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Bayfront Park is a Miami landmark and draws thousands of tourists, but it has a lot of changes on the horizon. Its future as the host of the Ultra Music Festival is up for debate and there’s a bunch of development (like a giant solar ring) coming soon.
We took a look at the simpler times, when the park was home to Miami’s humble main library.
THE HISTORY: Waterfront property has always been valuable in Miami and the Bayfront Park has been one of the most iconic properties in the city for decades. The park first opened in 1925 – rough timing, because the Great Hurricane of 1926 did some serious damage to plants in the park and even lifted a bunch of boats up and dropped them in the park. The city rebuilt and added a grotto, a waterfront rock garden, and the early version of the park’s bandshell. By the 1950s a new bandshell was built and so was a brand new library.
BOOKS BY THE BAY: Before the main library branch settled into its spot near the courthouses in Downtown Miami, it was in Bayfront Park. Completed in 1951, it was the first permanent home for Miami’s library system and stuck around for about three decades. The library was criticized when it was first built because it blocked views of the water.
A NEW ERA:By the 1980s things were changing again. The park was redesigned to include a larger promenade with a fountain (that leaders are trying to get flowing again), a monument to the astronauts who died in the Challenger space launch, and new amphitheaters. Those plans also called for demolishing the library 🙁
THE FUTURE: Bayfront Park and Bayside marketplace attract thousands of tourists a day today. The park has hosted the Ultra Music Festival for years along with other concerts and Bayside remains everyone’s favorite place to get Hooters wings and airbrush t-shirts. Bayside’s currently undergoing renovations. Over at the park, FPL’s planning to build a giant solar ring over the amphitheater and there’s also the massive Skyrise Miami tower that will overlook the park and is set to be completed by 2020.
ANOTHER WILD FACT: President Franklin Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt in the park in 1933 when he spoke about plans to help the city’s residents through the Great Depression. As he finished his speech at the bandshell, a gunman opened fire. The crowd stopped him before he fired more shots.
Not enough history for you yet? Then here’s the history of the Florida East Coast Railway.
Stay tuned on as we’ll sorta regularly flashback to pieces of Miami history. And check out this deep dive into Bayside from the Biscayne Times. If there’s any other overlooked or lesser-known Miami history you think we should look into, hit reply and let us know.
Got nagging questions about the Nov. 6 election, the candidates, and all of the amendments that’ll be on the ballot?
Good news. You can submit them here and we’ll answer them in our upcoming voter guide.
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WHAT'S NEW IN THE 305
An actual shit show. Last weekend beaches across the county were shut down because of high concentrations of fecal matter, aka poop, in the water. Want to understand why the 305’s gorgeous beaches are such a mess? Come on out tonight to “Shit Show,” a panel with environmental lawyers, environmental activists, and State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez to hear why it’s happening and what we can do about it. (Miami Waterkeeper)
And this is the opposite of that. The first permanent public toilet is officially open in Downtown Miami. It’s a major step toward addressing the neighborhood’s issue with urine and feces on the streets (back in 2015, the Downtown Development Authority actually made a “poop map”). The restroom will be open 12 hours a day, runs on solar power, and will be staffed by residents of a nearby homeless shelter (who will be paid for their work). (WLRN)
Test drive. The Knight Foundation just donated $5.3 million to help jump start self-driving cars in five cities across the U.S., including Miami. The goal: “to develop sustainably and support neighborhoods by slowing the growth of single-occupant vehicle trips,” aka car trips with just one person in the car. Knight says Miami’s on the list because we were the first U.S. city to allow self-driving Uber vehicles on the streets. (SFBJ)
The youths. Earlier this year, a state court struck down a Florida policy that banned early voting sites on college campuses, but Miami-Dade County still made no moves to add any campuses to the list of early voting sites. Local activists said that was no bueño because it made it much more difficult for young people to vote. They put a bunch of pressure on Mayor Carlos Gimenez to open some up, and yesterday, they scored a small win: Miami-Dade will open a voting site on FIU’s main campus, but not at Miami-Dade College. MDC is not happy about it. (Miami Herald)
About that… It’s a good thing FIU students will have an early voting site on campus, because a study from the last two presidential elections shows that mail-in ballots are 10 times more likely to be rejected. Most of the time that’s because a voter forgets to sign the ballot or their signature doesn’t match the one on file – but that doesn’t explain why mail-in ballots from younger voters, blacks and Latinos were rejected more often. (Miami Herald)
Still salty about #SaltBae. Yesterday at least 100 locals showed up outside Salt Bae’s Brickell restaurant, Nusr-Et, to protest his decision to serve Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a fancy meal in Turkey earlier this week. Considering that at least a third of Venezuelans are going without food at least once a day, it was in poor form, to say the least. Protesters called for a boycott of the restaurant. And even if you’re not fired up about dictator Maduro, the Plantain has five other reasons you shouldn’t bother going. (Miami Herald)
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– Anthony Bourdain, whose final season of Parts Unknown airs Sunday
OUR PARTNER EVENTS
🎥 Tomorrow: Head to Ethiopia with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🌱 Tomorrow: Talk food sustainability and dine courtesy of Hungry Harvest (Allapattah)
🚘 Wednesday, Sept. 26: Eat Italian, set #apartmentgoals, and test drive a Tesla at this BoConcept after-hours event (Brickell)
🎶Thursday, Sept. 27- Sunday, Sept. 30: Immerse yourself in RAW POP UP / LAB’s multisensory experiment of art, music, technology, and performance art. – 20 percent off if you use this link (Brickell)
🎥Thursday, Sept. 27 – Sunday, Sept 30: Catch works from the Caribbean’s most cutting-edge filmmakers at the Third Horizon Film Festival (Wynwood)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
🎸Catch Electric Kif and Groove Orient at the Yard (Wynwood)
🗣️Discuss how art can help shape communities (Downtown)
🎵Learn all about this year’s Buskerfest (Allapattah)
🗳️Talk voter rights at The Standard (South Beach)
👩🎤Check out Laganja Estranja at Poplife Social (Downtown)
🌳Make or check out a pop-up park at Park(ing) Day (Various locations)
🎥Catch a screening of “The Gospel According to André” (South Beach)
🎙️Party with Patrick and the Swayzees (South Beach)
💡Watch a laser lights show (Downtown)
🖼️Explore the Bass Museum after dark (South Beach)
🎤 Talk immigration with Jorge Ramos and Jose Antonio Vargas, America’s “most famous undocumented immigrant” (Coral Gables)
🎶Catch some Argentinian indie-folk-electronica at the Bandshell (North Beach)
🇭🇹 Shop, learn how to cook Caribbean cuisine, and learn how to dance konpa at Caribbean Market Day (Little Haiti)
🎭Catch a new season of microtheater focused on the Tinder era – through Oct. 14 Downtown)
🎻Pull back the curtain at the New World Symphony Open House (South Beach)
🎵See ADULT. And Plack Blague perform at Gramps (Wynwood)
🎺Celebrate the launch of a new WDNA jazz show (Coconut Grove)
🎸Jam to Police cover band, Zendatta, at the Yard (Wynwood)
💃Spice up Sunday with some salsa (Little Havana)
🇵🇷Talk food and rebuilding Puerto Rico with Jose Andres (Downtown)
🌕Meditate under the full moon (South Beach)
🏊 Shop and swim at the full moon pop-up shops (South Beach)
🥁Get down at Purdy’s reggae night (South Beach)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY.
But if you’re looking for some inspo to go do something big today, meet Yanise Ho. Six months ago she started rollerblading from Miami, and in about a month, she’s expected to complete her journey in Portland. Go Yanise, go!
– The New Tropic