Ineffable Miami: Doral by Victoria Carlucci

B I O G R A P H Y

(CC by 4. 0) Photo by Maria Pettus

Victoria Carlucci is a junior at the Honors College at Florida International University majoring in International Business and Management. Expecting to graduate in Spring 2021, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

She was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to Miami in 2017 to attend college. Since little, she has been passionate about traveling, coming from an Italian-Venezuelan family and raised with traditions from both nationalities, exploring new cultures and experience the diversity that the world has to offer has been her favorite plan.

G E O G R A P H Y

Map retrieved from Google Maps

The City of Doral is located in the north-central area of Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. Doral is neighbored on the west by the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, on the north by Medley, on the east by the Palmetto Expressway and the south by Sweetwater. This city is one mile away from the Miami International Airport and twelve miles from Downtown Miami. Doral, likewise, is close to areas such as Hialeah, Fontainebleau, Tamiami and Miami Springs.

Nowadays, this neighborhood contains numerous shops, well-known businesses, important corporations, headquarters, financial institutions, colleges and universities, and various public, charter and private schools awarded with the grade “A” status. All of these facts previously mentioned make the City of Doral appealing for investors, families, students, and employees. Doral is characterized by being host to more or less 150,000 people that work in this city. This city is in constant development, even though it’s relatively new compared to other neighborhoods, Doral is a fast-growing city.

H I S T O R Y

Alfred Kaskel. Photo by Anonxyz123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48315195

 In the late 1950s, Alfred Kaskel and his wife Doris, who were pioneers in the real estate field at the time, decided to buy 2400 acres of swampland, which was part of the Florida Everglades, with the purpose of building a golf course hotel in that piece of land. 

The name for the golf course hotel was made by combining both of their names, having, as a result, Doral as the name of this area. In 1962, the Kaskel couple opened the hotel, naming it “Doral Beach Hotel”. This hotel and country club was remarkable for its facilities, it included three golf courses and since the Kaskel couple also owned a hotel in Miami Beach, they offered transportation from the beach to the country club for its guests. This hotel and country club was the first structure built in the area of Doral and it soon became a popular hot spot for visitors.

In 1968, Alfred Kaskel passed away but his grandson, Bill Kaskel, continued his legacy and continue developing this city. In the 1980s, Bill established Doral Estates and a joint venture to build Doral Park. Even though this area started to have residents, Doral lacked facilities such as stores, schools and, parks. Many people started frequenting the area, but it was somehow inconvenient, amenities were something that the city of Doral had to work on at that time. In contrast, Doral had farms with cows, horses and chickens and traffic was nonexistent.

In the next years, from 1983 until 1985, Miami-Dade County imposed a building moratorium for the area which forbidden the construction of buildings in order to protect the fields. After the ban was lifted, the city continued growing and constructing more buildings, new roads, and landscaping the area.

The city of Doral was incorporated in January 2003, after 7 years of this effort, one of the main reasons was because residents of Doral were paying high prices for services received and the community wanted more services but at a fair price.

As the years went by, Doral kept on developing and growing, in 2012, Donald Trump bought the Doral hotel and country club for $150 million and changed its name to “Trump National Doral Golf Cub”. Doral is still growing at a rapid pace, transforming this area into more residences, businesses, buildings, schools, and universities.

D E M O G R A P H I C S

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of July 1st, 2018: there are 61,824 residents in the City of Doral. The ethnic composition of Doral’s population is composed of 84.2% Latino or Hispanic, 10.6% White, 2.2% African American, and 3.3% Asian. As for gender, 52.4% of the population is female and 47.6% of the population is male (“United States Census Bureau; City of Doral, Florida”).

The median age in Doral is 35 years, 34 years for males and 36 years for females. The median household income is S77,418 and the annual per capita income is $29,276. Doral has a huge percentage of residents from Latin America, from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Ecuador Therefore, 92% of the households with persons 5+ years old in Doral speak another language other than English at home (“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: City of Doral, Florida”).


Biography of Fernando (a Doral resident)

Fernando Gonzalez was born on May 16th, 1990, in Venezuela. He moved to the United States in September 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in Business Administration at Millennia Atlantic University. Since then he has been living and working in the city of Doral. Currently, Fernando works at Tracfone Wireless Inc, part of America Movil AMOV (NYSE), as an accounting analyst.

Fernando’s thoughts on Doral:

Victoria: What is your favorite aspect of the city?

Fernando: My favorite aspect about the city of Doral is that here, we have what I would call “the best of both worlds”, we are a small community or small city with more or less 50000 people without any crowded places or big density of population In the same place but at the same time we have the fun aspects that big cities have like places to go shopping, eateries, and recreation places that make this small city unique.

Victoria: What is your least favorite aspect of the city?

Fernando: If I have to mention my least favorite aspect of the city of Doral that would be the cost of living. Because of the demand, everything turns expensive, like housing prices, shopping, taxes. But I understand that in some cases it is because of the infrastructure and other factors like school ratings, that makes Doral be one of the most expensive cities in Florida.

Victoria: Do you enjoy living in Doral?

Fernando: Absolutely. I enjoy living in the city of Doral, as I previously mentioned, “we have the best of both worlds”. Even in the cultural aspect with the Latin influence in the cultural activities and how the society goes in the city, mixing that with the American culture making sure that everything works properly and following the rules.

Victoria: If you could change anything about Doral, what would it be?

Fernando: In my opinion, I would change or improve firstly, the Waste Management Center located in Medley, which is next to the city of Doral because it sometimes disturbs the community of Doral. Secondly, I would improve transportation, traffic congestion in this city is a problem and it could be solved by building more highways of implementing more public transportation.

-All in all, Fernando appreciates living in the city of Doral, he’s proud of the community and the beneficial aspect it has that that most of the people can live and work in the same city, but some consequences can come along with that in the long run as more traffic congestion, higher costs of living. For that reason, he considers that the city of Doral has to address all of their efforts to those aspects that can be threatening for this city. –

L A N D M A R K S

Doral Contemporary Art Museum

5775 NW 84th

This museum was built in 2016 by a group of “collectors, museologists, community leaders, entrepreneurs, artist, scholars and architects” (DORCAM). Its mission is to offer a vision that connects artists and audiences through the presentation of contemporary art, moreover, emphasizing on what it means to be a citizen of Doral and the world. This museum provides space for debate, critical thinking, dialogue and programs for all ages. Doral Contemporary Art Museum is a very unique place in the City of Doral that shows a good approach to art, architecture, visionary design, and technology innovation.

Miami-Dade Public Library SystemDoral Branch

8551 NW 53rd St a107

Opened on September 28th, 2000 with the purpose of providing the community of Doral a space for engagement and exchange of ideas, promoting literacy and learning, personal growth and countless opportunities. This library brings new technologies to the neighborhood and facilitates the access to information for Doral residents.

T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

According to Data USA, as of 2017, 80.5% of the population drive alone, 9.51% carpool, and 4.51% make use of public transit. The average commute time is 25.4 minutes and the average car ownership is 2 cars per household (“Doral, FL”).

The majority of the residents of Doral drive alone, but there are also many cars circulating in the city due to the people that commute every day to Doral either to work, study or any other reason.  

Doral offers public transportation for free with their Trolley System. Launched in February 2008, the Doral Transit System is a program that provides an intra-city circulator named the Doral Trolley. The purpose of this transit system is to relieve traffic congestion by reducing the people that make use of cars, increase transit ridership and balance parking shortages in the city.

Additionally, this service has some advantageous features, it’s free, provides residents transportation to different locations, and it is interconnected with other trolley and existing transit system such as the Metrorail.


Currently, the city operates four routes. Route 1 is called Cross-Town Connector or the Blue Route, Route 2 named Commercial/Metrorail or Yellow Route, Route 3 named Residential/Metrorail Connector or Green Route and Route 4 named FIU Connector or Purple Route. Those routes can take people to many destinations as Midtown Doral, Palmetto Metrorail Station, Doral Government Center, Downtown Doral, Miami Dade College West Campus, City Place Doral, Dolphin Mall, Miami International Mall, FIU – Engineering Campus and FIU – Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

GREEN

The City of Doral contains many parks where people can recreate themselves and do activities such as grills, picnics, exercise, fishing kayaking, play in different sports courts, kids can enjoy of the playgrounds and have a great time. Overall, there are several green places where residents can gather together and enjoy outdoor areas this city has to offer.

Downtown Doral Park

8395 NW 53rd St

Downtown Doral Park. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This green area is next to the City of Doral Government Center it was completed in 2012, is 3 acres and its located in the Downtown Doral Area. It’s an ideal place for family picnics or walkways, it includes children’s playground, picnic tables, walking/jogging path, and a large open lawn. This park is open from Monday through Sunday from 7:00 AM until sunset.


Doral Central Park

3000 NW 87th Ave


Doral Central Park. Photo by Tamanoeconomico – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Doral Central Park is the largest park in the city and hosts major events such as the Independence Day celebration. This park is 82 acres and located in the commercial area of Doral, bordered by the headquarters of Carnival Cruise Lines and the United States Southern Command. It counts with amenities like a 9- mile walking/jogging trail, exercise station, grills and picnic benches for rental. Doral Central Park opens Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 8 pm and from Saturday through Sunday from 7 am until sunset.


Doral Glades Park

7600 NW 98th Pl

Doral Glades Park it’s known for its Natural Preserve and the amenities it offers. This park is 25 acres and it counts with a 12 acres lake with Natural Preserve, a lighted Boardwalk and Nature trail around the lake, a viewing pier, fishing and kayaking activities, a themed playground, an open lawn, two tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a nature center with interactive nature exhibits, an e-library free to the community, indoor multipurpose rooms and an outdoor pavilion for rental. This park is opened from Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm and weekends from 8 am until sunset. The kayaking and fishing hours are from Monday through Sunday from park opening until Sunset

Doral Meadow Park

11555 NW 58th St

This park was built in 2006, is 14 acres and its amenities are ideal for sports fans. Doral Meadow Park offers a children playground, two soccer/football fields, two baseball fields, batting cages, bikeway access to trails and tails park and an exercise path. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm and on weekends from 8 am until sunset.

P L A C E S O F W O R S H I P

Chabad Jewish Center of Doral 

10181 NW 58th St #16

Chabad Jewish Center of Doral was established in 2006 by Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky, with the purpose of providing services for the community of this area. It is a convenient location for Jewish people residents of this area since before this center was created the closest possibility that they had to practice their religion was to commute to Miami Beach, Aventura or Kendall in order to attend services. There are Shabbos Services offered every Saturday morning and they celebrate Shabbat on Friday nights with the Rabbi.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

11691 NW 25th St

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This church was built in this area with the purpose of embracing the huge Catholic presence in Doral. Most of Doral’s residents come from Hispanic countries and most of them practice the Catholic religion in their own neighborhood. It was named after the Virgin of Guadalupe on September 1st, 2001. This church has more than 700 families registered, and it’s well known because it offers masses in different languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Metro Life Church 

10045 NW 19th St

Metro Life Church Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Founded in 1997, Metro Life Church was initiated by a Miami native, Steve Alessi and his wife Mary. This is a Christian ministry in the City of Doral where people can praise, and worship and experience services given by Pastors with relevant messages for their life.

F O O D

Since the City of Doral has many influences from different countries, in my opinion, these are my top three restaurants recommendations you have to go to.

Sabor Venezolano

10722 NW 74th St

Sabor Venezolano Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Most of Venezuelans in Miami live in Doral, if you want to try authentic Venezuelan food this is the place you must go. This restaurant is a small family business where you can enjoy Venezuelan cuisine. They are popular for their Arepas which are cornmeal flatbreads that can be stuffed with fillings like cheese, chicken, pulled meat, beans, plantains, eggs and can be either grilled, baked or fried. They have many more Venezuelan dishes like Empanadas, Tequeños and Cachapas but Arepas it’s their signature meal. You can also buy Venezuelan desserts like Quesillo (Flan), Spanish Swiss Roll and Arroz con Leche (rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and vanilla). As well, you can buy Venezuelan goodies like chocolates, candies, and snacks.

Trattoria Di Più

2475 NW 95th Ave #9

Trattoria Di Più Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This is a family business owned by an Italian-Venezuelan family recreating the typical Italian-style eating establishment. Their recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. They prepare authentic Italian cuisine and also sell Spaghetti, Ravioli and Pasta sauces from scratch and homemade. You can also build your own dish, deciding your spaghetti type, sauces and toppings. Their price range fluctuates between $7 and $15. Additionally, this restaurant has a beautiful lake view and environment that will make you feel in an authentic “Trattoria” in Italy. Whenever my family and I want to eat something similar to Nonna’s food this is our go to restaurant.

Monserrate

9545 NW 41st St

Monserrate Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Monserrate is a Colombian restaurant that is the closest to authentic Colombian food you can find in Doral. Their Meat Empanadas, Barbecues, Bandeja Paisa which is an authentic dish from Medellin and fresh juices are delightful. Their service is super quick, the waiters are really kind and the environment will make you feel at Colombia. Their price range varies from $6 and $14. 

B U S I N E S S E S

City Place Doral

8300 NW 36th St

City Place Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

The City Place is an incredible place where people can do many activities such as shopping, dining, play bowling, go to the movie theater and experience events. It’s the perfect location to hang out with friends and family. It offers different kinds of restaurants like Mexican, Peruvian, Argentinian, American, and Cuban. In addition, it has bakeries, coffee shops, and bars. City Place Doral also entertains with the bowling place, a hookah bar, a movie theater, a comedy club, and two art galleries.

Downtown Doral 

8300 NW 53rd St

Downtown Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Downtown Doral is a community that features stores, boutiques, convenience stores, and eateries. It’s adjacent to the Downtown Doral Park, so people can enjoy both when visiting. It has coffee shops and bars and offers a variety of gastronomic experiences like Cuban, American, Peruvian and Japanese food. Additionally, the Miami-Dade Public Library is located in Downtown Doral.

S U M M A R Y

Doral is the perfect definition of a multi-cultural city, people from many places choose this city not only because of its benefits but because it will make easier their transition to a new country since they can find some things about their country of origin in this city. Furthermore, there are not xenophobe acts towards the different cultures that wish to live in this city, Doral is described as a welcoming community for foreign people.

This relatively new city has a convenient location because it is located near the Miami International Airport and close to the Ronald Reagan Turnpike and Palmetto Expressway that can take you pretty much anywhere from Miami. Furthermore, this city has good statistics, such as that it was placed at #22 in Money Magazine’s list of top 50 cities to live in, it was named the fastest-growing city in Florida and 11th in the country by the Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center, it was recognized as the Best City in Florida for Business Start-ups by BusinessWeek and #2 of America’s Top 25 towns to live well for its cultural amenities, pro-business environments, and highly educated workforce by Forbes.com (City of Doral). To sum up, many factors make Doral so appealing not only to investors but to families as the ideal place to live.

The City of Doral is growing up fast and some aspects can be improved in order to keep on being a great community and city to live in. For instance, there should be more public transportation and more routes created. Currently, we can see many buildings and housing in construction which is advantageous but that can be a threat if that causes more traffic congestion, therefore expanding highways and roads could be beneficial in the long term.

I live in Doral since 2018 and I enjoy living here because this place has made my transition to a new country smoother because if I ever get to miss things about my home country, Venezuela, I can find most of them here. The location is pretty convenient, I can go to Miami Beach in less than 30 minutes or visit my family in Pembroke Pines or enjoy the Downtown Miami without suffering from the struggles that crowded cities like Brickell face. Also, Doral is really close to the Miami International Airport which is beneficial for me when I have to pick up family and friends or when I go to Venezuela.  

W O R K S C I T E D

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