In February of 2013, we published this: “Is the death of Wynwood near?” Foolishly, it was written under my byline. I was wrong. Sort of. Perhaps I might claim to have been misquoted?
It is now 2015, and Wynwood is filled with locals and tourists and by most any measurement; but the spray can, it is thriving. Clearly, I was wrong. Almost any day, at any time, its streets are crawling with people of extraordinary multiplicity – young, old, hipster, transient, resident, foreigner, bicycle, jalopy, Benz, foodie, craftie, artist, Hasid. Everyone is welcome in Wynwood perhaps to the chagrin of longtime residents. As Mark Twain artificially constructed in 1899 what became a famous, oft-misattributed quote, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
My report of the death of Wynwood was greatly exaggerated. The anchors on NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood Walls, Panther Coffee, Joey’s and Wynwood Kitchen are no longer lonesome. In fact, you might say it as it has often been falsely attributed to former baseball great Yogi Berra, “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
I’ve tried to capture the trajectory or lineage often. Tony Goldman, Wynwood Walls, Panther, Miami Light Project, Martha Cooper, artists, Bakehouse – who knows? Suddenly besieged by more than bike riders, painters, entrepreneurs and the cool, urban-curious, even the city woke up. Parking is no longer free (unless you know where to find it, like I do). Citi Bikes, DECOBIKES, or something – I couldn’t find them online though I’ve seen it in front of the horrifying mural which replaced MTO — await those wishing to rent on NW 24th Street. Other bike shops are renting as well, and this being Miami, accidents are ready to happen.
The Wood Tavern was an early entry into the nightlife scene and is now inhabited by Miami’s best collection of cretins in an increasingly Berlin-esque atmosphere. My recent visit was accompanied by a trifecta of fashion – tattoos, piercings, and hipster hats – and another of odors – body, crawfish, and smoke. A mammoth airplane propeller blows between two sets of minbleachers filled with people drinking, texting and splayed. It’s either enjoyable or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.
Beer drinkers are in a foamy kind of heaven. First came Wynwood Brewing around the corner or two from iconic, beloved Austin Burke. Let’s just say its product is great and its space funky and downtrodden. J Wakefield came next, and let’s just say its product is great and its space funky, downtrodden, and cacophonous. Concrete Beach just opened its Social Hall from Thursday to Sunday. Rumor has its product is great and the space slightly less funky, less downtrodden and industrial. Nicest and most dignified of the bunch is clearly BXLDR, about whom I just wrote in the MIAMIAN, and is a taproom, not a brew house. Great place, good vibe, fine people and splendid acoustics – you can talk. Finally, Brick House is around the corner. There are others, like Gramps, as well.
Food is also everywhere. Aside from the originals, top-quality obsessed Zak the Baker does a daylight thing, The Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill is constantly full, R House seems to be getting its footing and Miam Café & Boutique gets love till 7 for its attitude and simplicity. Further on Wynwood’s edges are Kush, Made In Italy, Morgan’s, Jimmy’z Kitchen, and Pride and Joy. Inches further yet, are popular Proof and Gigi, while Palatino Jamaican is there for the (slightly) more intrepid. Further yet afield are dozens of places in the DD, Midtown, and Edgewater.
So Wynwood is not dead, and I was wrong – sort of, though premature or ahead of the curve might be more accurate. There are vultures waiting in the wings, developers greedily licking their chops, eager to sell Wynwood to the highest bidders. Forgive me, but let’s talk in a few years!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.