Miami in Miami Ineffable Miami: Pinecrest by Juliana Pereira

Hi! I am Juliana Pereira, an accounting student at Florida International University, also enrolled in the Honors College. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Daughter of two Brazilian immigrants. Although I’ve spent all 20 years of my life in Miami, I knew so little about my hometown. Fortunately, I had the spectacular opportunity of exploring Miami with new eyes this semester. Now I’m in love with this city more than ever!

The Village of Pinecrest

Geography + Infrastructure

The Village of Pinecrest is an incorporated municipality in Miami-Dade County since March 12, 1966. As shown in the map above, Pinecrest is mostly a residential area. Pinecrest has 8 public parks and recreational facilities. All Pinecrest businesses run along the Commercial Corridor, discussed later in this report.

One of the most efficient characteristics of Miami infrastructure is the numerical nomenclature of streets. Pinecrest continues to use that concept, but they have also honored significant historical figures by naming certain streets after them. Franz and Louise Scherr Street honors the founders of Parrot Jungle, Montgomery Drive is named after the founder of Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and Chapman Field Drive salutes World War I aviator Victor Emmanuel Chapman.

Demographics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pinecrest is home to approximately 19,000 residents in about 6,000 households. Most residents are between the age of 18 and 65. At 88%, majority of residents are White, while 46% of the population are Hispanics/Latinos. Of those residents 25 years or older, 96% have at least a high school degree and 64% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income is $152,000 a year.

History

In the early 1900s, Henry Flagler began construction on the Overseas Railroad down to the Florida Keys. The area that is now Pinecrest, was used as a staging area for this construction. After the completion of Flagler’s Railroad, a community began to form around the former staging site. In 1936, Parrot Jungle was established by Franz and Louise Scherr. The attraction became internationally well-known, tourists were coming from all over to visit. In the 1950s and 1960s, the area was developed into the backbone of today’s Pinecrest; ranch-style homes. Due to the rapid growth of the area, residents Evelyn Greer and Gary Matzner led a movement to incorporate the Village of Pinecrest. Greer was elected the first mayor, succeeded by Matzner after two terms.

Transportation

The most common form of transportation used by residents of Pinecrest are their own vehicles. Nevertheless, Pinecrest offers free public transportation via bus within the village –The Pinecrest People Mover. This service is mainly used by students commuting to and from school. The People Mover connects with the Miami-Dade Metrobus allowing for a passengers to be able to commute to other areas out of Pinecrest. The latest transportation service to be introduced is the Pinecrest FREEBEE. By downloading an app, users can request free rides within the village and to the metro rail station. FREEBEE vehicles are electrically-powered, therefor consistent with Pinecrest’s green eco-friendly ideals.

Green Spaces + Recreation

Pinecrest is committed to keeping their community green and sustainable. Pinecrest’s Green Action Plan calls for waste and energy reductions, eco-friendly cleaning and landscaping processes, and reduction of environmental impact. These policies are adopted by residents, schools, and businesses of Pinecrest. Not only do these efforts provide environmental benefits to the community, as well as economic benefits; cost reductions to taxpayers.

Whether it be in public parks, along the streets, and even on residential properties, Pinecrest has shown great dedication to its community forestry. The Arbor Day Foundation recognized The Village of Pinecrest as a Tree City USA for their accomplishment of lining the neighborhood’s streets with more than 10,000 trees.

Pinecrest’s Department of Parks and Recreation offers a wide range of programs throughout 8 parks and state-of-the-arts facilities. The programs include educational, artistic, and athletic classes for youth and adults, such as Italian lessons, piano lessons, archery lessons, fitness classes, and many more.

Pinecrest Gardens

Pinecrest Gardens, formerly known as Parrot Jungle, is a Cultural Arts Park dedicated to celebrate and preserve the botanical heritage of South Florida. The site is home to 3.3 acres of tropical hardwood hammock and over 1,000 species of rare exotic tropical plants. Pinecrest Gardens displays exhibitions of contemporary artworks, such as The hARTvest Project and The Cortada Projects. In addition to these permanent attractions, Pinecrest Gardens also hosts a plethora of events including markets, festivals, musical and theatrical performances, dance recitals.

Art + Landmarks

The Village of Pinecrest has partnered with several artist to create artworks to be displayed on the streets of the village, quite literally. One of Pinecrest’s most recent Public Art projects was Xavier Cortada’s Elevation Drive murals. The murals demonstrated the impact of rising sea levels. On the 2018 Pinecrest Sun Newsletter, Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano explained that, “the Village [partnered] with environmental artist Xavier Cortada on a participatory public art project to raise awareness and discussion of this important issue. The true purpose is to raise awareness—through art—and if a civil discourse ensues, then we will be better off as a community.”

Business + Food

Pinecrest Parkway (U.S. 1) — The Commercial Corridor

The U.S. Route 1 runs 2,377 miles north to south through the United States, connecting Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida. The portion of the route that runs along the Pinecrest area, is known as South Dixie Highway and Pinecrest Parkway. This major highway serves as the village’s main commercial corridor.

According to Eater Miami, these are a few essential Pinecrest Restaurants:

Keg South

“This hidden hole-in-the-wall is one of Pinecrest’s oldest established eateries. For more than 50 years sports bar Keg South has been serving judgment free American fare including burgers, wings, dawgs, fries, poppers and cold beers. Patrons come to watch the local sports on the jumbo screens, shoot some pool or to just hang out while enjoying their food despite the fact that it’s actually a little difficult to find. Once you figure out that you enter through the alley, you’ll never forget how to get there again.”

Captain’s Tavern

“Serving fresh daily caught local and worldwide seafood and house-made specialties for more than 20 years, owners Bill and Audrey Bowers have made Captain’s Tavern the go-to place in Pinecrest for seafood lovers. This modest and comfy establishment with custom built aquariums throughout strives to keep up with modern cuisine by using the newest and trending ingredients while staying true to its origins. Captain’s Tavern also has an extensive, award-winning wine list to enhance your meal as well as a fresh seafood market next door. And don’t miss its Tuesday Night special with two-for-one Maine Lobsters each weighing more than one pound each.”

Roasters’ N Toasters

“A Pinecrest staple since 1984, it offers patrons the true taste of a New York deli and serves as the original location of Roasters & Toasters, which now has three additional eateries in South Florida. At Roasters & Toasters you’ll find traditional New York style fare such as house-made bagels and schmears plus breakfast dishes including smoked fish platters, corned beef, pastrami and Reuben sandwiches, soups, wraps and larger plates like stuffed cabbage and meatloaf. Make sure to check out the Specialty Sandwiches’ Menu boasting bigger-than-your-mouth sammies like the West Side Story and Trifecta.”

Summary

The Village of Pinecrest is more than just a neighborhood, they are a family. A community that deeply cares about their environment and their efforts to improve are constantly recognized. The village’s governing council always thinking about their residents’ well-being. Pinecrest has beautiful and well-cared-for houses, parks, schools, and businesses. Their efforts to conserve nature, embrace culture, promote sustainability, and create awareness of issues differentiates The Village of Pinecrest from any other neighborhood I have visited in Miami.

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