just like the mangroves that were carelessly removed for the development of Miami beach. An inevitable question arises then when it comes to nature conservation. Where do we draw the line? When does the historical value of a place eclipse the potential of a city’s development?  

This question is then left for us to answer, especially in third-world countries that are currently developing. If we don’t protect untouched natural habitats, we will lose that precious connection to the past. But in doing this, we will be preventing smaller countries from developing using the same methods that our first-world countries used for centuries. 

Rubell as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Contemporary Art in Miami

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Rubell Museum 24 November 2021.

My experience in the Rubell museum was one of the most memorable experienced I’ve had at a museum. It was a sensory overload with art that I wouldn’t have thought belonged in a museum. The contemporary artists reference issues and Ideas that I can relate to and not just something that I have to try to imagine. I was moved by many of the pieces exhibited, but the ones that had the greatest impact on me are the ones displayed above.

The Rubell Museum is one of the biggest private contemporary art collections in North America. It counts with 53,000-square-feet of exhibition space divided into 36 galleries: 65% dedicated to longer-term installations and 35% to special exhibitions, all drawn from the collection. (Rubell Museum). Seeing a privately owned collection of art as big as the Rubell Museum made me think a lot. To begin with, I felt a deep connection to the art and I was excited to see everything in the museum. It was a very unexpected experience since I had no idea about the kind of art that the museum had. On the other hand, I felt very humbled and even somewhat frustrated. It frustrated me to see that a single family can own so much for themselves.

Nonetheless, visiting the Rubell Museum was a great experience where I was exposed to state-of-the-art exhibitions that would not have been possible to create in the past because of the materials used in them.  

Untitled as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

Untitled Art Exhibition

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Rubell Museum 1 December 2021.

There is an interesting controversy around the way art is treated in galleries like Untitled. Many artists don’t like sending their art to this kind of gallery since the main purpose is to sell the art rather than exhibit it for the sake of art appreciation. I believe that there are very valid reasons to defend either stand.

On one hand, some people don’t like how art galleries work since it’s the business side of the industry. Money then becomes the main priority and the art itself and what it represents translates to a secondary plane. On the other hand, artists need to support their art and themselves. They have bills to pay and projects that they are pursuing. I personally agree with artists who bring their work to galleries and sell it for large amounts. It doesn’t take away from the value and power of their art. There were several works that I enjoyed, and I wish I could have purchased them for myself. My personal highlights of the exhibition are displayed above.

One of my biggest takeaways from Untitled was how hard it is for an artist to present their work at galleries. Seeing the long, complicated, and expensive processes that artists have to go through just for the opportunity to sell their art makes me understand why art can be so expensive. On top of course of the value that comes from their ability to evoke emotion in their audience.

Everglades as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa/CC by 4.0

A Temple of Life

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Everglades National Park, January 23, 2022.

I had the unique opportunity to immerse myself deep in the everglades and connect with nature in a way that I had never experienced before.  Not only was I able to learn about the vital importance that this ecosystem has in Florida, but I also got to connect with nature and have an introspective experience.

I was aware of the fact that the everglades provide fresh drinking water for Miami, but I did not know exactly how this water got filtrated. Turns out that it is thanks to Periphyton algae, which serves many different roles in the everglades ecosystem. It is found towards the outside of the ecosystem, acts as a shelter for small insects, and oxygenates the water. As I ventured deeper into the woods I was able to see how clear the water was and how wildlife was ubiquitous. We were lucky enough to see a snake and several Wood Stork birds up close.  

We also had the opportunity to have a minute of silence to better connect with nature and process the visual and sensory overload that we were experiencing. This was a very unique experience for me and it allowed me to realize how fortunate we are to live in a place like Miami and to be able to visit such a unique place in the world. This introspective experience inspired me to come back on my own and get more in touch with nature. But more importantly, it inspired me to educate people on the importance of nature conservation.

Coral Gables as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa and Jhon Bailly CC by 4.0

Historical Architecture & a Planned City

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Everglades National Park, January 30, 2022.

The city of Coral Gables is easy to recognize because of its Mediterranean Revival architecture and luxurious buildings. It is no coincidence that there is such a wealthy community of individuals living in this city. Planned by George Merrick, the city of Coral Gables is an example of exceptional planning and development.

Some of the most important buildings in Coral Gables are the Coral Gables Museum, the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables Elementary School, the Colonade Building, and the Coral Gables City Hall. One of the most important aspects that these buildings have in common apart from their historical importance, is their architecture and flamboyant interior design. These buildings were designed to look impressive both inside and outside to attract investors to Coral Gables. At the time, there was not much development in the city of Miami, and being able to see such buildings in the middle of a developing city was what the wealthy investors needed in order to rest assured that their investment was going to be successful.

It was because of the intentional planning of the city and its buildings that it became a place for millionaires to settle, and that is why today the city of coral gables has an average household income of $100843, and an average property value of $846100. (Datausa). Overall, like many of the wealthiest places in Miami, Coral Gables was built by Bahamians, the only people who knew how to work the oolite limestone. Unfortunately, like many of the places in Miami, the people who built them weren’t allowed to stay in them. Hence why even nowadays the demographic distribution of the city of Coral Gables is:

  • White: 91.85%
  • Black or African American: 3.07%
  • Asian: 2.44%
  • Two or more races: 1.99%
  • Other race: 0.60%
  • Native American: 0.04%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.00%

Source: World Population Review.

River of Grass as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa CC by 4.0

An Introspective Experience

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Everglades National Park, February 23, 2022.

            As a college student troubled by the mundane problems that come with getting an education while juggling the responsibilities of becoming an adult, visiting the Everglades National Park helped me settle down and put my life into perspective.

            Seeing nature at its untouched state is an eye-opener. It reminded me of how detached I have become from the things that matter in life, from nature, and myself. It is a fact that the everglades hold a great deal of biodiversity and that it is thanks to its natural water filtration that Florida residents have access to clean water. Those facts have been previously stated in this blog.  This reflection’s focus is more on what I learned by immersing myself deep inside the everglades. From my pictures above you can see the great variety of plants and flowers that grows in this peaceful but isolated environment. Realizing that all this magnificence of nature just goes unnoticed in my daily routine makes me realize how immersed our society has become in things that aren’t natural. Social media, social strata, economic growth, sexual appeal, among others, are the kind of things that flood most people’s minds nowadays. None of them related to our connection to nature and none of them are truly essential for us to survive.

            The importance of protecting and visiting pure natural sites like the everglades national park lies in the way one can reconnect with nature and one’s true self. I encourage anyone who might be reading this to visit a national park or, at least, to try to immerse themselves in nature and disconnect from this overly wired world we live in.

Wynwood as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa CC by 4.0

The Power of Contemporary Art

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Wynwood, March 05, 2022.

The Margulies Collection and Institute of Contemporary Art were a great opportunity for me to reaffirm the great importance that Miami has in the contemporary art world. Being able to experience artworks like the ones that you are able to see above in person was both unique and refreshing. It made me realize that museum-worthy art isn’t necessarily something from the past. Modern-day artists convey strong messages and transmit emotions that are more relevant to our generation.

            In the Margulies Collection, I saw a big sculpture that was made of shoe boxes. I particularly connected with this work of art because it reminded me of hard work and the struggle that people in many third-world countries deal with. Many of my family members are still in Colombia and they have to work very hard to fulfill their most basic needs. Being in the privileged position of examining artwork that expresses the hardships of labor from the comfort of a first-world country in a private collection gives me a sense of guilt and remorse. I feel as if it is unfair to everyone else from my family that I get to see things from a privileged perspective while they have to experience them firsthand.

            The power of contemporary art is that it makes us think about modern-day problems and it has, in my opinion, a stronger impact on younger people. I invite you to experience contemporary art museums near you every once in a while.

Key Biscayne as Text

Photo by Oscar Roa CC by 4.0

The Lighthouse

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Key Biscayne, March 22, 2022.

Visiting the lighthouse at Key Biscayne was an amazing experience. It helped me realize how fortunate I am to be in the Miami in Miami class. It is not only because of the view that I got to appreciate from the lighthouse’s top floor but because of the opportunity to connect with our history that I say this.

              The lighthouse in Key Biscayne is a place full of history. It was here that American Indians launched an organized attack against the English settlers and were able to successfully burn down the lighthouse. In my opinion, it is the best opportunity that I’ve had to connect with real American history because of its connection to the native American removal act (Indian Removal Act). It was really fascinating and disturbing to hear about the story about native Americans attacking the lighthouse. I believe it is the first time I feel that I can directly connect with history because I’m at the place where it all happened, and it hasn’t been changed. The Indian removal act was taught to me in school, but I never knew that Miami had a role in it, let alone refugees leaving from Key Biscayne. It’s a shame that we’re not taught about these topics that are so pertinent to our history and our city in school.

              I hope that American schools actually teach the students about the history of their own city so that people from Miami actually know the importance of the Key Biscayne lighthouse without having to take a college class.

Coconut Grove as Text

Photos by Oscar Roa CC by 4.0

Bahamians in the Grove

By Oscar Roa of FIU at Coconut Grove, March 30, 2022.

The city of Coconut Grove holds a special place in the history of the city of Miami because it shows how there was a symbiotic relationship between the Bahamians and the northern settlers in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

              Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup was one of the biggest influences on Bahamian settlements in the Coconut Grove area. He was responsible for the construction of over 100 houses for African Americans, to whom he would offer the opportunity to rent the house with an option of purchase. (Stirrup House, Coconut Grove civic club). This also influenced the architectural style of Coconut Grove. One of the most common types of houses in the Grove is called the “shotgun house” which was brought from the Bahamas. This design allows air to flow through the construction for better ventilation.

              Visiting Coconut Grove as a student who knows how crucial Bahamians were for the development of the city of Miami is comforting. It is nice to see that many of these early houses are well taken care of. It is even more comforting to know that some Bahamians had a decent lifestyle for their time. Not everyone who helped build this great city lived in extreme poverty. It also feels good to learn that important historical figures are buried at a cemetery that I can visit in my city. The Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery has some of the most important Bahamians in the history of Coconut Grove buried in it. One can simply come to pay respects to the people who made Miami as we know it today possible.

%d bloggers like this: