Hello, everyone! My name is Nicole Patrick. In three words, I would describe myself as organized, kind, and determined. I am a senior at Florida International University and its Honors College studying Hospitality & Tourism Management with a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the subject. Born and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida, I did not venture much into Miami before FIU. Nevertheless, FIU has brought me to Miami and taught me the positives and negatives of South Florida. With taking Miami In Miami (2019-2020) and Art Society Conflict (2018-2019) with Professor John W Bailly, I have learned to see a location from what it is and to not be afraid to also criticize it. For my Ineffable Miami project, I chose to focus on the neighborhood of Allapattah. Learn more about Allapattah below.
Map of Allapattah. Each marker represents a border of Allapattah.
Allapattah, also known as Little Santo Domingo, is a Miami neighborhood located in East Miami-Dade County. It lies five miles east of Miami International Airport and less than a mile and a half from Downtown. It has an elevation of 10 feet above sea level. The neighborhood of Allapattah is surrounded by various highways and the Miami River: the Airport Expressway (SR 112) to the north, the Miami River and the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) to the south, I-95 to the east, and Northwest 27th Avenue (SR 9) to the west (“Allapattah”).
In close distance to the center of the City of Miami, Allapattah is a highly developed urbanized neighborhood with limited green spaces. Its streets consist of residential housing, businesses, and warehouses.
Allapattah is one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods. Its name is derived from the Seminole language word which means alligator (“Allapattah”).
The community began in 1856 and was an agricultural region in the early 20th century (“Allapattah – One Of Miami’s Fastest Growing Neighborhoods”). The neighborhood’s predominately white, Deep Southern culture ended in the late 1950s. At that time, Interstate Highway 95 was being built in Overtown, which displaced the large black population. Also, blacks living in Liberty City and Brownsville started migrating south to Allapattah (“Allapattah”). In the 1960s, Cubans began moving into the neighborhood as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Then, in the 1980s, the neighborhood became a magnet for Dominicans, Nicaraguans, and later Haitians (“Allapattah”). The large Dominican population characterized the region as Little Santo Domingo, after the capital of the Dominican Republic.
The federal government’s “war on poverty” in the 1960s, caused a growth in the size of the Miami government. Soon, institutions of the correction system, courts, and medical facilities were built in and around Allapattah. The quick addition of these facilities created more jobs in the neighborhood but also introduced byproducts of the rapid neighborhood and industrial change, such as homelessness (“Allapattah”).
In 1997, the City of Miami designated Allapattah as an Empowerment Zone (EZ) neighborhood to give special eligibility for grants and loans to small businesses in the area. Allapattah’s location offers an opportunity to further promote its community and economic development strategy through the development of affordable homeownership in the neighborhood (“Allapattah”). Allapattah’s housing stock has suffered from conversions of historic 1920s and 1930s single-family homes to rooming houses and un-permitted additions to existing housing units. Large concentrations of public housing and multi-family rental apartments have also hurt the surrounding residential areas, resulting in the gradual deterioration of the existing housing inventory (“Allapattah”).
However, there is a shift coming. The Miami Herald reported in 2015, “…home values in this working-class community are up nearly 24 percent, according to data collected by online real estate company Zillow. The Miami-Dade County average is 8.6 percent” (“Allapattah – One Of Miami’s Fastest Growing Neighborhoods”). This is due to its proximity to Miami International Airport, Downtown, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and other facilities (Dixon). Today, as you drive through Allapattah, you will see the tree-lined, residential streets and the diversity of its businesses and sounds.
Upon driving, the recommended method of transportation, into Allapattah, you will find countless streets lined with houses. The following data is from the “Allapattah, Miami, FL Demographics” page on AreaVibes Inc. The population of the neighborhood is 48,321, which means the population density is 8,905 residents per square mile. The majority of the population is between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. 1.1:1 is the male to female ratio in Allapattah. For the household income distribution, 29% makes $10,000-$25,000 per year, 23% makes $10,000 or less per year, and 20% makes $25,000-$40,000 per year. The cost of living in Allapattah is 7% lower than the Miami average (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Cost Of Living”).
Given Little Santo Domingo’s history of being a melting pot for immigrants of the Caribbean and Central America, the population is 71.2% Hispanic or Latino origin. 68.27% is white, 21.82% is black, 0.75% is Asian, 0.33% is Native American, 0.14% is Native Hawaiian, 0.77% is mixed race, and 7.93% is another race (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Demographics”). Allapattah has strong roots in Latino culture and it can be seen throughout the neighborhood.
Interview with Connor Green on April 15, 2020
Nicole: Please introduce yourself and your relation to Allapattah.
Connor: My great grandfather, Roy Kopstein was a pillar in the Allapattah community. He started Miami Waste Paper, a cardboard recycling plant on 14th Street, and hired many Haitians and Dominicans who had just arrived to Miami. He often bought his workers cars and houses, and he made sure they were well taken care of. I began working there at the age of 16, and quickly adapted to the fast-paced life of Allapattah. Seeing the rich cultural background of Allapattah awed me, and working with the industrious residents inspired me. Although I haven’t lived in Allapattah, it is a place I feel at home.
Nicole: How would you describe Allapattah?
Connor: [It is] Industrial, thrifty, [and a] melting pot of various cultures (Dominican, Haitian, etc.)
Nicole: How would you describe the residents of Allapattah?
Connor: Most of the residents of Allapattah are victims of gentrification and lack of governmental assistance, yet their perseverance and persistence has led to Allapattah becoming one of the more beautiful cultural hot spots in South Florida. The residents are often industrious, family oriented, and diverse.
Nicole: What is your favorite thing about Allapattah?
Connor: My favorite thing about Allapattah is the diversity of cultures and cuisine throughout [the neighborhood].
Nicole: What is your least favorite thing about Allapattah?
Connor: Due to poverty and underfunding for financial assistance and drug rehab, some people may resort to nefarious acts for a source of income. Crime would be my least favorite aspect.
Nicole: Where do you see Allapattah in five years?
Connor: I believe the physical aspects of Allapattah will become more developed and luxurious. The city will prosper, although the residents will receive little of it. Miami multi-millionaires are investing in massive projects throughout Allapattah, which will bring added revenue. However, only an elite few will see the fruits of these spoils. The residents may be pushed out by higher land prices and taxes, also known as gentrification. Hopefully, lawmakers will set in action agreements to not increase prices for current residents as to not cause unneeded displacement or homelessness.
1475 NW 12th Avenue
Halissee Hall is a neo-classical style home built from 1912-1918 by architect George L. Pfeiffer. The house was built for and owned by John Sewell who was a prominent early merchant and Miami’s third mayor (“Halissee Hall”). The Neo-Classical style is an eclectic revival of Georgian, Adam, early Classical Revival, and Greek Revival architectural styles (“Neo-Classical [1893-c. 1940]”). The house was built on the highest point in the city, and its name comes from the Seminole word for New Moon. It was one of Miami’s most prominent houses. In 1932, it was acquired by the University of Miami. Throughout the years, the University of Miami School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital grew up around the former estate (“Halissee Hall”). Halissee Hall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 (“Halissee Hall”). Today, you can find it in the midst of the large structures surrounding it.
1611 NW 12th Avenue
The Alamo is a Mediterranean Revival style hospital building that was built in 1916-1918 by architect August C. Geiger. This was the first hospital for the Miami City Hospital, which opened during the influenza epidemic of 1918. It is also Miami’s oldest surviving hospital building (“The Alamo”). At the time, it had 13 beds and a handful of employees (“Jackson’s Alamo Still Stands”). Its origin name is Miami City Hospital Building No. 1; however, the Spanish-inspired design resembled that of The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Thus, the building is referred to as The Alamo. Its Mediterranean Revival style defined Miami during the Boom of the 1920s. The style reflects the architectural influences of the Mediterranean coast: Italian, Byzantine, Moorish themes from southern Spain, and French (“Mediterranean Revival [1917-1930s]”). The Alamo was moved 476 feet to its current location in Allapattah in 1979 (“Jackson’s Alamo Still Stands”). In that same year, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, a museum of Jackson Memorial’s history is housed on the Alamo’s ground floor, with Jackson Health System’s Communication and Outreach Department on the second floor (“Jackson’s Alamo Still Stands”).
Corpus Christi Catholic Church
1779 NW 28th Street
Corpus Christi Catholic Church has been part of the inner-city community since 1941. Throughout the almost 80 years of its existence, the church has adapted with the different populations in the area. From the white population of the 1940s to the Cuban and Black community in the 1960s to the Dominican and Central American community in the 1980s, Corpus Christi Catholic Church has been there throughout it all. Since the area it serves is so large and most churchgoers do not have transportation, the church opened multiple missions. One of these being Mission Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Allapattah. The church offers many resources and opportunities for the blue collar population to solve humanitarian problems, such as free meals, donated clothes, and pathways to obtain legal status (“Our History”). Due to its leader Father José Luis Menéndez, the church has been able to bring the community together to slow the spread of gentrification, as they did in the 1990s with PortMiami wanting to convert homes into a storage area for trailers (Glasgow).
Gerry Curtis Park
1901 NW 24th Avenue
Gerry Curtis Park is located on the Southwest side of Allapattah. The park features after school programs, baseball fields, basketball courts, bathrooms, boat ramp, computers, football fields, parking, picnic tables, playground, racquetball court, recreation center, spring camp, stadium, summer camp, swimming lessons, swimming pool, teen programs, tennis courts, and winter camp (“Gerry Curtis Park”). Dogs are allowed at Gerry Curtis Park as long as they are on a leash. Gerry Curtis Park is heavily used by Allapattah’s residents due to its proximity to the Miami River (“The City of Miami”).
765 NW 36th Street
Moore Park is located in the Northeast corner of Allapattah. The park features after school programs, basketball courts, bathrooms, BBQs, bike racks, computers, dominos, football fields, outdoor gym equipment, parking, picnic tables, playground, recreation center, running track, shelter, spring camp, sports area (outdoor), stadium, summer camp, teen programs, tennis courts, winter camp, and youth programs. Dogs are allowed in Moore Park as long as they are on a leash (“Moore Park”). Moore Park is also the home of Orange Bowl Field at Moore Park, which opened in 2011 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Orange Bowl. It is a state-of-the-art facility that features a field turf, track, seating for up to 1,500 people, locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, air-conditioned press box, field lighting, and electronic scoreboard” (“Moore Park”). Then Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado stated at the opening, “Moore Park was an over-utilized and neglected park because of a lack of funds, but what the Orange Bowl Committee has done is given back to the community the place where the Orange Bowl all began.”
Juan Pablo Duarte Park
1776 NW 28th Street
Juan Pablo Duarte Park, or Duarte Park for short, is located in the center of Allapattah. The park features programs, such as after school, summer camp, winter camp, spring break camp, youth basketball, youth football, and free fitness classes. Duarte Park also has the following amenities: baseball fields, playground, computer lab, shelters, soccer fields, dominos, and basketball court (“Juan Pablo Duarte Park”). Due to the strong Dominican influence in Allapattah, the park is named after the Dominican writer, activist, poet, military leader, and liberal politician who was the foremost of the “founding fathers” of the Dominican Republic (“Juan Pablo Duarte”). The park is one of Allapattah’s favorite hangout spots for locals. Large trees and grass offer a peaceful retreat from the city, while a small outdoor gym area and jogging trails provide a scenic place to get in a quick workout. A children’s playground and splash pad make the park perfect for families and kid-friendly events, while the fields often host good-natured games of baseball that sports fans are sure to enjoy (“Experience Allapattah”).
Miami-Dade Department of Transportation’s Metrorail has three stations in Allapattah: Civic Center, Santa Clara, and Allapattah. The neighborhood also is home to Miami’s Civic Center Health District, which contains several medical institutions. The majority of the employees of these large institutions commute by the Metrorail (“Allapattah”).
The Metrorail provides residents of Allapattah with connections to many other areas in the city, such as Miami International Airport, Tri-Rail, Downtown, and Dadeland South to name a few. It was found that 11.5% of workers use public transportation to get to work (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Transportation”). To find the most updated prices, visit Transit Fares.
Another form of public transportation is the Metrobus. The buses connect from the Metrorail stations. In Civic Center station, buses 12, 32, 95, M, and 246 connect. In Santa Clara station, buses 12, 32, 95, and 246 connect. In Allapattah station, buses 12, 21, 36, J, 246 connect (“Metrobus System May 2019”). Additionally, there is a local stop service called the Route Miami Trolley Allapattah with the Metrobus. This service is provided by the City of Miami. It has multiple stops in Allapattah and out of the neighborhood. The stops are Curtis Park Sports Complex, Miami GSA Building, Miami-Dade College Medical Campus, Lindsey Hopkins Tech Ed Center, St. Agnes Rainbow Village, Culmer Center, Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover Station, and Arsht Center (“Metrobus Route Details”). It was found that 11.5% of workers use public transportation to get to work (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Transportation”). To find the most updated prices, visit Transit Fares.
Allapattah is located in the center of four major highways and roads: The Airport Expressway (SR 112), Dolphin Expressway (SR 836), I-95, and Northwest 27th Avenue (SR 9). This makes it very convenient for Allapattah residents to commute. 32.8% of workers commute to work takes 30 to 40 minutes (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Transportation”). Additionally, it was found that 70.8% of workers use cars and 10.2% carpool to get to work (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Transportation”). In an online survey, 66% of locals believe that a car is needed in Allapattah and 63% say that parking is easy in Allapattah (“Allapattah”). In reviewing the Metrobus System May 2019 map, these responses make sense because the Metrorail stations are located on the east side of Allapattah, which would require for residents living on the west side to commute over to utilize the Metrorail.
Walking or Biking
Another method of transportation in Allapattah is walking or biking. It was found that 4.5% of workers walk or bicycle to work (“Allapattah, Miami, FL Transportation”). In Allapattah, there are sidewalks. It is possible to walk to grocery stores (“Allapattah”). The issue with walking in Allapattah is the crime levels, which is more prevalent at night. 54% of locals say that the streets are well-lit. 62% of locals do not recommend to walk alone at night in Allapattah (“Allapattah”). This is a common recommendation in many Miami communities. However, Allapattah has many businesses within the neighborhood, which make it more convenient to residents to patronize in whatever method of transportation they choose.
In 1997, the City of Miami designated Allapattah as an Empowerment Zone (EZ) neighborhood, which means that small businesses in the area have special eligibility for grants and loans (“Allapattah”).
Papo Llega Y Pon
2928 NW 17th Avenue
Papo Llega Y Pon is a quick-serve sandwich shop in Allapattah that opened in 1978. Since its opening, it has used the same recipe for its two sandwiches: pan con lechón and pan con bistec (“Papo Llega Y Pon”). For each, you can choose from three different sizes. Papo Llega Y Pon’s largest sandwich is nearly two feet long and can serve up to four people. Its most famous sandwich is pan con lechon. Papo Llega Y Pon has been making more than 500 roasted pork sandwiches every day for more than 40 years (Caravia). All menu items are offered at a great price. When visiting, keep in mind that they do not take credit cards, so make sure to bring cash (“Experience Allapattah”). For the latest information about their hours, please give them a call at (305) 635-0137.
Club Típico Dominicano
1344 NW 36th Street
Opening its doors in 1985, this restaurant nightclub combo has “El ambiente más familiar en el Sur de la Florida” (“Club Típico Dominicano”). It is a family-owned business in Allapattah that was established by Dominican Republic native Luis De La Cruz. Now, De La Cruz’s daughter Jasmely D. Jackson is the co-owner of the business. Club Típico Dominicano offers a family-oriented atmosphere with a variety of reasonably priced Dominican dishes. The restaurant also has a dance floor in the center where residents and visitors love to show their moves and dance to the latest hits. As Jackson put it, “It’s a place for grandmothers and millennials and anything in between” (Caravia). Club Típico has also had top-notch performing artists perform. It was voted “Best Latin Club” in 2017 by the Miami New Times. For the latest information about their services, hours, and menu, please visit their website ClubTipicoDominicano.com.
3100 NW 17th Avenue
Nitin Bakery opened in 2001. It is known across Florida for its traditional Dominican cakes that can be made for any occasion (“Experience Allapattah”). In addition to cakes, they offer a variety of Dominican specialties, such as empanadas de yuca, yuca rellenas, and pan de agua Dominicano. Also, if you have a sweet tooth, they have an array of sweets and candies (“Nitin Bakery”). For the latest information about their cakes services, hours, and photos of cakes, please visit their website NitinBakery.com.
1603 NW 7th Avenue
Camillus House was established in 1980 by the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd (“Our History and Mission”). The initial intention was to feed Cuban exiles; however, its services expanded and spread to all the poor and homeless (“A System of Care”). Its services include Compassionate Healing (substance abuse and mental health treatment), Continuum of Housing (emergency, transitional, and permanent housing), Compassionate Hospitality (food, clothing, showers, outreach, case management, rent assistance), and Camillus Health Concern (sister organization providing health care services including adult primary care, pediatrics, and several specialties). Camillus House serves over 12,000 men, women and children on an annual basis with its 135 staff members (“A System of Care”). There are many ways to help and support Camillus House as shown on their website page “10 Ways You Can Help.”
Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique
2040 NW 7th Avenue
The Lotus House provides homeless women with security and opportunity. As an essential partner part of Lotus House, the Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique sells and accepts used goods (“Bunster”). The donated clothes and shoes ensure that the women and children of Lotus House will have their basic clothing needs met, and work attire for those on the work path. The donated household goods and furnishings help women and children prepare their new homes as they transition from Lotus House (“The Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique”). Additionally, Lotus House Thrift has employment programs for the women of the Lotus House. Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique is a real-life classroom for these women, giving them working experience (“The Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique”). Stop by, drop off, and shop for a great cause. Their hours and discounts can be found on its Facebook page: Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique @lotushouse.thrift.
1100 NW 23rd Street
Don and Mera Rubell began collecting art in 1965. The family moved to Miami in 1990, and in 1993, opened the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Art Foundation in Wynwood (“About Us”). The collection pioneered a new model for sharing private collections with the public and spurred the development of Wynwood as one of the leading arts and design districts in the U.S. The Rubell Family Collection changed its name to the Rubell Museum to make it more accessible to the public (“About Us”). Recently, in December 2019, the Rubell Museum expanded with the opening of a new 100,000 square-foot campus. The new museum features 53,000-square-feet of galleries all drawn from the family’s collection (“About Us”). In addition to expansive exhibit galleries, the museum has a garden beautifully landscaped with native Florida plants and offers multiple event spaces, including the most extensive art research library in South Florida (“Experience Allapattah”). The new museum is located in Allapattah, less than a mile from its previous home and a short walk from the Santa Clara Metrorail stop. For the most up-to-date information on hours and prices, visit RubellMuseum.org/Visit.
Allapattah is a neighborhood filled with many local businesses, resources, and cultural significances. The village has a great opportunity with its location and melting pot of culture. Something that is a growing problem is gentrification. With Wynwood becoming jam-packed with hipster businesses right across I-95, the big businesses and investors are starting to look towards Allapattah. As commercial real estate broker Carlos Fausto Miranda noted in the Miami.com article “Is Allapattah Miami’s Next Wynwood?”, “Allapattah is rapidly transitioning from an entire local unknown to a powerful buzzword in the business, investment, design, creative uses, and artistic community.” Many of us are familiar with the gentrification that took over the Wynwood neighborhood where families called Wynwood for years were bought out by investors. Allapattah is not there yet, but there are some signs that this is coming: the Rubell Museum moving from Wynwood to Allapattah and the construction of the River Landing Development. Additionally, driving through the village, one can notice how it differs so much from one end to the other, which can also play a fault in certain parts deteriorating. With home values rising quickly, soon the immigrant-driven neighborhood of Little Santo Domingo will be too expensive for the working class.
Allapattah offers many opportunities. We must continue to support the numerous local businesses located there because there is no other neighborhood with such healthcare facilities, human rights organizations, restaurants, and history. To quote Connor Green:
“Most of the residents of Allapattah are victims of gentrification and lack of governmental assistance, yet their perseverance and persistence has led to Allapattah becoming one of the more beautiful cultural hot spots in South Florida. The residents are often industrious, family oriented, and diverse…Hopefully, lawmakers will set in action agreements to not increase prices for current residents as to not cause unneeded displacement or homelessness” (2020).
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