My name is Annette Cruz. I am a sophomore enrolled in the Honors College at FIU and I am majoring in Elementary Education. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, with my entire family being Cuban. I love baking and taking on new DIY projects around my house, but I also love nature. I have been fortunate to partake in incredible experiences where I can be immersed in the environment. Ironically, I am allergic to the environment, yet I find myself feeling the most peaceful in the silence Mother Nature has to offer. I have been able to experience this through the FIU Honors College course “Miami in Miami,” taught by Professor John W. Bailly. I have been able to discover new parts of Miami I did not know about and rekindle myself with parts I did know about. Best of all, I am still continuing to discover the city of Miami.
Doral is found in the northwest area of Miami. Located about 1 mile from Miami International Airport from its eastern boundary, Doral is about a 30-minute drive to Miami Beach by taking the Dolphin Expressway. Within the last twenty years, Doral has undergone a transformation from farmlands to industrial capital and residential neighborhood. It is bustling with businesses and corporations, ranging from recognizable names, such as Carnival Cruises, to local, family-owned, Venezuelan restaurants. The urban landscape is
In the late 1950s, business magnates Alfred and Doris Kaskel bought acres of swampland, which was formerly a part of the Everglades, with the intention to build
, and country club (Staff, 1989). Alfred Kaskel created the name for the country club by combining his own name, Alfred, with his wife’s name, Doris, to form the name Doral (Staff, 1989). Being the area’s first structure, it quickly became a hot spot where guests had the opportunity to transition from the beach to a country club and golf course (City of Doral, n.d.). The Kaskels hosted the first Doral Open Invitational, Florida’s major PGA event (City of Doral, n.d.).
Unfortunately, Kaskel died in 1968 (Staff, 1989), but, this did not hinder the family name from continuing his success and pioneering spirit. Alfred and Doris’s grandson continued to develop the Doral area in the early 80s (City of Doral, n.d.). Their grandson developed Doral Estates followed by a joint venture that resulted in the construction of Doral Park (City of Doral, n.d.).
From the years of 1983 through 1985, Miami Dade County imposed a building moratorium
, which prohibited the development of buildings to protect the well fields (City of Doral, n.d.). However, individuals were eager to develop Doral. The unincorporated Doral area was considered the prime location for industrial business (re-invention of Doral, 2005). It “served as the industrial heart of the international trade community” (Marmon & Perkins, 2004). It grew into the largest office submarket known in Miami-Dade County (Marmon & Perkins, 2004). Once the moratorium was lifted, Doral experienced tremendous growth, transforming into the Doral many know today (City of Doral, n.d.). There was an “explosion of residential development” and families began flooding in (Marmon & Perkins, 2004). As a result, The West Dade Federation of Homeowner Associations was established to protect the community’s welfare (City of Doral, n.d.). A police station was built, higher development standards were implemented, more lighting was placed around the area, more roads were paved, and landscaping started to line the streets and buildings (City of Doral, n.d.). In 2012, the infamous Doral Country Club was purchased by Donald Trump for $150 million (City of Doral, n.d.). The Country Club’s name was changed, to what many know it as today, to the Trump National Doral Golf Club (City of Doral, n.d.). Through all of this development, Doral had a lengthy incorporation process. Incorporation to make Doral a city began in 1995 (City of Doral, n.d.). However, it was not incorporated until 2003 (City of Doral, n.d.).
Many residents living in Doral today are of Hispanic descent and immigrated to the neighborhood from their home country. Like many individuals living in Miami, these families were in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Not many residents know about the history of Doral, yet these residents are similar to their city’s founder. They were both immigrants, coming to the United States from their home country. These individuals and families should look to Alfred Kaskel as an example. With dedication and hard work, they too can achieve success.
Doral’s population is over 60,000 residents (United States Census Bureau, n.d.). Out of these residents, 6.9% are under 5 years old, 26.8% are under 18 years old, and 7.2% are 65 years old and older (United States Census Bureau, n.d.). Therefore, the majority of the Doral residents are between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. Females and males are about equal in Doral’s population (United States Census Bureau, n.d.). The median household income in Doral is over $77,000 and 12.2% of its residents are living in poverty (United States Census Bureau, n.d.). Doral is heavily rooted in its Hispanic/Latino cultural roots. Doral’s population is made up of 84.2% of individuals that identify as Hispanic or Latino (United States Census Bureau, n.d.). The city of Doral has come to be known by many as “Doralzuela,” a fusion of Doral and Venezuela. This sobriquet originated because of the large population of Venezuelan refugees that live in the area (Olasky, 2019). Doral has become a home and the heart of the Venezuelan community (Shirazi, 2019). The Venezuelan population in the United states tremendously increased between the years 2000 and 2017. The “number of Venezuelan-born residents increased from 93,000 to 421,000” during this time period and 52% of these individuals live in Florida (Osorio, 2019). Many Venezuelans have found themselves resettling in South Florida, primarily in the Doral area (Shirazi, 2019).
Gaby is a 20-year old Hispanic-American who currently attends college. I had the opportunity to interview her as one of Doral’s residents on her perspective of her neighborhood.
Question 1: Where are you from and how long have you lived in Doral?
“I was born and raised in Doral. Going on 20 years living in Doral and haven’t moved except for when I’m at school, which is in Fort Lauderdale.”
Question 2: What’s it like living in Doral?
“Living in Doral is like living in your own little town. You feel like you are in a completely different place when you are in Doral. You always feel welcomed when you go to the stores. There are various places in Doral that are very family oriented and have events for families to be able to come together and get to meet other families in their community.”
Question 3: What’s your favorite thing to do in Doral?
“My favorite thing to do in Doral is go to any community events that they have at Doral Central Park or at Morgan Levy Park. I always have a fun time with my family. I also love going to eat at my local Chick-fil-A whenever I have the chance.”
Question 4: Out of all Doral, what’s the best thing about it?
“The best thing about Doral is how close everything is to each other. Since Doral is not such a big place, you can easily get anywhere you want in about 10 minutes and easily have impromptu gatherings with friends that live close by.”
Question 5: Out of all Doral, what’s the worst thing about it?
“The worst thing about Doral has to be the traffic. During rush hour, it can easily take you about an hour or more to get anywhere because there are a lot more people that are working in Doral and the population is growing more and more each year.”
Doral’s landmarks have historical and cultural significance to the community. The most prominent landmark that is inconspicuously evident is the one that honors the founder of Doral, Alfred Kaskel. The name “Doral” in of itself is its own landmark that has been carried throughout the majority of the building names. Although residents may not know the history of Doral, they honor the founder every day.
Our lady of guadalupe church
This landmark is the primary Catholic church of Doral. The closest Catholic church to the Doral area in 1998 was in Miami Springs (Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, n.d). Due to the commute being too far, the community requested to have their own church in the neighborhood (Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, n.d.). The significance of this church in Doral is that the majority of Doral’s residents are Catholic (BestPlaces, n.d.) Moreover, many Venezuelans are Catholic, the main Hispanic culture in Doral. The pastor of the church is from Venezuela. The location of the church is also important. It is located in an area of Doral where not a lot of buildings surround it. This allows the church to host events for the community. The members of the church can arrive and not worry about impeding traffic.
Trump National Doral
The Trump National Doral was formerly known as the Doral Country Club, the first structure built by Alfred Kaskel in Doral. It is primarily known for two features: its luxurious design and golf courses. However, despite its location in a neighborhood that houses middle-class residents, it is built and designed for a targeted audience that is not primarily located in the Doral area. Therefore, The Trump National appears out of place as it is understood to cater towards wealthier individuals that do not reside in the area
. Furthermore, the Trump National is the most famous building in Doral. However, if guests want a break from the golf course and country club atmospheres to experience the stereotypical Miami, they will need to travel about 30 minutes to access Miami Beach.
Doral Contemporary Art Museum
The Doral Contemporary Art Museum is Doral’s best kept secret. The idea of this museum was created by a group of “collectors, museologists, community leaders, art dealers, industry entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, and architects” (DORCAM, n.d.). It is a unique space that highlights what it means to be in Doral and the world (DORCAM, n.d.). Through its architecture and pieces, the museum encourages “debate, critical thinking, and local-international dialogue” (DORCAM, n.d.). There are not many places like these in Doral or the surrounding area. This is the kind of place you would find in Wynwood, which is about 25 minutes away. Opening this museum in Doral, is an attempt to integrate and expand contemporary art within the neighborhoods of Miami.
Doral offers green, open spaces through parks and golf courses. There are nine parks located throughout the city and golf courses that can be accessed through Trump National Doral Miami and the Costa Del Sol Golf Club. Though the golf courses may only appeal to golf enthusiasts, the parks offer acres of green space that can be used for a range of purposes, ranging from recreational to exercises to meditation. The nine parks are tailored to offer different benefits within each one. It is evident that the parks are geared towards the community. Below are the parks that offer the most amenities.
Doral Glades Park
7600 NW 98 Place
This park measures at 25 acres (City of Doral, n.d.). It is geared towards the environmentally inclined, the individuals who thrive by being outdoors. Doral Glades Park offers a lake with a natural preserve and a trail bordering the lake (City of Doral, n.d.). Fishing and kayaking are outdoor activities that people can partake in (City of Doral, n.d.). For the children, there is a nature themed playground and a nature center where guests can interact with nature exhibits (City of Doral, n.d.).
Doral Meadow Park & Morgan Levy Park
11555 NW 58th Street & 5300 NW 102nd Avenue
These two parks are the sports-oriented parks. Between these two parks, residents and guests are offered soccer fields, football fields, baseball fields, batting cages, tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, fitness walking/jogging trails, and an exercise path (City of Doral, n.d.).
Trails & Tails Park
11645 NW 50th Street
This park measures 8 acres (City of Doral, n.d.). It is Doral’s first dog-friendly facility, housing dog play areas for both large and small dogs (City of Doral, n.d.). This park is equipped with doggy essentials, such as multiple wash stations and dog-friendly water fountains (City of Doral, n.d.). This is the ideal park for both dogs and humans to spend quality time in the sunshine.
The primary transportation in Doral, as it is in most neighborhoods of Miami, is cars. Although cars provide privacy
Another form of transportation within Doral is the use of bikes and scooters. This mode of transportation is used more by the residents, especially the people who live in gated communities. Bikes and scooters are used more for traveling short distances. Although this does eliminate some cars from the road and reduce car emissions, it is not significant enough to make a noticeable difference.
A third form of transportation within Doral is the Doral Trolley. This is a great way to get around Doral. It is inexpensive because the trolley is free to ride (City of Doral, n.d.). The trolley also offers four different routes that are specialized in its stops. For example, there are two routes that serve as Metrorail connectors. The trolley makes stops at a variety of locations, ranging from restaurants, shops, and parks. There is basically a route for anyone. Additionally, the Doral trolley makes it easy to plan your day because it offers an online trolley tracker and an app. The app offers tracking services, different route information, personalization features for preferred stops, and can show you where you are in relation to the stops. The Doral trolley is a common, affordable solution to everyday problems. It has the potential to reduce Doral traffic by eliminating the number of cars and can result in less car emissions.
Moderato is an Italian restaurant all about serving authentic Italian food. Inspired by childhood memories of family gatherings, the restaurant was created to reignite and honor the traditional dishes the owners once ate (Moderato, n.d.). The restaurant offers a wide array of dishes encompassing the essence of Italian cooking. They serve all kinds of traditional dishes, such as the classic pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven to creamy panna cotta that drips with tart, fresh berries.
HOLYSHAKES was established by Venezuelan owners that were in the food industry in Venezuela (HOLYSHAKES, n.d.). They wanted to start something new on their own and decided to elevate shakes into something extraordinary (HOLYSHAKES, n.d.). This is a unique place to grab a shake as a dessert. From a menu that offers classic shakes to their outrageous shakes to even building your own shake, you will certainly find a treat that calls your name. You can have your shake topped with a ball of cotton candy or chocolate donuts or even a gluten free chocolate chip cookie. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place to be.
El Arepazo is dedicated to serving traditional Venezuelan food, such as arepas and cachapas. One of the dishes you can try is the arepa sampler, serving six arepas stuffed with different meats and cheeses. From shredded beef to traditional guayanes cheese, you will find a Venezuelan delicacy that you love through these fillings. In a way, this eatery is meant to symbolize a home away from home for those that have fled Venezuela. Additionally, the website for this eatery is in Spanish, which makes it exclusive to Spanish speakers.
Doral is known for housing many large corporations and businesses. Two big names that you can find in Doral are Carnival Cruise Lines and Univision Communications Network. Many popular businesses are centralized in CityPlace Doral, which is the neighborhood mall that recently opened in 2017. Because of the plethora of stores, many gravitate to the mall for different businesses, such as clothing and markets. International Mall is another popular mall that attracts a lot of clientele. This mall receives more traffic from Miami locals from different neighborhoods than CityPlace. A lot of businesses that are found in Doral, outside of CityPlace and International Mall, are mainly franchises. Additionally, there are state and county businesses also located in Doral.
Kromya is a Panamanian store located in CityPlace Doral that combines color and design to create unique pieces (Kromya, n.d.). It was started by a family of artists and designers that studied color dynamics (Kromya, n.d.). You can find creative products that will give you a pop of color, such as a red mushroom funnel that turns inside out when needed. It can be a decorative mushroom in your kitchen or useful funnel when pouring liquids. They also offer jewelry and other daily products, such as umbrellas. The website details are in Spanish, but the tabs are in English, which can be confusing for some customers, especially those that don’t speak Spanish. As a whole, the concept of this business is creative and original, but many people may not know what the store is about at a first glance, which can be a disadvantage or an advantage. This can either draw people away from the store or it can attract people.
Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Licensing
The Florida Department of Agriculture is all about the environment, agriculture, and food, creating a safe relationship between people and environment. The Division of Licensing offers licensing from concealed weapons to private investigators. However, the Division of Licensing is placed in a random location. There are not a lot of state of Florida buildings in the area.
Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption & Protection Center
The Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption & Protection Center is dedicated to protecting animals and finding them a loving home. The center offers a variety of services for animals. People can either adopt a pet, get their pets spayed or neutered, or get their pets vaccinated, among a long list of other services (Miami-Dade County, n.d.).
As a whole, Doral is a great neighborhood. It maximizes its limited amount of space by intelligently utilizing its greenery and transportation. Each park is allocated enough space to
The trolley transportation offers a great solution for transportation. However, I believe many people are not utilizing it as they should. I attribute this to the closed, private society we have built. People rather travel independently. We live in our
Although there are many Venezuelan inspired eateries, Doral offers a variety of eateries that appeal to a variety of palates. You will surely find something you’re craving in Doral. Although the Doral population is overwhelmingly Hispanic, the food options bring inclusivity of other cultures into the neighborhood. It’s common to hear that food connects people. Restaurants in Doral connect cultures and people.
Businesses in Doral range in marketing styles as it houses all kinds of businesses, from unique, family owned businesses such as Kromya to state businesses. Although Doral continues to be industrially developed, Doral’s businesses have been able to expand to tailor the community’s needs. With the introduction CityPlace Doral, all kinds of businesses have been able to thrive even more.
Doral has grown to be a successful neighborhood. From farmlands, to industrial warehouses, to residential communities, Doral lives on with an ancestral history of developing success.
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