MIM Ineffable Miami: Aventura

Ashley Diaz, Photo taken by Karen Ayuso

Student Bio:
This student’s name is Ashley Diaz; she is 20 years old and is interested in finding new ways to make tasks completed daily, vastly convenient, and straightforward. Ashley is a Computer Engineering student studying at Florida International University and is a member of the Honors College. There are many activities that she enjoys partaking in, as well as places that she likes to travel to. She has visited various places both within and outside of Florida. She thinks there are few ways to culture oneself that do not include immersing oneself into a different culture entirely and talking to the people around you about their opinions on pressing issues. Ashley grew up in various small apartments in Miami Lakes before moving back to live with her grandmother in Wynwood for about a year or so before moving into the house that she now lives in, located in Hialeah, Florida.

Picture from Landsat.com a map of Aventura and its surrounding areas.

GEOGRAPHY:
The city of Aventura is located about 12 miles north of Miami, 12 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, and 1 mile west of the Atlantic Ocean. It has approximately 3 square miles of land and is a cosmopolitan city, according to the cityofaventura .com. As of 2010, according to census.gov there are approximately 13,484 people per square mile. Cosmopolitan defines the city as a blend of different ethnicities and has a busy and fast-paced workflow. Skyscrapers cover the entire city as well as condominiums, public parks, marinas, and other forms of businesses. It is not a city where you can easily walk around and get to places without transportation. However, there are many things to do in the city of Aventura. The geography is described best by that of a bustling city.

Aventura Then, Picture from Turnberry.com
Aventura Now, Picture from Turnberry.com

HISTORY:
The name Donald Soffer is not very known to many; however, it really should be. The man has made monumental changes to what is now the city of Aventura. Before becoming the bustling city that it is, Aventura used to be marshland. Furthermore, up until recently, there were no tall skyscrapers, thriving businesses, and residential communities in such luxurious standards. It was Donald Soffer that had the vision of what the City of Aventura is today. Soffer became this successful real estate developer that he has today through the completion and development of Aventura. He bought 785 acres of land and saw this project as an opportunity to develop a city successfully. Soffer’s real estate company Turnberry is responsible for over $10 billion worth of both residential and commercial properties. Luxurious hotels, residential buildings, the Aventura Mall, and an art presence are all a part of their mission to developing the city of Aventura even further. Moreover, with over ten approved construction projects underway, the city just keeps expanding.

The city of Aventura is more than just luxurious grounds for expansion; it has the history of some notorious drug leaders as well. Some know them as the Cocaine Cowboys, and they were a ruthless group who, according to NY daily news.com smuggled approximately 10 tons of cocaine into Miami during the 1980s. From the documentary “Cocaine Cowboys: reloaded 2014,” Mickey Munday recounts the past operations of drug smuggling. One of the last standing Cocaine Cowboys, as he explains exactly how they were able to take pounds of dope and get it through Haulover Inlet, known to the smugglers as the “front door.” The “front door” was a kind of secret code that they would use so that they would not be caught by police saying Haulover Inlet, for example. After making it through the “front door,” The boats filled with drugs would then go to Maule Lake Marina, where they would park the boat and leave it overnight, and if it were untouched throughout the night, they would unpack the drugs and take it to a warehouse nearby. These places can still be visited today as they are close by, and being educated on this topic will allow someone to explore the area more analytically. To see how far precisely has the city of Aventura gone from what it was then to what it is now.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
There is quite a mix of people living in Aventura today, according to datausa.io, just over 50% of the people are Caucasian. Just under 40% of the population are Hispanic or Latino. Black or African-American is the third most common race and ethnicity; however, they are still a small percentage of the population. In 2016 nearly half of the population of Aventura were foreign-born citizens. The three most common places of origin for the foreign-born citizens of Aventura included Cuba, Haiti, and Mexico. As of 2017, the population of Aventura is around 37,875 people, and of those people, the median age for people living in Aventura is around 50 years old. The mean household income is 57,388 dollars. Moreover, the poverty rate is just under 10%. Also, according to census.com, around 15% of people are over the age of 15 years old. With just over half the population of Aventura to be female and the other half would be male.

Aventura Slide Tower Taken by Ashley Diaz

LANDMARKS:
One of the iconic landmarks within the city of Aventura is that of the Aventura Slide Tower. Artist Carsten Höller made this fully functional and operational slide that is also a work of art. Höller is known for making works of art within amusement parks and other forms of large-scale projects. On the Turnberry website, it states that the Aventura Slide Tower intended to convey a “voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind.” This Slide Tower is not the only form of art that is depicted within the Aventura Mall. There is also another interactive art piece named “Gorillas in the Mist,” this was made by twin brothers named Nikolai and Simon Haas. With a more naturalistic approach to their art, they have the scenic greenery in the background of their artwork to exemplify the purpose of this art piece. The Gorillas in the Mist is a fountain that consists of four bronze pieces, and that even includes bronze trees. The fountain is fully functional and used by children and families to cool down in the Florida heat.

Founders Park, taken by Ashley Diaz

GREEN:
Despite being a suburban area, the city of Aventura does have a few parks and green spaces. There is the Founders Park that includes a quarter-mile, track a splash pad of sort and a vast field in which people can play different types of games or sports. With residential ID, one can access the park as well as all of its amenities for free. However, if one does not live in Aventura, one must pay a fee of five dollars in tax for adults three dollars and tax per child. It seems as though one cannot escape the city as the skyscrapers tower directly above where these parks are. There is another small park known as the Veterans Park, which is open to the public and free to access. This park includes a field and also a playground area. Peace park is just another park within the city of Aventura. This one includes a covered playground and exercise area for adults and is approximately 1 1/2 acres. It also oversees a bay area that provides a gentle breeze for people enjoying the park and a great way to enjoy a day out at the park.

Bus Stop, Taken by Ashley Diaz

TRANSPORTATION:
The city of Aventura offers some free transportation options for people. They have an adventure express shuttle bus that has roots going from Northern Aventura to Central Aventura and even Southern Aventura. Moreover, within the mall of Aventura, there is now a transit section where every shuttle always stops. There are six routes, and the busses are on an hourly schedule, so to reduce the wait time for passengers. Although traffic is a big hassle in a city like Aventura, most people who take transportation services within the city are residents. A beneficial add-on to the free transportation system that they have includes a tracking app. This free app allows passengers not only to see where the buses are in real-time but also allows them to conveniently see how long it will take them to get to their destination. Be mindful; however, it is essential to be aware that these free shuttles are not available on Sundays. Despite having free transportation, the majority of people do not take advantage of this. Most people would instead commute and or use a sort of taxi services such as Uber or Lyft to get around the city of Aventura.

Sicilian Oven, Taken by Ashley Diaz
Sicilian Oven, Photo taken by Ashley Diaz

FOOD:
There are many restaurants within the city of Aventura, many of which are located within the Aventura mall. Some have been award-winning such as the Cvi.Che 105, a Peruvian restaurant known for its incredible, creative, and traditional dishes. Chef Juan Chipoco is the owner of Cvi.Che 105 and has made a positive influence in the Hispanic community with his revolutionary spices and flavors that he has added to the restaurant industry and also throughout South Florida.

There is a small restaurant hidden within the mix of other small businesses and restaurants nearby. It is within a shopping mall center where Sicilian oven resides. A local pizzeria loved by most folks who come by to visit, their dark and welcoming atmosphere makes a warm place to have more than just a slice of pizza. With many different options, one can build one’s pizza, have a classic, or even choose from one of their specialties The Sicilian ham and cheese melt, rice balls, or Sicilian bruschetta. Founded by Ralph DiSalvo, The philosophy of the restaurant is to use only the best ingredients and flavor combinations. The recipes have been used for generations within the DiSalvo and Garavuso families.

Aventura Mall, Photo taken by Ashley Diaz

BUSINESS:
The city of Aventura has a plethora of businesses, many of which are large scale high-end, and other of which that are not as popular. Some stores include Adidas, Coach, Armani Exchange, Bloomingdales, and there is even an AMCs movie theater within the mall. The Aventura mall even has a Tesla dealership on the second floor indoors! With over 300 shops and boutiques and more than 50 restaurants, Aventura Mall is a destination for all who visit the city of Aventura. Aventura mall also has art pieces throughout the mall. There are a lot of events and promotions programs and even a kids club at Aventura Mall. These are things that are done throughout the year. Programs change seasonally to match the theme of the current celebration. These different programs and additions to the mall make it a thriving business within the city. It is a success with all of the locals and people who come to visit from around South Florida.

SUMMARY:
The city of Aventura has many great positives, as well as some shocking and unexpected history about it. This does include the past with the cocaine Cowboys. However, it is also an example of how a city can transform from an area with planes and no buildings as tall as they are today, to a place where skyscrapers cover the majority of the land. Aventura makes use of its location down in South Florida as a way to build its business industry as well as its reputation for luxurious amenities. When most people think of Aventura, they think of the Aventura mall and rightly so as the mall generates possibly most of the attraction within the city. Although the Aventura mall is not the only business, it is a very prominent one, along with all of the other high skilled businesses that live within and around the area of Aventura.

Learning more about Aventura has made an impact that is to be unexpected, from learning of the dark past to the bright, thriving industry that it has generated today. It makes for an enjoyable day well spent as one’s options are open to many different things to do. Although Aventura has a lack of green spaces and the city is majorly a bustling city. One can still enjoy their time in the city of Aventura. Furthermore, it has various cultural diversity in terms of works of art as well as businesses. Moreover, the city is gorgeous and riveting just to walk around and enjoy the scenic views and unique architectural projects.

Citations:

“ABOUT US.” TURNBERRY, https://www.turnberry.com/about-us/.

“Aventura Express Shuttle Bus.” Aventura Express Shuttle Bus | Aventura, FL, https://www.cityofaventura.com/183/Aventura-Express-Shuttle-Bus.

“Aventura, FL Quick Facts.” Infoplease, Infoplease, https://www.infoplease.com/us/florida/quickfacts-us-census-bureau-2.

“Aventura, FL: Official Website.” Aventura, FL | Official Website, https://www.cityofaventura.com/.

“Aventura, FL.” Data USA, https://datausa.io/profile/geo/aventura-fl/.

“Peace Park.” Aventura, FL, https://www.cityofaventura.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Peace-Park-6.

“Check Out Aventura Mall’s Hours, Contact Info, Designer Stores & More.” Aventura Mall, https://aventuramall.com/about-aventura-mall/.

Admin. “Announcing the 2016 Stem Action Award Honorees.” Regenerative Medicine Foundation, https://www.regmedfoundation.org/2016/11/03/anouncing-the-2016-stem-action-award-honorees/.

Center, Aventura. “Photo Gallery.” Aventura Center, https://www.aventuracenter.org/host-event/photo-gallery.

Cullen, Terence. “Cocaine Cowboy Mickey Munday, Who Ran Drugs into Miami during 1980s, Indicted in $1.6 Million Car Theft Ring .” Nydailynews.com, New York Daily News, 8 Apr. 2018, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/cocaine-cowboy-mickey-munday-indicted-1-6-million-car-theft-article-1.3139596.

Solutions, c2z. “Our Story.” Traditionally Crafted. Exceptionally Good. Enjoy the CVI.CHE 105 Experience, http://www.ceviche105.com/site/.

YouTube, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97OsxAp-VsU.

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