MIM Ineffable Miami Fall 2019: Hialeah by Jose Rosales

BIOGRAPHY

Jose Rosales is a pre-med student currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Florida International University. His goal is to attend medical school in hopes of one day practicing neurosurgery. What little time he has left outside of school and work he devotes to his family; as he has recently been blessed with the arrival of his father from Cuba, he continues to work tirelessly to one day be reunited with little sister and step mother who still reside there.

Hialeah City

Map retrieved from Google Maps

Florida is one of the most visited places in the US and the world. In search of sunshine, fun, excitement, and adventure, most people are glad they have visited different places in Florida, and some prefer it as their favorite holiday destination. Popularly referred to as the Sunshine State, Florida, has incredible weather all year round, delicious seafood, beautiful beaches, and plenty of day trip adventures to choose from for visitors and tourists. There is much more to see in Florida, as such smaller hometowns are often overlooked, Hialeah is one such city. Situated within Miami-Dade County, it is held as the sixth biggest city in Florida. Hialeah is a dynamic, community-based city that is marked by the cultural blending of various Hispanic peoples. This travel guide will elaborate on why Hialeah is an extraordinary place to visit, live, and work.

HISTORY

Hialeah has a proud and long history from its establishment in 1925 to date. One of the oldest historical sites in this city is the Hialeah Park Racetrack, which was built in 1925 (Hum, 2016). The Hialeah Park Race Track is also known as the Miami Jockey Club, and it is one of the oldest recreational facilities in the city. People usually go to Hialeah Park to watch and spectate horse racing competitions. Hialeah is a city well known for the significant number of Cuban exiles who immigrated to the area, and who till today continue to make up a substantial portion of the town (Hum, 2016). From its early days, the city has been home to great cultural diversity and dynamic communities such as the Hispanics who make up 94% of the population, ranging from Puerto Ricans to Mexicans, among other Hispanic groups. 

Hialeah was also a historic docking area for Indians and their canoes, where they displayed their wares to be bought by residents of this area and others from other Miami cities (Hum, 2016). The name Hialeah has been attributed to Muskogee origin, meaning “High Prairie” meaning grassy plains. In the early 1920s, Hialeah captured the attention of silent movies and sports up to 1926 when various hurricanes caused severe destruction to the city. Films like “The White Rose” by D.W Griffith were directed and produced in Hialeah by the Miami Movie Studios (Hum, 2016). Popular sporting activities during that period included the Spanish Sport of Jai Alai and Greyhound racing, all of which featured horse racing competitions at the Hialeah Park.

Hialeah Park Racetrack, Photo by: (Alamy, 2019)

DEMOGRAPHICS

Hialeah is the tenth-largest city in the US, and it has a population density of ten thousand people per square mile, according to the 2018 census (Data-USA. 2018). According to the census, there were a total of seventy-four thousand households, and only 3.9% of the households were unoccupied. As of the year 2015, the population of the city grew from 234,714 to 246,626 (Data-USA. 2018). The median household income is estimated to be $29, 817, which is a 1.94% increase from 2015 when it was expected to be $29,248 (Data-USA. 2018). According to the 2018 census, the age distribution showed that people under the age of eighteen consisted of about 23% of the population, with the median age being 43.5 years (Data-USA. 2018).

As of the year 2015, 36% of the population had children living in their households, and only 7.8% of households had someone living alone (Data-USA. 2018). The average family size in the city was estimated to be 3.39, and the average household size was determined to be 3.15 in the 2018 census (Data-USA. 2018). It was also estimated that 57% of the population was married, with only 18% of the population being single mothers with no husband present. The highest percentage of indigenous cultures consisted of the Cuban Americans who made up 73.37% of the population, Hispanics comprised 94% of the populace, Columbian, Dominican, Nicaraguans, and Hondurans consisted 3% of the population (Data-USA. 2018). English and other languages are spoken below 7%, while 92% of the population spoke Spanish. Hialeah holds the second highest density of Spanish speakers in the United States.

URBAN DESIGN

Hialeah Zoning Department coordinates urban design and planning (Giordano, 2017). The department has the responsibility of granting construction permits, approving building plans, and defining construction procedures in various parts of the city. The central idea that influences the urban policy of Hialeah City is to promote a change in travel habits (Giordano, 2017). A survey was done by two major local corporations, as part of the WRI Florida and World Bank Corporate Mobility project, which indicates that 40% of employees use the car for journeys up to 1.5 km, and a third of them, up to 5 km (Giordano, 2017). The Hialeah Zoning Department aims at promoting improvements to attract drivers for public transport, reducing congestion, and impacting the quality of life throughout the region.

The urban design of Hialeah City has power over the city. In designing the city with a focus on walking and cycling, it inevitably incurs a movement contrary to what is still traditional in many cities (Giordano, 2017). Priority has now been given to people rather than cars with a particular interest in adventurers who visit the city to explore. The high concentration of department stores makes Hialeah City one of the leading trade centers of Miami, which generates an intense pedestrian flow in the region. Most of the neighborhood streets, however, do not meet this demand – the sidewalks are narrow and often clogged, crossing times for people are short, and there are few safety lanes available (Giordano, 2017).

TRANSPORTATION

The city sits in the heart of the Northwest Dade and has access to major roads, including the 1-75, Florida Turnpike, Okeechobee Road, and the Palmetto Expressway (Lynn, 2017). People wishing to conduct business around Hialeah can expect smooth arrival via the two major airports of Opa-Locka Airport and the Miami International Airport, the latter of which is only 10 minutes from Hialeah. Some of the major railway systems in this city include the Metrorail Transfer station and the Miami Metrorail, which provide transport to various parts of the city and Miami (Lynn, 2017). Hialeah City also has a fleet of transit buses that enhance the quality of transportation services across the city for its residents. For tourists that want to explore the beach and do some fishing, a fleet of private boats is available offshore for hire.

Metrorail Transfer station is Hialeah City’s most assertive, constant, but scarce means of public transportation, due to the fact that it is reliable and thus frequented by locals. Usually, people can count on the subways in the range of twenty to forty minutes on weekdays and a little more on Sundays (Lynn, 2017). Given that Hialeah is a primarily residential city, rather than a mainstream tourist location, subways are scarce because the city has few subway and train lines (CPTM) compared to other metropolises around Miami. Many visitors prefer to use the subway because it is not usually congested like the railway lines. Transit buses are the best option for people who are not in a rush, and they provide the best platform for the exploration of various sites in the city (Lynn, 2017).

MUSEUMS

There are various museums near Hialeah for people who love art, vintage items, and animals. The Lock and Load Museum is one of the favorite destinations for tourists in the region as it presents a wide range of historical weapons, particularly in the form of firearms (Ann, 2019). At the Lock and Load Museum, visitors can shoot the vintage weapons with the help of experts and get information about the guns on display, which makes for a more interactive experience with history (Ann, 2019). For lovers of graffiti art, the Wynwood Walls Museum is the best place to be as it presents excellent graffiti art, various art galleries, and eclectic shops (Ann, 2019). Another museum for art lovers is the Miami Design District, where there is an excellent presentation of sculptures, innovative art paintings, and high-end art shops. 

For people who like exploring art from various cultures, the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center is a great place to start (Ann, 2019). The museum presents art artifacts of Cuban culture, from cocktails, live music, and rum collections to others, which date from the 18th century. The Walt Grace Vintage Museum is another excellent place to be in the city, and it offers a presentation of vintage cars and guitars for lovers of all things musical or automotive (Ann, 2019). For the people that enjoy wildlife and sea creatures, the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science offers a place to enjoy an exceptional view of wildlife, birds of prey, reptiles, everglades birds, fish, and a touch tank where one can view and touch the stingrays and manta rays (Ann, 2019). 

MONUMENTS

One of the most famous monuments in Hialeah City is the Cuban Heritage Park, located on Hialeah Drive, built to honor the Cuban high-profile exiles such as Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot. The refugees escaped Cuba with the ascent of the Cuban Revolution (Ann, 2019). The Cuban Heritage Park has a collection of Cuban art, Photo gallery of the exiles, and other artifacts that commemorate the Cuban Revolution. The Hialeah Veterans Memorial Park is another famous monument in Hialeah City that seeks to commemorate fallen US soldiers from the time of World War I to date (Ann, 2019). The park has sculptures and monuments of outstanding soldiers that represent the military traditions and their sacrifice to their duty. One can also visit The Hialeah Park Race Track, which was established in 1925 to enjoy the historic nature of horse racing in Hialeah City, which hosted various famous people, including Winston Churchill (Ann, 2019).

PLACES OF WORSHIP

Hialeah has traditionally been a predominantly a Roman Catholic City, and this is evident from the fact that Catholic Churches sponsor many of the schools, hospitals, and other public facilities (Cruz, 2015). One such church is the St. John the Apostle Miami Catholic Church, located on E 4th Street, across from the local Navarro Supermarket. The city does however grant its residents the freedom of worship, with the exception of animal and human sacrifices, which are forbidden by the law. It is estimated the 40.6% of people in Hialeah City are religious, with the highest percentage being from Catholic churches, which consist of 22.4% (Cruz, 2015). Baptist churches in the city comprise of 5.4% of the overall churches, 0.5% are Episcopalian, 0.3% are Lutheran, 1.7% are Pentecostal, while 0.8% are Methodist. Other minority religions such as Islam consist of 0.9% of the entire churches, Judaism consists of 1.2%, and those of Eastern Faith consist of 0.2% (Cruz, 2015).

The City Government of Hialeah banned animal sacrifices that were usually practiced by the Santeria faith, a major church of which was the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye whose followers mainly come from the Santeria community (Cruz, 2015). The church of Lukumi had services that had significant influence from African religions and Roman Catholicism, among them animal sacrifice to express devotion to their spirits. With the exception of this case; the city government has not prohibited other religious practices in the city (Cruz, 2015). However, the city government had enacted ordinances that prohibit ritualistic religions in the area, and these require any church with rituals to be put under investigation. The government argues that people’s mobility and transit of religious practices and ideas are relatively dissociated here (Cruz, 2015). This difference must be understood in light of the social stratification of the spiritual. The social profile of separatists is above the national average in terms of income and education. Spiritists establish heavy traffic between Catholics and “without religion,” and in this case, the circuit comprises a population group with better living conditions.

EATERIES

From seafood, traditional Peruvian food, Cuban Cuisine, and local delicacies, Hialeah City has all the food one can aspire to explore (Garcia, 2016). The most common sittings along nearby beaches are shrimp trucks that sell takeaway shrimps that are fresh caught and delicious. Other restaurants that sell different types of seafood include Don Camaron that popularly serves shrimp in a parmesan cream sauce and salmon cilantro, which is a type of Cuban delicacy (Garcia, 2016). For people who enjoy authentic Cuban food, La Carreta provides excellent homestyle cuisine in a comfortable yet refined environment. Cultural food restaurants include the El Rinconcito De Santa Barbara, El Rinconcito Peruano, Graziano’s, and El Palacio de los Jugos restaurants (Garcia, 2016). Among the most notable is Porto Alegre , a new Brazilian Steakhouse offering all-you-can-eat grilled meats in a homey setting; it is truly a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, located off of LeJeune road and east 9th avenue. These cultural restaurants sell Cuban, Vietnamese, Peruvian, and Caribbean foods that include pastels, Arroz con gandules, saltado, jalea mixta, and other varieties (Garcia, 2016).

SUMMARY

Hialeah is a hometown in the popular holiday and vacation spot that is Miami, as such it houses a variety of small family owned businesses that further contribute to its colorful cultural mosaic. It is considered to be an industrious city that is constantly in forward movement, as its establishment in 1925 and name “The City of Progress” suggests. Visitors and tourists get to enjoy a wide variety of activities in the city, including recreation and educational programs in the enriching life in Hialeah. From museums, water parks, restaurants, churches, and other recreational activities, the progressing city offers them all. Hialeah is a city for those adventurous enough to seek the true and unfiltered authenticity of the colorful Cuban culture.

REFERENCES

Ann, F. (2019). THE 10 BEST Museums to Visit in Hialeah. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g34284-Activities-c49-Hialeah_Florida.html

Auto-transport. (2019). Sixth largest city: Hialeah, FL. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://www.a1autotransport.com/hialeah/

Cruz, R. T. (2015). Animal sacrifice and equal protection free exercise: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy17(1), 262.

Data-USA. (2018). Hialeah, FL | Demographics. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/hialeah-fl/

Garcia, S. (2016). The Essential Guide to Hialeah Restaurants. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://miami.eater.com/maps/best-hialeah-restaurants

Giordano, C. (2017). City of Hialeah Comprehensive Plan. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://www.hialeahfl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1498/Comprehensive-Plan-2015—2025-PDF

Hum, G. (2016). History of Hialeah. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://flashbackmiami.com/2015/08/06/hialeah/

Limited, A. (2019). Stock Photo – HialeahMiami Florida Hialeah Park quarter horse racing racetrack finish line crowd bettors. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-hialeahmiami-florida-hialeah-park-quarter-horse-racing-racetrack-finish-142124755.html

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