Tuesday, January 21, 2020

More art & goodbye

Another early day. Another bike ride... this time to the north of the island.

FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Miami_Beach,_Florida

North Miami Beach is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. Originally named Fulford-by-the-Sea in 1926 after Captain William H. Fulford of the United States Coast Guard, the city was renamed North Miami Beach in 1931. The population was 41,523 at the 2010 census.

It was sad to say goodbye to the beach.

The north of the island looks different from the south with its big condominiums. 
More newer and taller buildings.

The only thing left to do in my list was the Perez Art Museum Miami, so I made sure I left my last afternoon in Miami to see this well known art place.
The astonishing building was designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pérez_Art_Museum_Miami
The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)—officially known as the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County—is a contemporary artmuseum that relocated in 2013 to the Museum Park in Downtown Miami, Florida. Founded in 1984 as the Center for the Fine Arts, it became known as the Miami Art Museum from 1996 until it was renamed in 2013 upon the opening its new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron at 1103 Biscayne Boulevard. PAMM, along with the $275 million Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and a city park which are being built in the area with completion in 2017, is part of the 20-acre Museum Park (formerly Bicentennial Park).
In 2014, the museum's permanent collection contained over 1,800 works, particularly 20th- and 21st-century art from the AmericasWestern Europeand Africa. In 2016, the museum's collection contained nearly 2,000 works.
Since the opening of the new museum building at Museum Park, the museum has seen record attendance levels with over 150,000 visitors in its first four months. The museum had originally anticipated over 200,000 visitors in its first year at the new location. At its former location on Flagler Street, the museum received on average about 60,000 visitors annually.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is directly served by rapid transit at Museum Park Metromover station.

The vertical gardens - designed by Patrick Blanc - are the signature of the museum. 
People might not remember its name, but will say "that museum with the trees hanging."

I got a chance to have fun swinging like a kid in one of the many swings as part of an installation named Netscape by Konstantin Grcic, outside of the museum. 
The artist has created a calm and relaxing atmosphere, on the shade, facing the water. If you are visiting the Perez Museum, plan at least half an hour to enjoy a swing or one of the Muskoka chairs outside.   

Moving inside...
This was my absolutely favourite piece in the whole museum. Unfortunately a photo is never the same as looking at it right in front of you. The scale, the colours, the texture, the look... It really touched me. 

Artist: Firelei Baez
Art: Sans-Souci

FROM: https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/firelei-baez-joy-out-of-fire-1348094

“When I was I was growing up, I’d be the one who’d be drawing the paper dolls for everyone in the neighborhood,” the artist Firelei Báez explains to me over refreshing San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa drinks in her live/work atelier in upper Manhattan. “Like these really gorgeous gowns—Aretha would’ve been proud.”
Báez’s space has the cool colors of the Caribbean flowing sweetly throughout: Sunny yellows, soft pinks, and watery sea greens permeate both the canvases on the walls and the decor of her home. On a hot early August afternoon, in the artist’s multi-room abode on a quiet block in Inwood, we discuss her artistic roots and the many prolific projects she is currently juggling.
Báez was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 1981, to a Dominican mother and father of Haitian descent. She remembers her upbringing as involving “busy moms who have like 3,000 jobs. I was there with my abuelas and my tias.”
She was raised in Dajabón, a market city close to the Haitian border. “My idea of landscape and sunlight, everything came from growing up there,” she says. Her family moved frequently, with the future artist attending a different school every year in the Dominican Republic and then Miami, where she moved when she was nine.

The main exhibition call Elemental was by Teresita Fernandez,  an American artist born in Miami, with a Cuban background.

FROM: http://www.artnet.com/artists/teresita-fernández/

Teresita Fernández is a contemporary American artist best known for her large-scale public sculptures and her innovative use of materials. Throughout her practice, Fernández focuses on natural science phenomena and altering the viewer’s perception through changing the light or space of the gallery or location in a direct way. Born on May 2, 1968 in Miami, FL to a Cuban immigrant family, she went on to study at Florida International University and then at Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her MFA in 1992. During a residency in Japan, Fernández was struck by the elegance and utility of the traditional Japanese lifestyle and architecture, an experience which left a profound impact on her artistic process and work. The artist was the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2005. Her work can be found in many collections worldwide, and has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., among others. Fernández lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Here are other pieces that caught my attention at the PAMM:

Artist: Derek Fordjour
Art: Worst to Be First (2019)

FROM https://www.artsy.net/artwork/derek-fordjour-worst-to-be-first-ii
Derek Fordjour is an interdisciplinary artist whose work grappes with race, political insubordination, inequality, and American society. Fordjour explores these complex themes through imagery from carnivals, parades, and other celebratory settings.

Goodbye, PAMM!

Right beside the Perez Museum its the Frost Science, a science center in this magnificent building. Unfortunately I didn't go inside, but I enjoyed walking around it. 
I would've definitely brought the girls to visit this science museum, if they were here.  

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a leading science museum dedicated to sharing the power of science, sparking wonder and investigation, and fueling innovation for the future. Located in Downtown Miami’s waterfront Museum ParkFrost Science is divided into four buildings: the Frost Planetarium, Aquarium, and North and West Wings. Here, guests can learn about the core science behind living systems, the solar system and known universe, the physics of flight, light and lasers, the biology of the human body and mind, and much more. Guests can explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in an experiential setting with interactive exhibitions and unique shows. Frost Science is also dedicated to education, earning national awards for its summer camps and after-school programs.

Solar trees.

Going back to the hotel...

One thing that really made me confused here was to see all these motorcyclists WITHOUT a helmet. I knew the use of helmets is not mandatory for everyone in Florida, still it blows my mind to see people riding potential danger machines with hardly ANY protection. I feel uncomfortable riding my bicycle without a helmet, never mind a motorcycle! 
Basically, if you are over 21 years old and have some money for a decent insurance, you can get hurt!!
"Riders over the age of 21 can ride a motorcycle without a helmet if they can prove they are covered by a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover any injuries that may arise as a result of a crash."
Oh well... I guess it's nice to feel the ocean breeze going 100 km/hour. 

There goes the day. 
There goes the trip. 
Here I am waiting for my ride to take me to the airport to catch a flight back home. 
I have mixed feelings. I miss the girls and Mike, but I also wish my trip didn't end so soon. I had fabulous five days exploring a new city, as much as I was learning about myself. Myself different than the "Gabi backpacker" that used to travel alone two decades ago. I have to say that I still have the same drive and curiosity for different places and cultures as I used to have when I was much younger. 

Practically, I actually liked to make my own decisions and not have to compromise with anyone else. I liked the fact that I was moving faster, and also that I did 100% what I wanted to do. 
The downside of it is not having anyone to socialize at a bar or restaurant. I think my 20 years old version would've done a much better job about that. But lets be honest... I felt like being in bed by 10 or 11pm, anyway. 

Over all, it all went as planed. 
I feel much more energized and happy. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Beach & Salsa

I woke up early and didn't waste too much time getting out of the hotel room. 
I got a Citibike again and decided to bike all the way down to the southern part of the island. 

It was such a pleasant bike ride with the sun still rising on the east. 

This bike coastal path runs along the whole island and the palm trees just add more beauty to the scenery.


FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pointe_Park
The Federal Government donated the land to Miami Beach in 1979, which used it as a home to police horse stables, a police intelligence unit and the Port of Miami's harbor pilots until all buildings remaining at the site were razed in 1984 to begin conversion a park. The federal government paid half the construction cost.
Opening on October 25, 1985, it became the nineteenth public park in Miami Beach, built at a cost of $3.6 million (1984). Initial features included an amphitheater, two wooden observation towers, picnic pavilions, fitness courses and a 522-foot (159 m) wooden boardwalk over Miami Beach's last natural sand dune. During planning phases, city officials worried it would become a home to vagrants, and to discourage that they planned the park to be a home to frequent festivals and other events. The park became part of a larger plan in the 1980s to renovate the city's run down South Pointe area.
Renovation plans were first drawn up in the city's 1995 master plan, but the 20-month, $22.5 million renovation wasn't completed until March 2009. Features added in the renovation included 20-foot (6.1 m)-wide walkways lined with Florida limestone and an ocean-themed children's playground.
The park underwent a major renovation effort, completed in 2009. The Hargreaves Associates, of New York City, were hired to redesign the park at a cost of around $22 million (2008).

Me and my companion bike.


Miami Beach is a south Florida island city, connected by bridges to mainland Miami. Wide beaches stretch from North Shore Open Space Park, past palm-lined Lummus Park to South Pointe Park. The southern end, South Beach, is known for its international cachet with models and celebrities, and its early-20th-century architecture in the Art Deco Historic district with pastel-colored buildings, especially on Ocean Drive.


The tour guide told us the other day that the Lummus brother really had a more social vision for  South Beach. They refused to accept offers from other developers to build hotels and other business along their land close to the beach. Instead, they wanted this area to remain opened to the public. 
And Lummus Park was created. 

The park is on the eastern side of Ocean Drive, from 5th to 15th Streets. When redesigned and improved in the mid-1980s, it became part of the project for the redevelopment of what is now the Miami Beach Architectural District of South Beach. Along Ocean Drive, the park shows grassy areas and palm trees, alongside volleyball courts and pull up bars. A wavy pedestrian walk, called the Promenade, separates the grass of the park and the beach up to 21st St, where it turns into boardwalk. The sidewalk is inspired by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx's oceanfront walk along Copacabana Beach near Rio de Janeiro.
The park is a great backdrop for photo shoots, which happen frequently, and it initially became the location for many scenes from the television series "Miami Vice". The Miami Beach park and the Deco streetscape along Ocean Drive continue to be featured in "Miami" location shots for television and movies, and can be seen in episodes of the USA Network's Burn Notice.

South Beach

FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Beach
South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is a neighborhood in the city of Miami BeachFloridaUnited States, located due east of Miami city proper between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The area encompasses Miami Beach south of Dade Boulevard.
This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed, starting in the 1910s, due to the development efforts of Carl G. Fisher, the Lummus Brothers, and John S. Collins, the latter of whose construction of the Collins Bridge provided the first vital land link between mainland Miami and the beaches.
The area has gone through numerous artificial and natural changes over the years, including a booming regional economy, increased tourism, and the 1926 hurricane, which destroyed much of the area. As of 2010, 39,186 people lived in South Beach.

The rescue time was busy whistling to people in the water to come closer. 
And their post was always busy with tourists getting that classic photo.

I even went for a swim. 
The water was a bit cold and the ocean was rough, but it was refreshing. 


Little Havana is a must go neighbourhood in Miami. 
It's about 15-20 minutes by car from Miami Beach.

FROM WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Havana

Little Havana (SpanishPequeña Habana) is a neighborhood of MiamiFloridaUnited States. Home to many Cuban exiles, as well as many immigrants from Central and South America, Little Havana is named after Havana, the capital and largest city in Cuba.
Little Havana is noted as a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami. Its festivals, including the Calle Ocho Festival, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, the Three Kings Parade and others, have been televised to millions of people every year on different continents. It is also known for its landmarks, including Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street/Tamiami Trail), and its Walk of Fame (for famous artists and Latin personalities, including Celia CruzWilly Chirino, and Gloria Estefan), the Cuban Memorial Boulevard, Plaza de la Cubanidad, Domino Park, the Tower Theater, José Martí Park, the Firestone/Walgreens Building, St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Municipio de Santiago de Cuba and others.
Little Havana is the best known neighborhood for Cuban exiles in the world. It is characterized by its street life, restaurants, music and other cultural activities, mom and pop enterprises, political passion, and great warmth amongst its residents.
In 2015, Little Havana was included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of 11 Most Endangered Places. In 2017, the Trust declared it a national treasure.

You can find souvenirs and Cuban products like coffee and cigars in the Little Havana's gift shops.


It's a very colourful and vibrant neighbourhood. 
The Calle Ocho (8th Street) is the neighbourhood's main street, and really the only place worth visiting as a tourist. It's where the bars, stores and restaurants are.

Cuban cigars.

As of 2000, Little Havana had a population of 49,206 residents, with 19,341 households, and 11,266 families residing in the neighborhood. The median household income was $15,213.16. The ethnic makeup of the neighborhood was 85.08% Hispanic or Latino of any race (mainly Cubans, but also many Nicaraguans and Hondurans, as well as other Latinos), 3.79% Black or African American (not including Afro-CubansAfro-NicaraguansAfro-Hondurans, and other Afro-Latinos), 10.14% Non-Hispanic White, and 0.96% of other races.

This is suppose to be an authentic and popular Cuban ice cream, but I didn't try it.

Cubans love to play dominos outdoors at parks and squares. Here is no different. The tables at the Domino Park are packed with older Cubans looking so serious and focused.

This man was super friendly. 
Please buy his coconut water if you visit Little Havana. 

As you walk along the Calle Ocho, you can constantly hear live music coming out of the bars and restaurants. 

The Ball and Chain is a famous restaurant, recommended to tourists.
The space is big with live music and local characters.   

FROM https://www.miaminewtimes.com/location/ball-and-chain-6423016

The neon sign for the "World Famous Ball & Chain Bar and Lounge" sits above a green-and-white striped awning, illuminating SW Eighth Street, much like it did nearly 80 years ago. Originally opened in 1935, the Calle Ocho bar had several owners during its 22-year run. But the most notorious of them all were Henry Schechtman and Ray Miller. Schechtman, a business man and owner of the nearby Tower Hotel, was arrested twice in the span of two months, once for B&E at a Lincoln Road bar, and the second time for attempting to break into the trunk of a jeweler's car. Miller, Schechtman's business partner, was a Teamsters Local 320 union organizer who was tied to multiple counts of vandalism, including the slashing of 70 car tires. The two took ownership of Ball & Chain in the early '50s, only to be shut down several years later in 1957 after being slammed with a $5,000 lawsuit from Count Basie. The bandleader accused the shady owners of only paying him $5,000 of the $13,000 that he was promised. Although much has changed since the days of the ol' Ball & Chain, current owners Bill Fuller and Zack and Ben Bush have kept its history alive. In fact, the high-beamed Dade County pine ceiling is the same structure that's supported the building since the mid '30s.

I loved the colours and the rustic decor of the place. 

I had the most popular Cuban dish at the menu: Ropa Vieja, which is shredded meat, rice, beans and fried plantains. To drink? Mojito, por favor.

The Ball and Chain has two ambience with music. 
Visitors can appreciate a live band at the front, and a DJ entertains a younger crowd in a big patio in the back. Just seat on one of the comfortable sofas and enjoy a piece of Cuba, right in Miami.