MIM FALL 2019 INEFFABLE MIAMI: WYNWOOD – LESLY GARCIA

STUDENT BIOGRAPHY

Picture Captured by Julio Sanchez (Bestfriend)

Lesly Garcia was born in a small town in Florida in the winter of 1999. An American to some but a Hispanic to many, coming from both lovely parents who were raised in Cuba and fought to come to the state to build a better future for their daughter. Twenty years old and currently a junior at Florida International University. She is currently majoring in English with a Literature track and works at the FIU Engineering Center as a Proctor. As a hobby, she dances ballet in her spare time and dreams to one day be on Broadway dancing Giselle, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, etc.

GEOGRAPHY

In the urban roots of Miami, Florida lays a diverse district called Wynwood. It is known for the numerous residences of art exhibits, variety shops, wide-ranging pubs, nonindustrial handmade eateries, and one of the large urban-art establishments known today. However, before it was known as today an art city central, it used to be nothing but abandoned gray warehouses where businesses used to manufacture their items. The one who made it out to be known today is Tony Goldman, seeing the blank walls as canvases to be painted on.

Wynwood is stationed, according to Wikipedia, north of Downtown Miami and Overtown, abutting to Edgewater. It contains two significant sub-regions, Wynwood Art District, which is in the northern hemisphere of Wynwood, and Wynwood Fashion District, which is found by West 5th Avenue. It is also approximately split by North 20th St. to the South, I-95 to the North, I-95 to the West, and the Florida East Coast Railway to the East.

From northern to southern to western to eastern, the district measures about seven thousand seven hundred and twenty-five square miles. Sadly, there isn’t for sure a park in Wynwood except for Roberto Clemente Park; it is a park that contains a baseball field on the side. It may not have any attractions to it, but it does indeed have a good view when the sun goes down. Another “park,” which isn’t technically a park since it isn’t for the public, is José de Diego Middle School Park, called Robert E. Lee Park (Wikipedia).

Today, this district is recognizable globally for its destination of unique fashionable art, clothing, buildings, and businesses. It is one of the most exceptional communities in the United States for its diversity from not just the age gap but also the race and sexuality.

HISTORY

Coca-Cola Manufacture via Miami-History.com Josiah Chaille via Miami-History.com

Before the moderation and artistic side of Wynwood, in Miami-History.com says that the district was initially separated and sold off by two Miamians named Josiah Chaille and Hugh Anderson. The area in which both men invested in 1917 was initially thought to be a meadow and a portion of the Pulaski Estate. By 1913 the city of Miami would have considered Wynwood to be part of North Miami. Crazy behavior and legal alcohol in the past tense were slowly taking part in North Miami.


Josiah Chaille is best known for working for the Miami City Council and working in the retail business with his father. Most of the street names in which many pass by and use as a sense of direction were thought out to be part of Chaille’s plan around October 1920.

His companion, Hugh Anderson, went from working as a hotel clerk to becoming a millionaire due to a time where Miami became its best days. Along with being a founding father of Wynwood, he was also according to the site “involved with the development of Miami Shores and the Venetian Islands.”. Not only that, but he was also one of the constructors of Biscayne Boulevard. The last thing that was recorded about him was that his wealth and possessions were wasted and then finally passed away.

Both men took Wynwood around 1917 and decided to call it what it is today, Wynwood. Months later, it became known as Wynwoo Park (without the “d”), but the people decided against it and referred to it as just Wynwood again.


Wynwood was best known for its factory laborers, but there were also middle-class families staying there. Stores started to open up, bakery becoming well known all around for its freshly pleasant smell, and the Coca-Cola plantation opened up in 1926. Many job opportunities were opening up, and the people rushed to work in the beautiful district as well as live around the area.


At around the 1920s, Wynwood became a fashionable district for clothing stores, Cubans migrating in the early 1960s helping out with the work as it gradually grew to how it is now. There were about two hundred and twenty-five businesses within around that time, “$64 million in sales” (Miami-history.com), and “manufacturers drew about $125 million” annually.
As 20 years passed, South Koreans bought many of the stores within Wynwood’s Fashion District.


Now, around the early 2000s, there was industrial migration and decline. Still, great minds came together and came with an idea of using the neglected warehouses and factories as a business of art.


But what makes Wynwood peek is the street art itself. Since the launch and opening of the Second Saturday Art Walk and Art Basel, the community of artists has become outstanding. Around the world, an artist would travel to come and see the district, gain inspiration from it, and showcase it to the world. Leaving a continuous pattern of people learning more and more about the Wynwood area itself.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Wynwood rests on a total population of about 17,923 people, with Miami alone having 432,622, according to areavibes.com. Florida overall has a population of 19,934,451. If speaking in Density terms, then it would be 10,246 for Wynwood, 12,022 for Miami, and Florida 294. After much research, Wynwood’s median age was 35.2, leaving a Male/Female ratio of about 1.2:1. Not sure how many are married, for there are no answers to it, but there is a percentage of families with kids under 18, and that is 47%. The population density overall in Wynwood is 15% lower than in Miami itself. It is also 11% lower in median age than Miami. However, there is 70.50% of White staying at Wynwood, 19.11% being African American, and lastly, 1.28% being Asian.

Going through the cost of living is 2% more expensive than the US average, being around 102 while Miami is only 109. A change of being a victim when it comes to Wynwood crime is 1 in 15, 6,930 per 100k people crimes being committed. Next is employment; the median household income is $53,417, 3% lower than the US average. The median rent price is $1,296, Median home value $156,805, and Home Ownership 22/100.

INTERVIEW WITH PAST RESIDENT, FLORIAN

Picture captured by Dariana Sedeño (Bestfriend)

Were you born and raised in Wynwood?

No, I was born in France but decided to move to the United States to have a better future for myself. I wanted to visit a new place I’ve never gone to and put myself out there. Learn without the help of my parents on what it means to be independent and an adult. 

Have you ever seen yourself opening a bakery in Wynwood?

I would say yes, although it seems hard it isn’t impossible. Right now, I’m living in Washington, but all I could ever hope for is to open various bakery shops around the world. 

What did you enjoy the most in Wynwood?

The community. It has a different vibe than where I’ve come from. Here one interacts with another easily due to a piece of art; people are more outgoing and confident. I’ve also enjoyed most of my time in Wynwood when I was with my girlfriend, and we would go on each date somewhere different around the area. It would be a new museum, restaurant, or shop we’ve never seen before or so happened to pass by it. Wynwood changed me for the better. I’ve come to understand myself and even learned English while working here in Zak the Baker. 

LANDMARK

Some of the most well-known landmarks in Wynwood are the art museums: The Marguiles Warehouse Collection, Rubell Family Collection, and Calix Gustav Collection. Each museum has its flair for personality and differences when it comes to the art world.

Rubell Family Collection:  Rubell has a fantastic gallery; it is filled with each different room contemporary art. It contains a lot of divergences; it tries to get the audience’s attention by trying to push the viewer to see the pieces through different lenses. There are collections of sculptures, paintings, and mixed media pieces. For one to enter, the admission cost is $10, which is not that bad. Aside from it being a gallery, it also has a small book and gift store. Don’t miss the opportunity of going!

Picture captured by Lesly Garcia

The Marguiles Warehouse Collection: Speaks in volumes, whether it is through the beautiful art piece of the headless bodies, space, and symmetry from a white cube, a face that speaks words slowly about beauty and nature, etc. It is a nonprofit institute that exhibits collections and educational programs. They have a mind-boggling compilation of some of the greatest Anselm Kiefer of time. It is an enormous and spacious museum; just don’t judge the book by its cover.

GREEN SPACE

Picture captured by Lesly Garcia

Roberto Clemente Park: This beautiful, peaceful park is about 25 acres long, there is a baseball field next to it. Sadly, this park does not contain any attractions like other parks, but it does make up for it for the beautiful view of the sun going down. It is also the right place if one ever decides to have a picnic date or get together. There’snot much information about this park; it feels more like a hidden gem.

Robert E. Lee Park (José de Diego Park): For this small park, it is also not very well known, but it is still considered a park. Yet, this park is off-limits to the public, for it is only accessible for the students that go to the school.

I did more research about why there weren’t any parks near Wynwood, but I did find out that the community is asking for one. It is still being thought-out or planned by the people on how it would look.

TRANSPORTATION

Picture captured by Lesly Garcia

There are various forms of transportation and ways around going into Wynwood. There was this small scooter rental shop (forgot the name), in which one can take it for a couple of hours but must return it afterward. Wynwood is supplied with a Metro bus and Miami’s free trolley assistance throughout the district. According to Wikipedia, it is by “Metromover’s School Board Station” located in the south of Wynwood and by the “Miami Metrorail in adjoining Allapattah” which is located in 36 St./ US 27 and NW 12 Avenue.

Aside from this, there are other abilities to go to and from Wynwood; there are also carpool bicycles, taxis, etc.

The best results, in my opinion, are the Metro Bus and Miami’s free trolley. One spends less on those two options, even if it takes time to get there. But once arrived in Wynwood, there is no need to drive here and there, everything is just a block away.

FOOD

Now for the best part, FOOD! Wynwood contains a variety of different cultural foods, and most of these restaurants aren’t found anywhere else but here. I remember walking one day with my friends to a donut shop called as you guess it by the picture, The Salty Donuts. These donuts aren’t like any other donuts I’ve ever tasted. The only con to it is its price range, but if you are a person like me who only spends money on the gratification of having delicious food in your tummy, then this is it! It has also been a favorite for many locals as well, as they take pictures and post it on all kinds of social media accounts. There is a long and drenching line, but the staff is super friendly once speaking to them. This small store is super cozy, and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. There are large tables inside and a couple of bar stools on one end. It contains fresh ingredients and a watery mouth taste.

The next stop was 1-800 Lucky. I’ve come here several times due to their delicious ramen. It is an intimate, relaxing space with a food truck ambiance but all of the amenity of a restaurant. There are a variety of selections of food to choose from, different counters to pick-and-mix once favorite dishes. Music blasted outside, and people gathered around chatting away, smiling. Sadly, it was on that one trips the class went to Wynwood when I entered 1-800 Lucky with a classmate and found out the best ramen restaurant was moving to another location. BUT HAVE NO FEAR! There are still many other ramen shops around Wynwood.

After that delicious taste of Ramen, my pals and I decided to walk into an ice cream shop, they make a unicorn out of it, and it’s utterly beautiful. I also sadly don’t recall the name, but it shouldn’t be hard to find.

BUISNESS

Picture captured by Lesly Garcia

Although I spoke already about 1-800 Lucky, there is one thing I left out, and that is they sell a collection of Vinyl if one is into the old school kind of way of listening to music on their record player. The collections are brand new, and they are less expensive than what one would expect. Let alone, if one went to enter Urban Outfitters, the prices of some of their pieces of vinyl are crazy high-priced than in this small shop. There is music from the 80s, 90s, and more — a variety of genres from disco to classical to rap to pop to rock. Everything one ever needs in there.

Next to 1-800 Lucky is a small shop that contains super expensive clothing pieces; they are all handmade but again costly. Just thinking about it just makes my heartache. The clothing pieces are beautiful and unique in their way. It has designs of musicians on the back of a pair of jeans to a leather jacket with crystals all around the collar. If I were rich, I’d most likely have my closet filled with their clothes. I believe the reasons as to why it is also super expensive isn’t just due to how it was made but also the time it took and the area they are selling it in.

SUMMARY

Overall, Wynwood is the place to be. There are pros and cons to this district, but there are pros and cons all around in other regions or states. What seems to have worked for many is the eye-opening knowledge of different cultures in one place, the different nationalities, genders, age-gap, and sexuality. It brings a sense of home to many, for it doesn’t try to exclude others by excluding I mean, racism, and homophobes. Although the art brings attention to many across the globe, I would have to say it is the people that make it better in the district. The cons have to be more on the pricey side of things. Although the clothes are handmade and unique, not many end up buying stuff from the place due to its crazy price. Many enter, but many leave empty-handed. If there was a way to change this, then I think one should. Aside from that, everything is okay.

WORK CITED

“Wynwood.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 June 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wynwood.

Piket, Casey. “History of Wynwood Miami.” Miami History Home, 9 Aug. 2015, http://miami-history.com/history-of-wynwood-miami/.

Areavibes. “Wynwood, Miami, FL Livability.” Living In Wynwood, FL – Wynwood Livability, https://www.areavibes.com/miami-fl/wynwood/livability/#amenities-jmp.

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