have to do with 2015 Miami, you might ask? Define renaissance: A rebirth or revival. As we speak, Miami is in the throws of a renaissance; some good, some bad.
Artistically, only a little bit is promising.
First the good. Art Basel. Kush, Zak, Panther, Lucali, Ironside, Proof. Miami Smokers. Here we have ordinary, extraordinary, creative craftspeople providing disgruntled locals like me with an authentic, personal experience. Some would tarnish the experience and call the people who like these things hipsters, but these critics have had the corporate brainwashing chip implanted in their psyches.
There is talk of the 10-mile Underline, Miami’s version of New York’s fabulously popular and successful High Line, the beautifully landscaped, free public park atop abandoned freight tracks throughout Manhattan’s West side. It is a great idea. Another fine plan is the proposed Ludlum Trail, six miles of trails connecting to parks and neighborhoods.
There are several fine movie theaters. Give us more small live music venues and all will be better.
Small, unknown businesses are Miami’s pulse and they are everywhere.
However, let’s return to the original confession through a Cheesecake Factory example. Or more insidiously, let’s go to Chipotle with its dubious chicanery – one of our black beans is local and organic and we want everyone to know! It’s like the way we use the word natural.
Everything is natural. If we greenwash our youth, they will not know any better if it’s not on Vine or written on any of their apps. Greenwashing and corporate phishing are global phenomena, but nobody does it better than the USA. Can we sell your name and put you on a list?
Soon, you will be able to go to the Design District and listen to the sound of others’ jewelry rattling as they carry Dior, Chanel, Zegna and Gucci bags toward the one growth industry that will benefit locals: Valet parking. What was once a benign location to purchase designer kitchen cabinets and Balinese furniture destination – I remember World Resources – is about to become Bal Harbor East, a soulless place for Russian debutantes, Brazilian eye candy, trophy wives and Wolves of Wall Street wannabees.
Michael’s Genuine may remain fairly “normal” and son Harry’s Miami Avenue pizza outpost even more pleasantly normal, but prepare for an experience where pretense is king, big Cartier shopping bags dominate and tourists
spend crazy rubles on fancy bags of $500 jeans. Well la dee da! The status symbol, Design District shopping experience will be Miami’s Rodeo Drive, like the Champs Elysees, Singapore’s Orchard Road, Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, Lincoln Road, etc. There will be few small businesses, but rather, top shelf versions of the Burlington Coat Factory, a Dolphin Mall for the privileged.
Miami is also building a massive tower, one with a nickname this paper prefers not to print, but rhymes with the Hobbit Baggins’ first name following the word Giant. Officially called SkyRise Miami, promoters and developers promise tropical greatness with references to the Eiffel Tower and World Trade Center. Early renderings look like a big beer bottle opener or vertical shoehorn. Expect a version of Marlins Park meeting 6 Flags Over Bayside and, of course, traffic.
Nevertheless, the economy for the most part has improved, cash customers buy our real estate and when — and if — we get real transportation improvement, even this renaissance will be a blessing.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to <crachelson@ palmertrinity.org>.