Next in our series of how Florida’s Coasts got their names, is the Gold Coast. You might notice a bit of overlapping on the map, but for the most part, the Gold Coast consists of Miami/Dade and Broward Counties. There was a time when the area included Palm Beach and Martin Counties, but those two counties more accurately identify themselves with the Treasure Coast. Personally, I don’t blame stately and sophisticated Palm Beach for wanting to disassociate from the glitz and glitter of Miami, but hey, that’s just one opinion. It’s a new money/old money kind of thing.
In as much as the Treasure Coast is about Spanish gold shipwrecked along the coastline, the Gold Coast is about new money, and lots of it. Every few decades there seems to be a new influx of cash that dictates the location of Miami’s latest hot spots, trends, and up and coming areas. From South Beach, to Wynwood, it’s like a movable feast. Who’s in, who’s out – follow the money!
The shinny new toy these days is Brickell Avenue. Now we’re talking glitz and glitter galore! Check out this recent article regarding high rise construction in Miami. Personally, I like what is happening on Brickell Avenue (it’s about time) and I am thrilled with the idea of a self-contained “walk-able” city. Not so thrilled with the high priced establishments and congested traffic getting off of I95. Why does there always have to be a downside to progress?
The really neat thing about this latest cash infusion is that it is spilling over into historically depressed areas like Wynwood and Little River. Just a few years ago, Wynwood was plagued with prostitution and drugs and Little River was a run down warehouse/small business area struggling to employ decent people in a declining environment. Locked gates and barbed wire fences was the order of the day for any respectable businesses. In this case, “trickle down” is actually working.
After hearing about Wynwood Walls for a couple of years, we finally decided to see what all the fuss is about. It truly is pretty amazing and you can easily spend hours walking the streets and enjoying the biggest display of street art I have ever seen. Of course, where there is great entertainment there must also be great food, and Wynwood is clearly not short on options.
Trust me, this is not randomly painted graffiti. Most of the pieces within the garden were painted by very well known artists, but the walls and buildings outside the garden are equally impressive. It seems as though the entire area has gotten in on the show and there is something unique around every corner. Bring your camera to this sensory feast.
It all comes together magically and can be enjoyed by anyone – for free. In fact, the day we visited, we saw families with small children, teens, older folks and even a group of dancers enjoying the displays. The young lady above allowed me to take a photo of her against this stunning tropical mural. I think I will call it Pink Flamingo!
When glitz and glitter cross the line to gaudy, I start to cringe, and that is exactly what happened when we drove down Collins Avenue on South Beach. No longer the shinny new toy of the 90’s, it is starting to show signs that there is a “new gang in town.” Even in the daylight it looked raunchy. Without the famous and still fabulous Art Deco buildings, South Beach would be just another beach in America. Maybe one day it will “glitter” again, but right now Brickell has the spotlight.
I will leave you with the one iconic image of Miami (trust me, there are too many to include in this post) that made me scream, “Malcolm, stop the car I have to get that picture”.
And there you have it. Glitz and glitter make this the Gold Coast!