As a city itself, Miami is fairly interesting. Although I ended up staying in the boonies, I took the opportunity to drive into the city every day, and variously explore. One of the most fascinating parts of Miami, in my view, is the entire arcade over on Ocean Drive (so Miami Beach and thereabouts). The entire section is built in 1920s Art Deco style, and all of the buildings survived the years – so you get a massive throwback to a century ago, though obviously framed in today’s kitschy wealth, night clubs and legions of tourists. But if you go a street or two away from Ocean drive, you can find some pretty interesting buildings. I armed myself with the National Geographic Miami Walking Guide and a camera, and went to explore.
I can’t do as good a job as NG does in describing the architecture, so it’s worth a read over there if you’re interested. What I can say is that the buildings are absolutely fascinating. It’s a throwback to the 20s, and by extension, a certain alternate-universe 1950s, where everything has rather peculiar shapes, each building has a certain individual style, and overall, the design is certainly unusual.
One thing that saddens me greatly is the multitude of bars and overall commotion on the street in front… it’s basically impossible to enjoy the architecture without getting run over by a Maybach, or a crazed group of tourists hunting for souvenirs, or by a drunken college frat party looking for the next joint to crash. That’s a bit of a downer. I’d say “maybe I should come in winter”, but … yeah, this is Miami, there isn’t any winter. They wear fur coats when the weather drops to the mid-20s.
While everything on the main strip seems to be doing fairly well financially, not all the buildings off the strip are quite as lucky.
Of course, there’s always the ultra-wealthy to spoil the landscape. Not that I’m advocating class warfare, but really, some shit is just in bad taste. Behold – the Versace Mansion, which went from a madly over-the-top playground for the well-connected, to a funeral home, to a hotel, to a club, to a hotel, to a club, to an abandoned house, and I think it’s a club now. Or something of the sort. Look at all those Medusa statues!
Back on Miami Beach, a commotion was happening. Curious to see what was up…
Turns out it was a sports display of some sort by the local heavies. Maybe taking a break from bodyguard duty?
On to the beach… of course, a cruise ship in the distance.
Remember how I said it’s never winter here? It’s almost 5pm and the temperature is still 90 degrees F (~29C).
Headed off to other places. Pretty cruise ships, if that’s your thing:
A view of them from the Intercontinental Miami:
Crossed the waterway to the mainland via Venetian Way – some really, really nice sights to see there:
And finally, for a few night shots of Miami. This is from the Intercontinental:
And this is from the marina on Miami Beach:
It’s a gorgeous city at night, all things considered.
And that’s about it for Miami. Stay tuned for the next installment – Seattle, this time!