Italia Spring 2020 Ineffable Miami: Coconut Grove by Victoria Duran

“CC by 4.0”

Victoria Duran is a Junior at Florida International University and apart of FIU’s Honors College. She is majoring in Marketing with a certificate in Social Media and E marketing Analytics. She is interested in event planning and hopes to one day work creating campaigns for Production companies such as Warner Bros. or Sony Pictures. She is currently enrolled in the Honors College Italy Grand Tour Redux course and is set to graduate in the the Summer of 2021.

GEOGRAPHY

Kendall is a census-designated place, CDP, in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States and is located approximately 10 miles southwest of the Downtown Miami area. According to the Census Bureau’s defined boundaries of this area, Kendall has an approximate total area of 16.3 sq mi, but many locals believe that areas such as West Kendall, Sunset, and Tamiami are sub-communities of Kendall, thus blurring these boundaries.

This area is heavily residential mostly consisting of middle to upper-middle-class family homes. This area, although not far from the “Miami” most people think about, is geographically unlike its downtown area in that there are no high rises and bistros and is instead filled with chain business and school zones catering towards its large family demographic.

HISTORY

In its beginning, South Florida was inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Tequesta, Calusa, and Florida Seminole tribes. The Florida Seminole Tribe had settlements in what is now known as the Kendall and Tamiami areas. In accordance with the Indian removal act of 1830 under the administration of Andrew Jackson, the majority of Native Americans, who had not yet been forced out by early European settlers, were now required to relocate. This relocation of Native Americans allowed for new white development to move into the land.

Despite the unjustly forced removal of Native tribes from South Florida, the Florida Seminoles, although relocated to Oklahoma, still had 129 Seminoles living in Dade county in 1900. There stood Seminole Villages just west of the where there now stands Baptist Hospital and near the present-day intersection of SW 107th Ave and SW 80th Street in Miami Dade.

The area in South Florida known as “Kendall” was purchased by the Florida Land and Mortgage Company in 1833 and named for Henry John Broughton Kendall, a director of the company. Development of this area was slow during well into the 20th century but in 1903 Henry Flagler’s expansion of the railroad to the south Florida area began the development that would lead to current day Kendall as we know it.

In August of 1992, Kendall and the surrounding South Dade area were affected by at the time the costliest disaster in United States History. Hurricane Andrew made landfall near Homestead, Florida as a Category 5 hurricane and wreaked destruction across South Florida before moving onto southern Louisiana. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed following Andrew’s impact. Many Locals still remember the horror and trauma of what followed after the hurricane. Although South Florida has been impacted by many hurricanes after this, such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Irma, none have left such a large imprint on the memories of South Floridians; Many still panic whenever hurricanes are compared to the wrath of Hurricane Andrew as it had no mercy for the residents of South Florida.

As of March 2020, the current Crisis impacting South Florida is the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here in South Florida, the pandemic has disturbed the generally peaceful life in the Kendall area by prompting the closure of schools, shopping centers, and all businesses other than essentials. There have been curfews, and stay-at-home orders issued as well as guidelines to practice social distancing and wear masks in public places to slow the spread of the virus. This pandemic will create a mark in the history of not only Kendall but across countries around the world.

DEMOGRAPHICS

According to the demographics released from the Census Bureau in 2019, Kendall has a Total population of 75,371 residents. Of these residents approximately 63% identified as Hispanic or Latino, only 4% identified as Black or African American, and only 3% identified as Asian. The majority of residents in this area were between the ages of 18 and 65 years old with them making up 58.6% of the population.

Kendall residents mostly consist of white adults with a small family, the median age being 38 and 43 for males and females, respectively. This area is generally home to middle-class families with a median household income of $69,277 and the median property value at $337,400.

Biography of Luz Stella Rodriguez (a Kendall Resident)

Luz Stella Montenegro, now Rodriguez, was born on June 9th, 1948 in Colombia. She originally moved from Colombia at the age of 22 to Queens, NY and then moved to Kendall in the 1980s with her two daughters as a single mother. Currently, Luz lives alone in a townhouse in Kendall, FL and worked as an auto mortgage banker for many years and is now retired.

Luz’s Thoughts on Kendall:

Victoria: What is your favorite aspect of your neighborhood?

Luz: At my age, I find that I have all of my necessities close to me. I can go walking around the park near where I live and I can find many things to do on Kendall drive.

Victoria: Why did you decide to move to Kendall?

Luz: When I got divorced in the 80’s I wanted to live somewhere where I could raise my daughters well. I had a friend living down in Miami who took me to visit different places to live down here and I fell in love with my neighborhood in Kendall.

Victoria: what is your favorite thing to do in your area?

Luz: shopping around, going to the movie theaters and restaurants.

Victoria: what something negative about where you live?

Luz: I live on the corner of 137th ave and the young people around me love to race cars in my area at night and They make noises that keep me up!

LANDMARKS

Dadeland Mall

Dadeland mall is one of Miami’s largest enclosed shopping malls. The spans more than 1.4 million square feet and features more than 185 retail stores and restaurants. It is located between South Dixie Highway and the Palmetto Expressway and is connected to the Dadeland North Metro rail station. This mall attracts thousands of tourists each year to its stores such as Florida’s largest Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom. Customers are also attracted by Dadeland’s various eateries and local stores.

GREEN

TRANSPORTATION

FOOD

BUSINESSES

SUMMARY

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