Ineffable Miami: Key Biscayne by Loredana De Angelis

(CC by 4.0) photo by Francesco De Angelis

Loredana De Angelis is a junior at the Honors College at Florida International University majoring in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and minoring in Business. Expecting to graduate in Spring 2021, she expects to continue her education at a graduate school. Her job goals are to be able to help a lot of businesses with her knowledge. She is very passionate about her roots and hopes she will be able to connect her personal experience with what she learns in this course.

History

Key Biscayne was first occupied by the Tequesta Indians of the Calusa Nation. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon found the island and called it Santa Marta, and claimed it for the King of Spain, who then gave the land to Pedro Fornelis. Near 1821, Mary Ann Davis of St. Augustine gave Fornelis $100 for the land after Florida became part of the United States. The Davis family initiated with the development of Key Biscayne by selling some land in 1839, but the development was very slow.

John Mathersonm in 1908 bought some land on the key and started to create plantations of coconut and experimental fruits. The plantation started to develop as a community when the Mathersons build schools, a commissary, a zoo, and provided transportation in and out of the island. The key was affected by many hurricanes making the plantation not as profitable as it was thought to be.

By Johnnyjoe23 (talk) – Own work (Original text: self-made), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13290332

Around the 1940s, the island was the location for a lot of movies which gave more value to its land. Matherson decided to make a deal with County Commissioner Charles Crandon to donate half of the key to the public and in return, Crandon built a causeway to connect the key to land, which opened in 1947.

In 1950 when the Mackle Company bought land of the key and built around 280 houses, a hotel, and a shopping center and then, he donated land for schools and churches. This was another of the peak moments of development of Key Biscayne. After that, in 1991, Key Biscayne residents decided to incorporate The Village of Key Biscayne to self-govern and not being controlled by Dade County.

Demographics

Key Biscayne’s population is of about 13,149 residents with a median age of 44 according to the 2018 census. Key Biscayne’s population is composed of 67.7% Hispanic or Latino residents, 31.2% White Alone residents and 0.841% Asian Alone residents.

Map retrieved from Google Maps

Transportation

By Johnnyjoe23 (talk) – Own work (Original text: self-made), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13290332

There are several ways to mobilize to and from Key Biscayne. The Miami-Dade Transit Authority provides different public transportation options as the Metrobus, the Metrorail and the metro mover that goes to Key Biscayne or provides its residents an easier way to transport outside the key with no need of an own car. If you take the Metrobus you can use bus #102 (Route B) which takes you to Brickell Metrorail station, Brickell Business District, Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami Seaquarium, Crandon Park, Village of Key Biscayne, Cape Florida State Park. The Metrorail option gets you to the Vizcaya Station at 201 SW First Avenue, across US 1 from the Museum of Science. Using the Metrorail, you can connect to the metro mover which helps you mobilize around downtown.

Museums

Miami Seaquarium

By Averette at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4068089

In 1963 The Miami Marine Stadium opened its doors to the public to give space to appreciate water sports, specifically motorboat races. The stadium hosted approximately 6000 people and was not only used for water sports but concerts and other sports as boxing. Thirty years later, in 1992, this space was declared unsafe due to the coming of hurricane Andrew. Now, we can only appreciate its structure ruins where all the cement walls are fully covered by graffiti and what’s left of the wooden structure that is mostly destroyed.

Monuments

Cape Florida Lighthouse

By Dr Zak at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4772387

Located in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, this 65-foot lighthouse was built around the 1700s and 1800s to overlook the Atlantic Ocean waters. The main function of the Cape Florida Lighthouse was to help guide sailors and protect the Florida of pirates and Indian invasions.

It was first made up of wooden stairs, but, eleven years after its opening, its inside structure was burned out by Seminole Indians attack. Then, in the 1860s, southern sympathizers when Florida seceded the Union. After that, it has been out of service several times due to damages by natural events. Nowadays, the lighthouse is part of one of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places where visitors can do a tour in a replica where old artifacts are still stored.

Neptune Memorial Reef

By Elkman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9640900

Conceived by Gary Levine and designed by Kim Brandell in 2012 the Neptune Memorial Reef is an underwater columbarium and man-made reef that takes over 16 acres of the ocean floor. Located 40 feet underwater, this representation of Atlantis also provides a new ecosystem to all marine species in that area. This place attracts a lot of visitors can dive to see their loved ones, do research or appreciate the marine organisms that live on it.

Miami Marine Stadium

By State Library and Archives of Florida: Florida Photographic Collection – Florida Photographic Collection, Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32718259

In 1963 The Miami Marine Stadium opened its doors to the public to give space to appreciate water sports, specifically motorboat races. The stadium hosted approximately 6000 people and was not only used for water sports but concerts and other sports as boxing. Thirty years later, in 1992, this space was declared unsafe due to the coming of hurricane Andrew. Now, we can only appreciate its structure ruins where all the cement walls are fully covered by graffiti and what’s left of the wooden structure that is mostly destroyed.

Places of worship

Residents of the key have different places to practice their religion depending on the one they practice. Crossbridge Church, St. Agnes, and St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea, are catholic churches. Then, for the Jewish community there’s the Chabad Jewish Center, and for Protestants, the Key Biscayne Community Church.

Eateries

Key Biscayne counts with a lot of restaurants that offer a variety of food to its residents and everyone who wants to enjoy their taste. You can enjoy different experiences from the most fancy, in expensive restaurants as Kazumi, Rusty Pelican and Puponi where one of the best sushi, fish or pasta respectively. But if you’re looking for something more accesible but also delicious, you can enjoy a great meal in restaurants as Sir Pizza, Pita Pockets, and Doggis Arepa Bar to try some Venezuelan food.

Rusty Pelican

Photo taken from the Rusty Pelican website

The Rusty Pelican chain has one of its 18 locations right on the Rickenbacker Marina at Key Biscayne. This restaurant offers high-quality dishes inspired in Latin cuisine using the freshest local seafood. Customers are not the only attracter by their food, which is incredibly good but to enjoy the waterfront views, where you can see all Miami skyline. This is not an everyday restaurant, it is mostly used for special occasions, as it’s a very fancy and expensive place to eat, their prices range from $7 to $15 in starters and $17 to $42 main plates.

Cantina Beach

Cantina Beach. Photo taken from The Ritz Carlton resort website. CC0 1.0

Cantina Beach is an oceanfront restaurant located at The Ritz-Carlton resort at Key Biscayne. This restaurant serves delicious Mexican inspired food in a casual and sophisticated space. This is a middle-priced option for those who want to enjoy great food in a good environment, its prices range from $12 to $30 in main plates. Also, you can enjoy tequila tasting with their Tequilier (tequila specialist trained in Mexico’s Agave growing regions) Heriberto Ovideo that offers 110 different types of liquor.

Sir Pizza

Photo taken from Edible South Florida. 

Sir Pizza is a restaurant chain that was founded by Wendell Swartz in 1957 in Indiana. Since 1969, Key Biscayne residents have been able to enjoy their delicious pizza, pasta, subs and salad options. This is a great option if you are looking for something fast and cheap where you can get a small cheese pizza for $10, the prices of other plates range from $11-$30.

Biography of Victoria Cantalamessa (a Key Biscayne resident)

Victoria was born on January 29th, 1998. She has been living in Key Biscayne with her parents since she is 12 years old. The thing she likes the most about the key is its community and the beaches. Victoria sings every Sunday on the church and has gotten to know a lot of her neighbors there. She says that she would like to raise her children in Key Biscayne because it’s a very calm place, you have proximity to great schools where you would already know most of the families and the parents of your children’s new friends. The only thing Victoria dislikes about the key is that its beaches are open to the public and sometimes it diminishes the privacy and security they are paying for in their community.

Summary

Key Biscayne for me is a box full of surprises, I think it may get unnoticed sometimes, but making this project about it made me realize how many history and culture is it on there. Personally, I got to know more of Key Biscayne than just the beaches, and the thing that got my attention the most is its community and history.

Since Ponce de Leon discovered this island, since today is has developed incredibly, nowadays I could say I would like to move to Key Biscayne, because, as my friend Victoria said, I think having a great and united community where you live is super important. I liked a lot doing this project because I really got to get to know the key and got to discover so many things I didn’t even know existed, and after this situation ends, I already have a list of things I would like to visit.

Work Cited

“About.” Miami Seaquarium, www.miamiseaquarium.com/.

“Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne in Miami.” Visit Florida, www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do/arts-history/cape-florida-lighthouse-in-key-biscayne-miami.html.

“Luxury Hotels & Resorts: The Ritz.” Carlton, www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/miami/key-biscayne/dining/cantina-beach.

“Miami, Florida Cremations.” Neptune Memorial Reef, www.nmreef.com/.

“Rusty Pelican Miami: Upscale, American Cuisine in Miami, FL.” Rusty Pelican Miami | Upscale, American Cuisine in Miami, FL, www.therustypelican.com/.

“Sir Pizza – Key Biscayne.” Sir Pizza – Key Biscayne, sirpizzakeybiscayne.com/.

“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Key Biscayne Village, Florida.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, www.census.gov/quickfacts/keybiscaynevillageflorida.

Grundhauser, Eric. “Miami Marine Stadium.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 31 Dec. 2014, www.atlasobscura.com/places/miami-marine-stadium.

Places of Worship in Key Biscayne, FL, www.localprayers.com/US/Key-Biscayne-FL/222570.

Village of Key Biscayne – Village of Key Biscayne, keybiscayne.fl.gov/index.php?src=.

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