Art Deco Weekend® is back in Miami Beach from January 14-16 2011 for its 34th annual celebration. Ocean Drive the heart of the Art Deco Historic District for which Miami Beach is famous worldwide will be closed to vehicle traffic and open to only pedestrian traffic for three days to welcome the 34th Art Deco Weekend® and showcase its prestige collection of antiques and collectible vendors, antiques cars parade, series of lectures and films, musical attractions and guided tours.
Barbara Baer Capitman, the visionary behind the preservation of the Art Deco buildings and founder of Miami Design Preservation League in 1976, organized the first Art Deco Weekend® to help save this architectural heritage and raise awareness by attracting visitors to Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District.
Miami Beach has the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world with over 800 structures, the Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places of United States in 1979. This nation wide recognition is all thanks to the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and a group of volunteers.
During Art Deco Weekend® visitors from all over the world can enjoy Art Deco guided tours on a daily basis and enjoy walking around with local historians and trained tour guides to learn about the origins of the Art deco movement in Paris and about the history of the buildings, architects, and designers.
This year a brand new exciting tour was created: the 5th Street Gym Tour, which tells the story of one of the most admired champion of all time “the Greatest” historic heavyweight championship boxer Muhamed Ali. He trained extensively in Miami Beach promoting a new style of fighting in this incredible gym, often referred to as the University of Boxing.
Chris Dundee and his brother Angelo opened 5th Street Gym located on 5th and Washington in 1950 and began promoting big time boxing in Miami Beach, for over four decades they coached countless world champions and legendary boxing icon Cassius Clay soon to become Muhamed Ali.
Part of the history of Miami Beach 5th Street Gym also attracted a wide range of international celebrities including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Jackie Gleason, Malcolm X, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone who were absorbed into the gym’s legendary mystique.
On September 23rd 2010 5th Street Gym re-openned with a new design and a new team. Chris Dundee’s protege Matt Baiamonte young chief trainer hosted an evening to celebrate memories of the “Greatest “and the new 5th Street Gym.
Retired in 1981 the Champ has since received numerous honors like the 1987 Boxing Hall of Fame, Spirit of America Award, 1999 BBC Personality of the Year, Sports Personality of the Century, 2002 United Nations Messenger of Peace, 2005 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony and he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 US Olympics Games in a moving ceremony at Atlanta.
Follow the legend of a man, the legend of a place by touring 5th Street Gym along with Miami Beach Art Deco District and learn how preservation can lead to some unexpected places, people and stories.
Veronika Pozmentier is a free-lance journalist; she serves on The Wolfsonian-FIU Visionaries Executive Committee, MDPL Education and Programs Committee and is proud to be a Sister Cities International Goodwill Ambassador for the City of Miami Beach.