I first visited Miami back in September 1979, when I flew Eastern Airlines L-1011 Tristar from New York JFK airport into Miami International. Since then I have been back many times for aviation related trips and family holidays. I was always fascinated by the mix of American and Caribbean culture and atmosphere. Along with the tropical weather and at that time the exotic Propliner fleet operating from the airport, it was the perfect holiday spot. My last visit was in November 2006 onboard Martinair Boeing 767. The main reason for this trip was to photograph the hardworking Propliner fleet at Opa-Locka airport. Additionally we visited the famous Miami South beach and captured the beauty of the nostalgic Art Deco district. Naturally we enjoyed Caribbean food and cold beers.
South Beach is a neighborhood of the city of Miami Beach, Florida, US. It is the area south of Indian Creek and encompasses roughly the southernmost 23 blocks of the main barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed, starting in the 1910s, thanks to the development efforts of Carl G. Fisher, the Lummus Brothers, John S. Collins, and others. The area has gone through numerous man-made and natural changes over the years, including a booming regional economy, increased tourism, and the 1926 hurricane, which consequently destroyed much of the area.
South Beach started as farmland. In 1870, Henry and Charles Lum purchased 165 acres (668,000 m²) for coconut farming, and his daughter Taylor named it "South Beach". Charles Lum built the first house on the beach in 1886. In 1894, the Lum brothers left the island, leaving control of the plantation to John Collins, who came to South Beach two years later to survey the land. He used the land for farming purposes, discovering fresh water and extending his parcel from 14th Street to 67th in 1907.
In 1912, Miami businessmen the Lummus Brothers acquired 400 acres (1.6 km²) of Collins' land in an effort to build an oceanfront city of modest single family residences. In 1913 Collins started construction of a bridge from Miami to Miami Beach. In 1920, the Miami Beach land boom began. South Beach's main streets (5th Street, Alton Road, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Ocean Drive) were all suitable for automobile traffic. In the 1930s, an architectural revolution came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Modern, and Nautical Modern architecture to the Beach. To this day, South Beach remains the world's largest collection of Streamline Modern Art Deco architecture.
In 1966, South Beach became even more famous when Jackie Gleason brought his weekly variety series, The Jackie Gleason Show to the area for taping. Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing through the 1980s, South Beach was used as a retirement community with most of its ocean-front hotels and apartment buildings filled with elderly people living on small, fixed incomes. In addition, televisions show Miami Vice used South Beach as a backdrop for much of its filming due to the area's raw and unique visual beauty. A somewhat recurring theme of early Miami Vice episodes was thugs and drug addicts barricading themselves in utterly run-down, almost ruin-like empty buildings.
In the late 1980s, a renaissance began in South Beach, with an influx of fashion industry professionals moving into the area. In both daytime and at nightfall, the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and hotels. The area is popular with both American and international tourists. South Beach has an active club and bar scene. It is host to more than 150 clubs and other venues, most of which close at 5 am. South Beach is one of the world's foremost locations for fashion shoots, making the Miami area the model shoot capital of the United States. Approximately 1500 models live in the area, with many more arriving during the prime fashion shooting season, October to March. Ocean Drive is the most popular place for shoots, but back streets are often used as well.
The southern end of the 10-mile-long barrier island of Miami Beach is home to the Art Deco National Historic District, the only location in the United States to be so designated. It is comprised of a few dozen hotels and apartment buildings built primarily in the 1930's. These buildings are soaring examples of pre-war modernism with characteristic rounded corners and geometric ornamentation. The highlight of the district is the strip of hotels along Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th street. The Art Deco District of Miami Beach which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was threatened in the 1960s and 70s when the South Beach area had become run down and crime ridden. The area, however, was revitalized beginning in the early 1980s thanks to the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and the newly-formed Miami Design Preservation League, which spearheaded a campaign to save and restore the historic Art Deco structures, especially those located along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue from about 6th to 23rd streets. Developers were eager to step in, and before long, the area was the place to be in Miami Beach. The result was the renovation of literally hundreds of buildings, especially local hotels and motels, which are among the most ornate Art Deco structures in the area.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia