Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holidays at the Rod and Gun Club!

When I was growing up in Miami, we always used to go at some point during the Christmas holidays to the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City for a day or two to enjoy the cool weather on the west coast of Florida, eat stone crabs and do a little boating through the Thousand Islands. In later years my best friend in High School and I used to organize an improptu day-long rally down Alligator Alley, with lunch at the Club, usually punctuated by someone's old british roadster breaking down along the way! It's amazing but this bit of Florida history is still around and kicking after all these years. Still as lovely as ever and great fun to visit. Less than a 2 hour trip from Miami, I am surprised so many Miamians either don't know the place or have never been to it. Everglades City was a pretty ramshackle town of the kind you saw many of in the old days. While its been somewhat modernized, it still retains that old Florida Cracker style and look.

Prior to 1923, Everglades City was called Everglade, a name given the settlement along the crooked little Allen's River in 1893 by Bembery Storter after the U.S. Post Office refused the request for the name Chokoloskee, which is now the name of an old outpost just to the south at the western entrance to Everglades National Park. Flamingo, the third of the old original towns, still marking the end of the main park road, is now a park community with a campground, ranger station, marina and lodge. Farming was the primary occupation of people living in the area and included sugarcane, bananas, and vegetables. George T. Storter is considered the true founder of the town. He and his family were prominent in Everglade's growth and activities and owned much of the land around the town until the arrival of Baron Collier in 1923. It was under the Storter stewardship that the Everglade began to draw visitors and sportsmen. The Rod and Gun Club was built around the Storter home.

Barron Collier is primarily responsible for the foundation of Everglades City as you see it today. In 1923 he and his company purchased most of the land in and surrounding the town. Within five years the sleepy trading post and farming community was converted into a bustling industrial-based company town replete with roads, a railroad, a bank, a telephone, sawmills, a boatyard, churches, a school, workers' barracks and mess halls, and even its own streetcar at one time. It served as the county seat of Collier County until 1960, when prosperity waned and county offices were moved to Naples. Neighboring Chokoloskee did not have a road until a causeway was built from the mainland in 1956.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Grove........Now and Then

Funny, but what got me going on this riff was a Friday afternoon stopover to the Titanic Brewery by the University of Miami fopr a brew or two with my buddies the other day. It just hit me that this was the old Flick coffeehouse that I used to go to in the 60’s to see all the great musicians that lived in Coconut Grove back then. Back in the late 60’s I lived in a duplex apartment complex on Aviation Avenue in the Grove. It was owned by an old doll that had been a bit player in the movies back in the 20’s and 30’s and was a ringer for the Norma Desmond character in “Sunset Boulevard”. As with everyone else in the Grove she was a lovable eccentric. The complex was a big one acre property with four duplexes surrounded by beautiful vegetation that sat just above the bay looking down on Monty Traynor’s old place and the Dinner key marina. I shared the flat with a college buddy from UM that worked selling buttons for his uncle in New Jersey. I had just gotten a job for the county government as a photographer that barely paid me enough money to live but included a car so I was set.

Back then, the Grove was a pretty funky old fishing village and all the old Miamians would warn you not to drive through it lest you got shanghaied by some shady character. In the center of town was the Peacock family ship’s chandlery where Cocowalk now stands and the Florida Pharmacy catty corner to it where we all went to the luncheon counter to have breakfast. Peacock Park and the old Public Library stood just south of the main drag as it does today, running down to the bay. If you had a few extra bucks you went to have a few drinks at the Old Grove Pub, got dinner at the Taurus Steakhouse on Main Highway and went to see “Hair” or “Equus” at the Playhouse just down the street. Scornavacca had his art studio down the alleyway between the Pharmacy and St Stephen’s school which I attended for one year when it opened in 1959. Except for these landmarks, the Grove was a series of heavily vegetated little streets lined with old Florida slash pine bungalows built by the original Bahamian settlers back in the 1920’s. Most of these which ran along Oak Avenue were converted to “head shops” where the high school kids would go to buy psychedelic posters, pot paraphernalia and tied dyed anything. The town was patrolled by “Bob the Cop” on horseback and all official duties, including weddings, were performed by “Joe Bicycle” the local notary public and merchant.

The guy who really “discovered” the Grove in the 60’s and made it a favored haunt for the musical community was Vince Martin. Martin at the time was a folk legend and considered one of the great folk singers of his day by Bob Dylan Joni Mitchell, John Sebastian and many other contemporaries. As Vince tells it, he was here doing a gig in the early 1960’s when he found himself driving down South Bayshore Drive and happened upon this beautiful little village. There was a full moon and he could smell night blooming jasmine in the air. He was struck and eventually moved down here from Greenwich Village. He lived just down the street from me on Aviation Avenue. As his friends visited him and were struck by the natural beauty of the Grove, many moved here or spent a big part of their time here. One of these was the great Fred Neil who died here in 2001. Inspired by the Grove, in 1969 Vince wrote and recorded with Fred Neil “If the Jasmine Don't Get You ... the Bay Breeze Will”. John Sebastian was a close friend of Martin and Neil and spent a lot of time in the Grove at Vince’s house. If you’re old enough to Remember Spanky and the Gang, they got their start here in the Grove when Oz Bach and Nigel Pickering were showing Elaine “Spanky” MacFarlane around the Grove and a hurricane hit. They spent the next eight hours hiding out in a chicken coup jamming and that’s how the group eventually got together!

All these artists and so many more played the circuit here in Miami back in those days, including the Flick and the Gaslight Coffee House in the Grove. Joni Mitchell was discovered at the Gaslight by David Crosby who was passing through on his sailboat the Mayan which was docked at Dinner Key. In fact, Jimmy Buffet was then an unknown young kid who was the opening act for many guys like Martin and Neil at these coffeehouses. Besides Martin’s song, the Grove was immortalized by John Sebastian after he left the Lovin Spoonful and wrote the song “Coconut Grove”. As the song says “its really true how nothing matters, no mad, mad world, no mad hatters. Nobody’s pitching, cause there ain’t no batters in Coconut Grove” When I think back to those days, I can truly say it was a magical place. No resemblance to the crass commercial locale it has become. I know in many ways it is a “better” place today, but I can honestly say that what it was will never be rivaled by what it may become.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monkeys with Hand Grenades!

By David Evans Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Florida local governments and school districts pulled $8 billion out of a state-run investment pool,or 30 percent of its assets, after learning that the money-market fund contained more than $700 million of defaulted debt. Orange County, home of Disney World, removed its entire$370 million from the pool on Nov. 16, two days after the head of the agency that manages the state's short-term investments disclosed the defaulted debt in a report delivered to Governor Charlie Crist. ``Our primary goal is to protect our funds,'' said Jim Moye, Orange County's chief deputy comptroller, from his office in Orlando. The county's school board withdrew $388 million this week, following other local governments that pulled funds, including Dade County and Pompano Beach. The withdrawals, made since Nov. 14, were disclosed to Bloomberg News in a response to an open-records request. The State Board of Administration manages about $42 billionof short-term investments, including the pool, as well as the state's $137 billion pension fund. Almost 6 percent, or $2.4 billion, of its short-term investments consist of asset-backed commercial paper that has defaulted. Those holdings include $425 million in Axon Financial, a structured investment vehicle, or SIV, according to state records. About $19 billion remained in the pool this week after the unprecedented wave of withdrawals, which came after the State Board of Administration reported its holdings of downgraded debt to Crist at a Nov. 14 public meeting of his cabinet inTallahassee. The disclosures followed a month of inquiries by Bloomberg News to Florida officials.
Word Spreads
``Knowing other people were pulling out, and that word was spreading, we looked at the potential for a run on the pool,'' said Orange County's Moye. Coleman Stipanovich, the State Board of Administration's executive director, declined to comment. Should the withdrawals continue, Florida's pool may have to consider filing for bankruptcy protection, says John Coffee, asecurities law professor at Columbia Law School in New York. ``A bankruptcy could handle these kinds of problems if they feel they'll become insolvent,'' he said. Coffee predicts the pool will likely file lawsuits to recover losses. ``I'd expect the pool is going to sue the people who sold them the commercial paper, saying the risks were hidden,'' he said. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sold Florida most of its now-default-rated asset-backed commercial paper. Lehman spokesman Randall Whitestone declined to comment.
Schools, Water Districts
Thousands of school, fire, water and other local districts across the U.S. keep their cash in state- and county-run pools. These public accounts, modeled after private money market funds, are supposed to invest in safe, liquid, short-term debt such as U.S. Treasuries and certificates of deposit from highly rated banks. The Florida pool, which was the largest of its kind in theU.S. at $27 billion before the recent spate of withdrawals, has invested $2 billion in SIVs and other subprime-tainted debt, state records show. Connecticut, Maine, Montana and King County,Washington, are among other governments holding similar investments, in smaller quantities. The Florida pool's $900 million of defaulted asset-backed commercial paper now amounts to almost 5 percent of its holdings. The paper, which carried top ratings from Standard &Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings as recentlyas August, was downgraded after declines in the value of collateral affected by the subprime mortgage slump.
SIVs are typically offshore companies created by banks and other firms to sell short-term debt to buy mortgage securities and finance company bonds with higher yields. They profit on the spread between the two. Banks such as New York-based Citigroup, which manages $83 billion in SIVs, collect fees for running SIVs while keeping their contents off the bank's books. SIVs finance themselves by selling asset-backed commercial paper, or short-term loans backed by collateral such as mortgages. When the subprime debt market blew up in August, investors stopped buying SIV commercial paper. As a result, in Septemberand October, some SIVs didn't have the cash to pay debt holders. At Crist's Nov. 14 cabinet meeting, Stipanovich said that while there was ``disappointment'' over recent downgraded investments, no local government had ever lost money in the pool since its creation in 1982.
Investor Confidence
Stipanovich also assured Crist and Florida Chief FinancialOfficer Alex Sink at that time that the pool maintained the confidence of its depositors. ``There are a lot of rumors flying around,'' testifiedStipanovich. ``I'm not aware that there have been any material outflows.'' Moye said Orange County pulled out of the pool this month because the State Board of Administration failed to provide adequate or timely disclosure to pool participants about its troubled investments. On Nov. 20, Pinellas County yanked its entire $300 millionfrom the pool. ``My first job is to safeguard principal,'' said Ken Burke,Clerk of the Pinellas Circuit Court. A certified public accountant, Burke controls the county's cash. He said a quarterly newsletter for pool participants, published Nov. 1,which mentioned downgrades but not defaults, wasn't candid aboutthe pool's predicament. ``If some bad news comes out, the first thing I'd do is contact my customers and give them my side. The newsletter didn't tell us the full story,'' said Burke. ``It made it sound like a bump in the road.''
Countrywide Investments
Neither the newsletter nor Stipanovich's testimony disclosed that the pool owns $650 million of certificates of deposit from Countrywide Bank FSB, a unit of CountrywideFinancial Corp., that now amounts to more than 3 percent of the pool's assets. The bank's rating was cut to Baa1, three levels above junk, by Moody's on Aug. 16. When local governments withdraw funds from the pool, the state must sell off holdings to raise the cash. Because Florida's pool has been forced to quickly raise billions of dollars to meet withdrawal demands, it won't get top dollar for its asset sales, says Joseph Mason, professor of finance at Drexel University. ``When funds like this are liquidated, the Street will take advantage of their desperation. They don't care if you're a hedge fund or a school district,'' said Mason, who completed an18-month appointment as a scholar in residence at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in January.
First in Line
Mason, who has studied the history of bank failures, understands the rush by Florida municipalities to pull their money from the pool. ``The first people in the withdrawal line get 100 percentof their money,'' he said. ``The loss is suffered by the people behind them in line. Since nobody wants to be at the end, you get a run on the pool.'' Mason says while the state of Florida has a moral duty to cover any losses suffered by the pool participants, its own shaky finances will make that difficult. The fourth most-populous state, hurt by the housing slump, cut its revenue projections by 3.9 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30,and 5.2 percent for the following year. ``The state appears to have breached the trust of the investors by putting money in new kinds of debt its managers didn't fully understand, in their search for higher yields,''Mason said.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Subprime Mortgage Mess Explained!

For all of you struggling to understand the current subprime mortgage mess, herewith is a perfect explanation provided by our British cousins across the pond. While it may make you laugh it is all perfectly true! Be sure to call your local securities broker and thank him for making this all possible.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rat Pack Role Playing- Cruise the Old Strip

Remember cruising north of downtown on Biscayne Boulevard in the 50's and 60's? Passing "Motel Row" from the 50s to the 79th Street Causeway? Those brightly lit and gaudy motels made you feel like you were cruisin the strip in Vegas with Frankie and the boys!. Officially designated by the City of Miami as a historic district in 2006, the Miami Modern (MiMo)/ Biscayne Boulevard (BiBo) is Miami's sole commercial historic district. The district's shining stars are the motels along this major thoroughfare: a distinctive group of buildings illustrative of the 1950s hey-day of motor culture and the optimism and sense of prosperity that characterized the era. The MiMo/BiBo district is also home to some notable examples of other styles of historic Miami architecture, such as Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Mediterranean Revival. So hop in your cruiser, convertible or bike, tune to the oldies station, and put your best shades on. Enjoy the shopping in the area's distinctive fashion-minded stores, look for a new Eames era coffee table in the antique shops, and grab a bite to eat in the many restaurants. For more information on restaurants and shops in MiMo/BiBo, please visit this website:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Arch Creek Park- for a nice weekend stroll!~

One of my favorite parks in Dade County is a little and little known park in North Miami called Arch Creek Park. It's a wonderful place to go and take a weekend stroll and feel transported to the Miami of days gone by. Arch Creek has had many narrow misses with the encroachment of civilization over the years but thanks to the efforts of many community folk it has survived and flourished as a natural site and not just one more mass entertainment area like so many other parks in the County. Historically, it is far more important than the Tequesta Circle on the Miami River. Arch Creek, and the area surrounding it, was one of six Tequesta Indian occupation sites built along Dade County estuaries. The Tequestas established other campsites at the Oleta River, Surfside, Little River, the Miami River, and Snapper Creek. Arch Creek, however, was unique. It had a natural limestone bridge spanning 60 feet, from which the Indians could fish and which provided a raised, dry highway to the Everglades. Over the years, the Army Corps of Engineers wanted to blow up the bridge and Chrysler Motors wanted to pave over the entire park to build an auto dealership. Today, Arch Creek is an eight-acre site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the first settler's original coontie starch mill are still visible across the creek, and the Park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County. To me it's like a microcosm of what Florida looked like to the original settlers at the turn of the century. Treat yourself to a weekend visit, you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jimbo's Place- A Genuine, Original Florida Establishment

Jimbo's Place is one of the few old fish shacks left in Miami. It is located on Virginia Key at the entrance to Key Biscayne. James "Jimbo" Luznar opened his bait shop there in 1954 and is still going strong. Jimbo started selling beer and delicious smoked fish shortly thereafter and has been a preferred stop for boaters and beachgoers alike. As a kid, we would go to the beach on the little stretch of beach on the west side of the bridge and then cross over to the Virginia Key side to enjoy Jimbo's smoked fish for lunch. The Virginia Key side was the only beach set aside for the black community in the era of segregation. There were many old fish shacks like Jimbo's in those days, usually located near a popular beach location catering to hungry boaters and beachgoers, but today they are all gone and a distant memory to most old Miamians. Jimbo's is unique in that he offers a great old bocce ball court where visitors can engage in a game while sippin beer and munching on awesome smoked fish fillets! I always worry that sites like Virginia Key will eventually be "gentrified" out of existence. Fortunately, the black community is actively involved in preserving the area's history through the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust to oversee the development of the historic Park property. The Trust has been working diligently to restore and preserve this historical treasure. In August 2002, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and given a Florida Historical Marker. You can visit the Jimbo's PLace website at Better yet, get in your car an take a trip there. There is nothing better on a hot sultry weekend day than a visit to Jimbo's!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The New State Bird- The Miami Crane

Miami Condo Glut Pushes Florida's Economy to Brink of Recession2007-07-20 00:10 (New York)
By Bob Ivry July 20 (Bloomberg) -- In the middle of the biggest glut of condominiums in more than 30 years, Miami developers keep on building. The oversupply will force prices down as much as 30percent, the worst decline since the 1970s, and help push Florida's economy into recession as early as October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at West Chester, Pennsylvania-based Moody's, who owns a home in Vero Beach, Florida. ``Florida is the epicenter for all the problems that exist in the housing industry,'' said Lewis Goodkin, president of Goodkin Consulting Corp. and a property adviser in Miami for the past 30 years, who also foresees a recession. ``The problems we have now are unprecedented and a lot of people will get burnt.'' Thirty-seven new high-rise condos and 20,000 new units are being built in Miami's 1,040-acre downtown, where sales fell almost 50 percent in May, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The new units will join the 22,924 existing condos in Miami-Dade County that were for sale in April, according to Jack McCabe, chief executive officer of McCabe Research &Consulting LLC in Deerfield Beach, Florida. That's the most unsold units since McCabe began tracking sales in 2002. ``Have you been to Miami lately?'' Florida Governor Charlie Crist said at a home builders' conference last week in Orlando.``It's like we have a new state bird: the building crane.''

Why is this a Miami Memory? Easy, because we lived a much smaller version of this in the 1970's that took a bunch of banks down with it. However, as one pundit noted in this story, the difference is that in the 70's affordable condos were built that no one wanted to buy while in this version Unaffordable condos are being built that no one wants to buy!

Last Minute Notice-Miami Stadium Documentary

What is there to save?
Friday, July 20th, 2007
7:00 – 9:00 PM
City Hall Chambers, 3500 Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove
Admission is free and open to the public.
White Elephant tells the remarkable story of Miami / Bobby Maduro Stadium - one of South
Florida's most unforgettable architectural icons. The film is a testament to the unyielding common ground that exists in this diverse community. The story of Miami Stadium leads from its pristine field to the jungles of Cuba's Sierra Maestra Mountains; from the hallowed halls of the U.S.Congress to the tumultuous streets of Miami. It is a story that links these seemingly disparate places in a fascinating web of social, political and personal intrigue. It is also a story about a building destined for greatness yet doomed to a future of unrealized potential; of a group of visionaries fueled by the magic of a city where fantasies have always been the common currency; and it is about a teenage boy prematurely thrust into the limelight's uncomfortable glow in a town on theverge of history. "The KIE team, along with Llanes' production company, CANTILEVER Productions, has taken a sprawling and complex story about the intersection of the Old Miami Stadium, the Cuban Revolution, Minor League Baseball, Urban Renewal, Civil Rights and one family's personal tragedies and turned them into a fascinating and curious story. Spanning roughly the entire second half of the 20th Century, "White Elephant" manages to tie all these disparate pieces together." --- Neil Hecker WPBT Channel 2 in Miami
Q & A following the film with Producers and Directors of White Elephant. Arrive early…Limited
seating available in Chambers!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stone Age Antiques- Nautical Bliss

When I was a teenager, one of the most fun things to do was to drop in to this shop. Back then it was on NW 27th Avenue just before the Miami River bridge. Milton Stone, the owner, was quite a character..a total curmudgeon! His son that now runs the store says he looked like Humpty Dumpty which is pretty accurate. He would always be grousing when we walked in to wander through aisles filled with every form of nautical paraphernalia. He had everything from ship's wheels and anchors in every imaginable size to sponge diving suits, nautical bells, lanterns, portholes, cannons and every other part of a boat you can imagine! We would spend hours picking through all the clutter. One thing Mr. Stone was truly an expert on where Japanese swords that hung over the back of his counter. People would come from all over the world to check his swords out and seek his advice. I remember hearing his very knowledgeable comments as he exhibited them to shoppers. I assumed it had closed long ago! But recently I discovered a blog entry that featured Stone Age now located on the Miami river and run by his son Gary. Go take a look at that has a link to the shop's website. If you can, take a little trip to the shop. You will be impressed!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Old Miami Stadium

Many of you will remember the Old Miami Stadium in Allapatah where we got to watch the Miami Marlins, not the Florida Marlins, and the Baltimore Orioles play in spring training. The Urban Paradise blog has a wonderful entry you should all go see. Like most good things in our memories it was torn down in 2001. A shame really since it had such a nice human scale. You could sit right at field level up close and see how hard the players worked at their game. I have a lot of fond memories going to games there with my Uncle the baseball fanatic and enjoying a glorious summer day or evening watching the great american pastime. Check it out at

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lewis Vandercar-Miami's Andy Warhol

Many who grew up in Miami in the 50s, 60s and 70s will remember that we had our share of kookie artists and bohemians. One of the best known was Lewis Vandercar who just referred to himself only as Vandercar. Vandercar lived in the Morningside area at 331 NW 18th St., with his wife and two kids son David and daughter Muggins, where he had his studio and home. His home was run like a salon where anyone could come at anytime and visit. Many of the neighborhood kids loved to come and play in the sculptor garden. As an artist, Vandercar painted and sculpted in cement, his garden filled with his statues and his home with his paintings. Vandercar was a mysterious figure that liked to say he was a warlock and a clairvoyant. He called himself "Magus Supreme, pro tem of the Supreme Order of Magi" and someone with mysterious powers, specifically ESP and the power to levitate. He hinted about incarnations and said an alien entered his body as a young man.

However, Vandercar's most interesting quirk was his very funny pranks. He would take out ads in the local newspaper which were very funny. He said he had a pet poltergeist, and then tried to sell it through a classified ad. His classified ads in the Miami Herald were frequent: “Sale: Swamp colored UFO. Must qualify.” “Free Cruise to Bahamas, Bring oar.” “Electric car. $25,000. Extension cord extra.” He sold "roc eggs" in one ad. He said he rediscovered the ancient secret formula to make and impregnate the eggs of rocs, mythological birds. A woman bought the eggs and had them shipped to her Chicago home. Later, Vandercar admitted the eggs were really made of garbage piling up in back of his home. He didn’t want to haul it away, so he covered it in plaster. He didn’t tell the lady, but sent her a check for the shipping costs. VanDercar later explained: “There is some sense of the ridiculous that can be carried to such an extreme that it becomes beautiful. Take the time I predicted that a great extinct primitive bird was going to appear at midnight in the park. The newspapers exposed it as a hoax. Even so, at midnight, 150 people showed up in the park to see the bird. That was beauty.”

Born in Detroit, Vandercar never got beyond 8th grade and entered the Navy during the Depression to help support his family. In the late 1930s, he became an animator, drawing Popeye cartoons from his Miami studio. He entered the Merchant Marine in World War II and later worked as an aircraft engineer. He returned to Miami, where he worked construction jobs and ran a plumbing shop. Then he learned he could make a living from his hobby, painting and sculpting. He decorated an exterior wall of his house with faces of every age and culture, Greek gods, sea monsters, heroines, gargoyles, Moses, faces from Egypt and India and China, and many other places. He also created mountains for resorts and amusement parks, and built a gorilla’s lair for Monkey Jungle in South Dade’s Redlands. In 1971 he built "Annie", a giant dragon, 65 feet long and 35 feet high for a Merritt Island Park. Twenty tons of concrete and steel were brought in to ‘Dragon Point’ by wheelbarrow, as the only access was a wooden boardwalk. He left Miami in 1973 and bought an 14 acre parcel of land in Zephyrhills where he built a dome house of his own design and continued to sculpt and paint In 1984, he returned to Miami for a short while to repaint a reconstructed limestone bridge at Arch Creek Park. He painted the concrete and iron used to rebuild the bridge so it would look like limestone. He was still painting days before his death in 1988.

“He spent 30 years and died doing what he liked,” his son said. “Not many people are able to do that.” Vandercar once said: “Many people think what I do is ridiculous, but not intelligent people. Most people are fearful and they don’t enjoy life because they’re afraid to take a change and do what they want. So intelligent people admire your courage.” It's a shame Miami no longer attracts the Vandercars of this world.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Robert King High- The last decent man in Miami politics

This being the 4th of July weekend, my thoughts wandered to the abysmal state of politics in Dade County and the one reformist Miami Mayor we have had in all my years of living here. The curious thing is that if you google him, you find almost nothing about him. One crummy park in Miami and not a single photo of him other than the one here that has him cut off in the left corner when Kennedy came to address the survivors of the Bay of Pigs in 1962! Amazing, since this was the only politician in local politics in the last 100 years that actually ran on a reformist platform and moved Miami from the neanderthal state of old dixie politics in the 50's to a more normal mainstream view. In 1957, Abe Aronovitz, who had been Mayor of Miami in 1953-55, asked High to run for mayor. With Aronovitz's backing, High ran on a a platform of promising nothing but honest government. Once in office, High began tackling corruption. With most of the City Commissioners opposing him, he could do little as Mayor, but he began pushing to publicize problems. High won re-election in 1959, and was joined by new, reform-minded city commissioners

Now here is where it gets interesting. Tell me if this sounds like something we could use today. High and the new commissioners put all the city's insurance out to competitive bid (previously insurance on county buildings was the individual "pork barrel" of each commisioner). High also led a state-wide campaign to force Florida Power & Light to lower its rates. After the City of Miami started a study of Southern Bell telephone rates, the Florida Public Service Commission ordered major reductions in those rates. High also led a fight to force the Florida East Coast Railway to pay the arrears in its assessed property taxes. While High was Mayor, Miami adopted a $10,000 spending limit for city elections. High spoke Spanish well, and made a number of goodwill trips to Latin America. He exchanged visits with several heads of state of Latin American countries. Working with City Manager Melvin Reese, High established the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami as a symbol of relations between Miami and Latin America. As Castro's revolution proceeded, Cuban refugees flooded into Miami and High worked hard to accomodate them. High was a strong supporter of civil rights. As Mayor he set up a panel to hear job grievances from blacks. High was involved in the successful effort to integrate lunch counters in Miami. He publicly backed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 while campaigning for governor. Although he had received threats that he would be killed if he spoke in Pensacola, High told a crowd there that, "Segregation is wrong. It is evil and un-American."

So what happened to this paradigm of political enlightenment? You guessed it, the powers that be destroyed him. High's mistake was to take on the political machine when running for Governor in 1964. He announced that he would refuse to accept large campaign donations. The Miami News (not the Herald) was the only newspaper in the state to endorse High. High came in second out of five contenders in the Democratic primary, but lost the run-off to Jacksonville mayor Haydon Burns, who became Governor. Undaunted, High tried again in 1966. During the 1966 primary campaign, a seat became vacant on the Miami city commission. High appointed M. Athalie Range, a black woman, to the seat. Range had led in the primary for a seat on the commission in the 1965 election, but lost to a white man in the run-off by a small margin after her race was made an issue in the election. Range was the first black person to serve on the Miami city commission. As in the 1964 campaign, attempts were made to arouse segregationist white sentiments against High as the 'black' candidate. Handouts with no attributed source, were circulated. One showed a pregnant black woman in a rocker, with the caption, "I went all the way with Robert King High". Another had pictures of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Robert King High, and was labeled, "A poker hand one joker and a pair of Kings." A photograph of High playing pickup football with some black newsboys was widely circulated.

Surprisingly, High won the Democratic primary in 1966 anyway! Burns made the mistake of accusing another conservative candidate Scott Kelly of being bought out by High and that turned Kelly against him and in favor of High. But here is the irony of the story. Democrats that had held the office since Reconstruction refused to support High and the racist Republican candidate for Governor Claude Kirk was actually helped by the defeated Burns to defeat High. Kirk mounted an all out racist campaign against High accusing him of being an "ultra liberal" . High lost the race and the first Republican in over 100 years was elected Governor. Sadly, High died less than one year later of heart attack.

And that dear friends was the end of any semblance of honest and decent politics in this City

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wayne Cochran- Miami's own White Knight of Soul!

Anyone that remembers the lounge scene of the mid to late 80's will remember Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders. Wayne was the standing act at the famous Peppermint Lounge on the 79th Street Causeway where many of us hung out to pick up girls and listen to the blues. In the sixties, every town had at least one large R&B band (in the tradition of the fictional Otis Day & the Knights from the movie "Animal House") to bring some excitement at frat parties. Wayne was our own "Otis Day" and a true oddity in Miami at that time. He was a tall white Georgia boy with a platinum bouffant hairdo who tended to get so involved in his music that he threw bottles tables and chairs around. Yet he was a fine blues vocalist that had a steady following and did manage to claim some national success in the late 60s and early 70's with a b-rated biker movie and ascendancy to the Vegas Lounge scene. He also surrounded himself with fine musicians like bassist Jaco Pastorius that later backed Joni Mitchell for many years and taught for a short period at UM. His musical legacy is a bit checkered since he oscillated between true blues music and commercially oriented papa pushed on him by his sponsors. Still, he was deeply respected by some of the top singers of his day like Otis Redding, James Brown and Elvis Presley. In fact, many called him the white James Brown. His first single was "Last Kiss," a song he wrote, but was beaten to the music charts when Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers who rushed to record and release it before he could. Nonetheless, his version is still the greatest. Interestingly, Wayne's big break came from Jackie Gleason, who saw Wayne's act and promptly arranged for him to appear on Gleason's national broadcast show from Miami Beach. Wayne is immortalized in the "Blues Brothers" movie in a reference to him by Jake and Elwood's manager, telling them to ditch the black suits and wear jumpsuits like Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders. Wayne abandoned the lounge singer scene in 1981 when he became a born again christian. Today, Wayne and his wife Monica have a christian ministry in North Miami, but as you can see from the pictures above, Wayne still loves Miami and his Harleys!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Hialeah Park- Save the last gem of the roaring twenties!

Hialeah Park has earmed a dubious distinction- it is now on the National Trust of Historic Preservation's 2007 list of Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places. Hialeah Park is fourth on the list. Hialeah Park is one of the most beautiful architectural achievements still left in South Florida from the 1920's. No one seems to care that it is falling into disrepair and is seriously in danger of being lost forever. We have already lost all the great monuments to beautiful architecture from that era, such as the Roney Plaza Hotel and so many others. It's history is long and glorious, built in 1925 and visited by all the great dignataries of the 20th Century such as Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman. My Father fought long and hard to preserve the Truman bungalow that was on the south tip of Miami Beach, but no one cared and it was demolished in the 1980's. This should not be allowed to happen to Hialeah Park. We waste so many millions on ridiculous studies and projects in this country every year. Can we not do something to preserve this grand old facility that could not be recreated today for less than many millions? The City of Hialeah would love to have the park become just that-- a park, but they lack the funds to do so. Can't the federal or state government make this possible? Barring any other solution, can't the federal or state government declare it a park? Time is short and it's beauty and future is fading. Please help sponsor a solution for this archtectural gem! Write your federal or state congressman or senator now.You will be gratefully remembered in posterity for doing so.

Our Bicycles- A kid's best friend!

Back in the 50's and 60's we didnt have computers, nintendos, playstations or other high tech gear. The most treasured posession was our bikes ( and our well-oiled Rawlings baseball glove)! Every Saturday morning we performed the ritual of flipping it over and oiling the chain with trusy old 3-1 oil and giving it a good cleaning. Our bikes transported us to the sand lot for a game of baseball or football with our neighborhood friends, over to the public library for a cool afternoon read through the stacks and down to Biscayne Bay or one of the many nearby canals to snag mullet and fish all day. We loved our bikes and it was our ally to establish our freedom in an age when our parents didn't worry if we were gone all day as long as we were back home before the street lamps came on. Here you see my first grown up bike, a 1959 Schwinn Panther with the faux "gas tank" that housed an electric horn and twin headlights! Heady stuff in the low tech days of the late 50's. I got this bike for Christmas that year and it was the greatest day of my young life. I fawned over it for many years thereafter. I see now it cost a eye popping $39.95 in 1959 dollars! Wow! My allowance was 25 cents a week and I had to raise any additional money I needed by returning empty soda bottles to the local Food Fair for 1 cent a piece or mow the neigbors' lawns for 50 cents! That was a King's ransom in those days. Other kids had Huffys, Montgomery Wards and Sears models, but Schwinns were the Rolls Royces of their day. I am sure a kid today wouldn't trade their playstations for a bike, but my generation wouldn't have traded our bikes for all the high tech gizmos in the world!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Lums- Steamed hot dogs and ollie burgers!

While Lums were not born in Miami, from the mid-60's through the mid-70's they seemed to sprout up all over the city. People loved them and the hippest one was in Coconut Grove right next to the Public Library and across from Peacock Park. The big hook was that the franks were steamed in beer, the fries were delicious and the ollie burgers were made with special spices. Some people also swore the fried clams were delicious. While it was not your typical fast food dive, the food was good and reasonably priced. The restarants were done up in a "Gay 90's" motif with tiffany lamps over the booths. It was a big hang out for College Kids and had good large mugs of domestic beer as well as many imported brands. Like Royal Castle, Lum's have all but disappeared from the scene and there is only one left up in Davie at 4125 SW 64th Ave. (pictured here). If you get thre chance and want to be transported back to the late 60's scene, take a little trip north and sample their hot dogs before they are gone forever!

Burger King- The flame broiled wonder!

Like Royal Castle, Burger King was a miami born institution. The first Burger King hamburger stand opened at 3090 NW 36th Street in an old area of Miami known as Allapatah. Burgers and shakes were 18 cents each. The Whopper, which appeared in 1957, sold for 37 cents. However, I remember that the founders actually invented the Whopper at their diner on Brickell Avenue a few blocks south of the current Brickell Avenue Bridge. I found this information on a tribute to Jim Mclamore, who with Dave Edgerton founded Burger King. It confirms my memory that he had a diner on Brickell that sold the first "whoppers".
"McLamore, during his early months in Florida's warm climate, learned an expensive lesson about the seasonality of business in the Sunshine State. Captivated by the overflow crowds at the Brickell Bridge restaurant, he immediately proceeded to buy the operation, only to discover that the logjam of customers during the winter months literally slowed to a trickle in the summer. Just a few blocks from Brickell Bridge, Edgerton was managing a restaurant at the Howard Johnson hotel. The two struck up a friendship and decided to take a chance on a franchise concept begun in Jacksonville. Called "Insta-Burger King," it featured hamburgers cooked via a piece of equipment called the Insta-Burger Broiler -- a revolutionary system that used twin heating elements along a conveyor line and was capable of cooking more than 400 hamburgers and buns per hour. However, problems developed with the Insta-Broiler when burger juices began dripping onto the heating elements, causing them to corrode. Edgerton and McLamore redesigned the system in such a way that it transported the burgers horizontally over gas flames, giving the customer a flame-broiled product. The pair subsequently arranged for the Sani-Serv company of Indianapolis to manufacture the new prototype for them. Shortly thereafter they dropped the "Insta" prefix from the name and began promoting Burger King as the "Home of The Whopper."

Royal Castle- Miami's Belly Bomber Palace

If you grew up in Miami in the 50's, 60's or 70's, Royal Castle was the place to go for a Birch Beer and tiny little burgers grilled with tons of onions. At one time there were 100s of these diners throughout Miami and Dade County. Most looked just like this last survivor on NW 79th Street and 27 Avenue. Royal Castles were unique to Miami and resembled the White Castles from up north. How they died out remains a mystery as most people have fond memories of them. I suspect that the other competing chain of Burger King, also from Miami, and the other fast food franchises of today just proved to be too much competition. Also, I think the fact that they were independently owned and operated had something to do with it. The creator of the chain apparently went out of business making it harder to stay in business. Its a shame as most old miamians would tell you they would die to taste that birch beer and belly bombers today. Most don't even know there is still one alive and well. If you get down to Miami you should try it! The 2007 Miami New Times still rates it the best hamburger in Miami!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

You Grew Up in Miami if you remember...........

Land crabs in your front yard
Hurricane parties
The Doors concert at Dinner Key Auditorium
When 'Saddle Shoes' were a fashion statement
Birch Beer at Royal Castle
Johnnie & Mack by the railroad track, the world's largest, and that's a fact!
Jack O'Brien and Municipal Auto Sales commercials
Western Sunset Bowl
When Don Carter's was the ONLY thing on 137th & Kendall
When you could get a bucket of shrimp at Kentucky Fried Chicken
Miami……See it like a Native
The Coppertone Girl on Biscayne Boulevard
The MacArthur Dairy Boy licking his lips
When there was a canal down the center of Miller Road
"The Dungeon" with M.T. Graves on Saturday afternoon T.V.
Bowl - O - Mat on US 1
St. Timothy's annual carnival
The water tower in South Miami Heights
The Jamaica Inn on Key Biscayne (prime rib on saturday nights)
When Quail Roost Drive was nothing but avocado groves
Big Daddy's Lounge on US1 and Coral Reef Drive
Daisy May's Barbeque on 8th Street
When Black Point was the old shack store and there was nothing but shrimp boats there
A&W Drive-In - served birch beer and the waitresses came out on roller skates
The air raid sirens in South Miami
The Holsum Bakery on US1 and Red Road...can ya still smell it?
Polar Palace on 36th Street
The old skinny rickety bridges to Key West
Mike's Drug Store in the South Miami Heights shopping center
Eureka Park's little orange pumpkin
Five year olds being able to walk to school on your own (I did)
Gen & Wren's (it's the Shack now)
Hurricane Donna
The Flick Coffeehouse on Ponce by the UM
The "dump" at the end of Eureka on Old Cutler Road
W. T. Grants and Grant City (where the Best Buy is now on US1 & Marlin)
"Hey, Culligan Man!"
The waterslide in Florida City
Zayres on US1 in "Pinecrest" where the Home Depot is now
When "Pinecrest" was Sunniland
The Tigertail Lounge in the Grove
When there was a Winn Dixie where Cocowalk is now
When Oak Avenue in the Grove had "head shops"
When Flannigans was the Loggerhead and it had pool tables and didn't serve food
Royal Castles everywhere! Birch beer and belly sliders
When you didn't have to pay to launch your boat at Matheson Hammock
Jai Lai on US1 behind the Bowl - O - Mat
Dixie Drive-In where the big Publix is now on US1
Neisner's in the old Cutler Ridge strip mall
When Mr. & Mrs. Burr owned everything on the west side of Burr Road and Mr. Mixon owned everything on the east side
Camp Choee on Colonial and 117th
Camp Mahachee by Matheson Hammock park
Beefsteak Charlies" on US1 across from Bowl - O - Mat
You could find shells in the water at Matheson Hammock wading beach
Gooney golf at the Colonial Palms Course on US1 & 136th St
Patty Murray on WGTR
Larry King on WIOD
Rick Shaw on WQAM
The Dupont Plaza Hotel on the Miami River
Monroe Station
Jimmy's Hurricane and the Hurrican Cooler
Hot Shoppes and the Orange Freeze, Teen Twist and Big Mo
When Coral Gables was "the" high school
The bowling alley at the end of Cutler Ridge strip mall (where Sears is now)
The little walk-in movie theater in the back of Cutler Ridge's strip mall
Richard's Dept Store
Private camps in the everglades
Pole beans and tomato farms on Kendall Drive(U-Pick-Em)
When the Coconut Grove Arts Festival was free and you could actually buy something there
The Trail Theater on Douglas/8th St
The Tower Theater on 8th St/ 15th Ave
The Pizza Palace on 8th Street and it's "snowball" architecture
Pizza Patio on Bird Road
Roller skating waitresses and car-side service
The Huddle House (at the corner of SW 8th St and 76th Ave before 826 cut it off)
The Coral Way Drive-In down the street from the football stadium high schools played in Concord Shopping Center and Movie Theater
Food Fair, Quick Chex, and Super-X
Anthony Abraham's home in the Gables with the most amazing Christmas decorations
When Kendall Drive was "the road to nowhere"
Colonial Palms Golf Course on US 1 and SW 136th St
When I-95 didn't reach here
When "Miami's Best Pizza" was the original "Little Caesar's"
The Five & Dime Store at Coral Way and 27th Ave
Parodi's Five & Dime Store on 8th Street
The Glorious Delicattessen on Coral Way
Richard Nixon's southern White House on Key Biscayne
When Les Violins was a hot spot
When the people on South Beach were older than the buildings
Big Wilson
The original Holsum Bakery Christmas display in South Miami
When Howard Schnellenberger was "king"
The Serpentarium and Bill Haas "milking" those snakes!
The Austrailian Pines that lined the trail on the way to the Miccosoukee Tribe
The Zoo at Crandon Park and it's kiddy rides
The Hurrican Harbour Lounge
The Silver Sands Motel on Key Biscayne
Tahiti Beach for swimming during the day and making out at night
Larry Csonka and Jim Kick
Zayres, Diskay, Woolworth, and Woolco in Westchester and what was then Midway Mall
WFUN and WQAM were "THE" stations to listen to if your car only had an AM radio
If you were lucky enoughto have FM, you lustened to Y-100
Lums and Jahn's were the places to go with your friends after football games
Krispy Kreme accross from the cementary on 8th Street had the BEST doughnuts!
Sambo's in the Gables across form Sears and their patty melts at 3 AM
Sweden House (all you care to eat!) on Dixie Highway
The Flame (also on Dixie)
Fox's Sherron Inn for the prime ribs (still there!)
When Tamiami Park was Tamiami Airport and there were cow pastures across the street
The animated, talking cow in Dressels Dairy's ice cream parlor
Toby the Robot and Scrubby on Skipper Chuck (Zink)
The Copacabana Supper Club
James McDuffie and Neville Johnson
Johnnie Jones and gold plumbing
Mercury Morris
D'Pizza of UM
Lou Saban
Murf the Surf
Arthur Godfrey
A time when Frank Forte and Don Noe weren't on channel 10
Molly Turner and Alec Gibson
Arthur Godfrey Show from Miami Beach
When trains ran parallel to U.S. 1 (at ground level)
The roller skating rink at South Dixie and SW 27th Ave
When the 836 toll was 10 cents
The Miami Marlins and the Ft. Lauderdale Yankees (AA teams)
When FIU was a "Senior College" and the school's nickname was the "Sun Blazers"
The Miami Daily News
Miami Rowing Club
Musa Village, the Seminole Indian Village on NW 27th ave. and the Miami River
K-land on Kendall Drive
The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Flipper in the open end-zone at the Orange Bowl
The rotating shark at the entrance to Key Biscayne
The Seaquarium with Hugo the Killer whale
When Crown Liquors got shot up
Cocaine Cowboys
Tent City
Packer Pontiac
Hurricane David and that masking tape that's still on all your windows
Grand Union (the grand union of all good things)
When the Norway was the largest cruise ship in the world
When the Rusty Pelican burned down
Miami Dade Junior College
The Coffee House on Douglas Rd
The Lemon Twist
The Monk's Inn
The French Connection
Monty Trainer's Village Inn
Jordan Marsh
Burdines and the playground on its roof
Peaches Records and Tapes
The Coca Cola Bottling company in the grove
Super Skating Centers and Tropical Skating
CenterAir Florida and Eastern Airlines
Glen Rinker & Ralph Renick
Gator Kicks on Tamiami Trail
When there was a grocery store in Dadeland Mall
The Seahorse at Dadeland Mall
When Dadeland Mall was open!
When "Footy's" name was "Athlete's Foot"
Heiny Wine "The wine that made Medley, Medley"
When the 94th Aero Squadron had good food
The Tropicaire Drive in Theater
When there was a Burdines at the Mayfair mall
When the Mayfair Mall was a drive-in laundry
When Centrust was Dade Federsal Savings
When SunTrust was Sun Bank
The Dadeland Twin Theater
The Riviera Theater, Gables Theater and the Coral Theater
The Coconut Grove PlayHouse
Ivan Kivit's Merry-Go-Round Theater
Gordons Docks
The ColliseumBowling : 1928 Opera House-Boxing - Wrestling - Ice/Roller Skating Rink
Indy car races at Tamiami Park
The Hialeah race track with demolition derbys
When Shorty's BBQ burned down
When the Rickenbacker was a drawbridge - and cost 25 cents
Biscayne Dog Track
Campus Life Haunted House
When the Youth Fair was at K-Land on Kendall Drive
When the Mark IV was the best ride at the youth fair
All the Dairy Farms where Miami International Airport sits today
Uncle Gordon reading the Sunday funnies on the radio (at the Freedom Tower formerly the Miami Daily News Bldg.)
The Skipper Chuck Show with Scrubby and Toby the Robot
Miami Marine Stadium and Hydroplane races
Velvet Creme
Planet Ocean (now Mast Academy)
Monkey Jungle
Parrot Jungle (moved to Watson Island)
The Goodyear Blimp at Watson Island
Chalk's Flying Service
Club OZ
Tom Thumbs in the Grove
When the Mall of the Americas was Midway Mall
Rory Sparrow
Black Caesar's Forge
Marcella's Mia Cucina
Richard's Department Store & Basement - Downtown
Grant's Five and Dime - Downtown
Gesu Cathjolic Church Downtown
Jimmy's Hurricane and the Hurricane Cooler
Hot Shoppes and the Orange Freeze, teen Twist and Big Mo
The Big Wheel
Ice Palace Ice Skating Rink on NW 36 St.
Key West was a long, lonely trip,, and the Key Lime Pie was 'real'
The trips down to the Rod and Reel Club at Jewfish Creek on Key Largo
The trips down to Everglades City
The Red Diamond Italian Restaurant south of the Airport on Lejuene
The El Bolero Restaurant
When La Carreta only had one location
George's Subs on 8th Street and 47th Ave
Wolfie's and the Rascal House on Miami Beach
Drag Races at Amelia Earhart Field
Kelly's Hamburgers Drive-In (later Billy's Drive-In) on 79th St next to the North Bay Marina
Dressels Dairy for ice cream and pony rides on a Sunday afternoon on Milam Dairy Road
Sealtest ice cream parlor near Jimmys Hurricane on Bird rd.
Luskin's High Fidelity
Lyle's Pharmacy
Lindsley Lumber
A.J. Duhe
Victoria and Abbey Hospitals
Mercy Hospital on Biscayne Bay
Malibu Grand Prix
Jackson-Byrons; JByrons; Jacksons
The rides on top of downtown Burdines each holiday season
McCrory's Five and Dime - Downtown
Sam the China Man
Roland Your Hatter in the Seybold Bldg.
Bayfront Auditorium with the Saturday Dances
Bayfront Park and the Public Library there
5th Street Fishing Pier and Charter Boats - Downtown (where Bayside sits today)
FunLand Park on NW 27th Ave
Krome ave. was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out in the sticks
Seminole Indian huts out on Tamiami Trail that did not have Parabolic antennas sticking out Pan Am's seaplane hangers (where real live seaplanes took off many times a day) in the Grove Mansene's Spaghetti House
The Studio Restaurant
The Yorkshire
The Hampshire
Leonard La Pena's Steak House
FIRE Station #1 across from the old Courthouse
The Old Miami train station just across the street from the police dept.
Coral Gables Bus station
The Boys Club of Miami on 32nd Ave (before it became Co-Ed)
Dairy Queen's with the curly cone on top and "flying saucer" ice cream sandwiches
A & W root beer joints
Royal Castle burger joints
The tennis courts at Coconut Grove park next to the basketball court
Florida Pharmacy in the Grove AKA the Fagacy
The Light House on Key Biscayne was a simple picnic place w/ NO Seawall
Fair Isle was just that, an island where we snagged mullet and fished
P. B. A. park on NW 14 St.
Miami Senior High before air conditioningBiscayne
Biscayne Cafeteria in the Gables
M and M cafeteria on SW 27 Ave and 8 St
WQAM radio
King Arthur's Court on 36 st
Big Daddy's Drag Races on Kendall and Krove Ave
The Tropicaire Flea market
Allen's Drugs at Red and Bird Road
WINZ radio
Scotty's Grocery in the Grove where tomatoes and artichokes were the size of your hand
When Westchester was "out in the country...way outside of Miami..."
When there was NO FIU
When Miami Coral Park Senior High School was predominantly Jewish
Miles of strawberry fields on Kendall Drive after you passed 107th Avenue
No Town & Country Mall on Kendall Drive
No "West Kendall" at all
The Hamlet bar on Main Hywy
The little drive-in place that sold whisky at South Dixie and 27th Ave
The little bait shop that sold beer at South Dixie and 17th Ave
When Stiltsville was a seldom frequented place on the sand bars
The Lejeune Drive In, where the Marriott is now
When Widow McCoy's in the Grove was the hotspot for live jazz
The Grove Movie Theatre and the midnight "Rocky Horror" shows every weekend
All the funky shops on Grand Avenue before Cocowalk and Mayfair took over
When there was no traffic on the Palmetto Expressway
When Sweetwater was just trailers, small farms and houses on the other side of the canal
When there was NO Midway Mall, International Mall, or Dolphin Mall
Royal Ice Company on Douglas and US1
Great Value grocery store in Cutler Ridge, next to Dad's Hardware
Breezeway Drive-In in Homestead
Shaw's Nursery on US1 and Killian Dr
Poe's Hardware on US1 and Lejeune Road
Rhodes Brothers Club on US1 & 136th
When Luria'sBird Bowl had a gas station
WhenTropical Park was a horse track
Police Athletic League dances at Bird Road and 72nd
When we had TV channels! 4 (CBS), 7 (NBC), 10 (ABC) and then 6 (WCIX)
Bird Bowl & the skating rink
Drink & Sink...all the skating & beer you can drink for $5...
do you know how hard it is to go to the bathroom with skates on ??
The Playboy Clubs...disco dancing...the "bunnies" had little cotton tails...
ALL the woods we had to mud bog in
Motocrossing on the sand dunes that are now Cocoplum!
Long's Motorcycle Shop on Flagler St.
Taking the bus to shop in the Gables
All the worms on the sidewalks & in the hallways at school after a big rain
Tadpoles in the puddles
Camping at Browns Farm
Bird Road Drive-in...especially when they added "Air-Conditioning"!!
The Circus Restaurant on Bird Road
The Brasserie by the airport
The 1800 Club
The pizza place on 103rd street that showed Little Rascal videos...& had the BEST pizza too!Skiing at the Airport Lakes
The Flea Market at the Bird Road Drive-in
Little Caesar's on US1
The Sportatorium in the middle of nowhere where rock bands came to perform.
Bayfront Park when it had beautiful trees and a great Library
When Miami Beach restaurants and bars closed at 11 PM
When the South Beach scene was skid row and not fashion week
Earl Cashmore's Shell Station on the corner of Eureka and Franjo
The haunted and boarded up Biltmore Hotel
Camping on the levy on Tamiami Trail in the Everglades
Orange Julius in the malls
The Yumbrella in South Miami
Sorrento's Italian Restaurant
The Red Diamond Inn
Autorama at Dinner Key auditorium
The Columbus Hotel, Everglades Hotel and the Colonial Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard
The all you can eat fishfry on fridays at Howard Johnson across from the UM on US1
The Florida East Coast Railroad Station in downtown next to the county courthouse
The Dinner Key Boat Show
The Black Angus Restaurant
................................................................AND SO MUCH MORE!