SOUTH BEACH - GHETTO IN THE SUN!!

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    Feb 11, 2012 1:00 PM GMT
    Amazing documentary shown on March 24, 1974 on Miami's WPLG-TV. Shocking look at South Beach at its bottom in 1974. Quotes: "Tourists don't venture down to South Beach" (true back then as any tourists stayed upbeach). This is the first part of six - you can find the rest on Youtube with "Momma Lives on Miami Beach". Very rare driveby footage of Ocean Ave hotels (at 2:00) at their dearth in 1974. A decade later the slow takeoff roll had started with the stunning new show Miami Vice chiming in when it started in 1984.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P9RJcIWekA&feature=related
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    Feb 11, 2012 1:33 PM GMT
    Versace made South Beach famous.
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    Feb 11, 2012 2:55 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidVersace made South Beach famous.

    Actually before Versace it was Art Deco (and not meaning me). And TV programs like Jackie Gleason's weekly variety show broadcast from MB, and Miami Vice (actually mostly about the City of Miami, but with lots of color from nearby Miami Beach and its visually interesting South Beach section).

    Then there was college spring break every year. Though mostly centered in Fort Lauderdale until the city chased them away (the attraction at that time being that FtL had many small, inexpensive beach front hotels, unlike today), Spring breakers also went to South Beach.

    And Versace really wasn't there very long before he was murdered. His Mediterranean villa on Ocean Drive was impressive, but hard to see much behind its gated walls. The art deco hotels remain a bigger attraction for tourists, and people can actually stay in them, and use the bars and sidewalk cafes many offer.
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    Feb 11, 2012 3:30 PM GMT
    I thought the title was about the member here.. fitting title!icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
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    Feb 11, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    Indeed Art Deco - the clampdown in FLL came after the riotous 1985 Spring Break and coincidentally right about then I recall reading an article in USA Today about the resurgent Miami Beach. True that to Miami Vice which was a 1984 start but added sexiness to the stodgy old inage of Miami Beach. There is another Youtube video shot Jan 7, 1973 (according to the famous date and thermometer on SoBE) around 12th & Collins during the day (Youtube search - Miami 1973) and I swear I saw one couple under 40 in that two parter! Not surprising as the WPLJ documentary mentions that over 50% of the residents of South Beach are over 65! So starting in the mid 1980s it started to turn for Miami Beach but wasnt until when I started going annually starting in 1996 that things really picked up from what I recall. I usually stayed around the MidBeach (20th Street area) and I distinctly recollect staying in the old Maxim (now part of the trendy Catalina) on Collins in 1999 and sititng out on the front porch with a dozen seniors who lived in the Catalina/Maxim and were enjoying the late afternoon rays. Would chow down at Wolfies (RIP) along with the other seniors. I recollect they always brought a bin of pickles to your table (oh, I hate pickles!). That area back then was sketchy but cheap (I stayed in the then dumpy Townhouse mid March in 1997 and 1998 for $59 a nite and parked right in front of the hotel free!). I was thinking what a deal a half block from the beach. I mean there was some duct tape on the carpet and you had to let the shower water run a couple of minutes to get the brown out but I saw in my mind what it could become with the beautiful terrazzo floors and the glass block accented sunroom. Those were the days before the area gentrified. I remember my last mid March stay at Townhouse in 1998 (staying at the same time as about 8 or so hotties from the UMass baseball team I most definitely recall!) and they had a Travelodge sign downstairs where the Club Bond (is it still open?) entrance would eventually be and the deskperson told me they were going to become a Travelodge franchise soon. Never happened (I assume owners sold it) and it closed down to do the renovations to become today's Townhouse. Some musings from a long time MB vacationer on the Miami Beach transformation.
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    Feb 11, 2012 5:26 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    NJDewd said

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P9RJcIWekA&feature=related


    Interesting view of the non-existent beach when the video first starts. Since the beach replenishment project in the 1980s, I've felt that we have too much beach around here. You have to walk like 100 yards from when you first get on the beach until you get to the water!


    As Art Deco will tell you thats NOTHING compared to Wildwood! It is a serious quarter mile trek to the waterfront. Now that you mention it I will look at that aspect of the tape. Of course I have nothing really to compare to it as my first visit ever to MB was October 1995.
  • H2Oskier

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    Feb 11, 2012 5:29 PM GMT
    That was pretty sad to watch that first old woman who had family, but was living off the remaining $35 of her Social Security check. If that reporter didn't give her a hug and a bag of groceries after that interview, he must have had a heart of stone icon_cry.gif
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    Feb 11, 2012 5:42 PM GMT
    H2Oskier saidThat was pretty sad to watch that first old woman who had family, but was living off the remaining $35 of her Social Security check. If that reporter didn't give her a hug and a bag of groceries after that interview, he must have had a heart of stone icon_cry.gif


    I know thats what I was thinking. Her SS check was $135.30 or whatever the change was and she knew it by heart! Her rent when this was filmed in early 1974 was $100 a month for a one bedroom place in SoFi (South of Fifth) which had the largest concentration of seniors at that time, primarily Jewish. I watched all six parts last night and one dealt with the loneliness aspect. It was sad; the reporter started the segment by saying that one woman asked if he could just talk to her as she didnt have anyone to talk to since her husband passed away! And they interviewed others - close to tears - as they yearned for calls, visits from their children and grandchildren. This was the segment that showed the abundance of cats living in South Beach at the time, kept in alleys by food carrying seniors who wanted companionship in fleeting interactions, probably just visually and the couple arms length the cats would allow at best. So sad.
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    Feb 11, 2012 5:46 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said


    Was that a 21 jump street commercial? lol.


    Southbeach is awesome. Stayed there for a week in one of those Deco hotels a few years back and enjoyed the hell out of it.
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    Feb 11, 2012 6:02 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said


    Wow - when was that filmed? I assume they closed off Ocean Dr? LOL - it looks like the normal street scene shown in the 1974 clip and from page 52 of the book Im immersed in now: Old Miami Beach: A Case Study in Historic Preservation, July 1976-July 1980. That page 52 picture shows a deserted Ocean Ave. shot from the Carlyle looking south and I can see maybe a handful of vehicles and one person and a row of empty parking spots with meters standing sentry. Its an interesting book visiting in astonishing detail (with P&Ls of hotels and apartment houses and everything!) the nascent preservation movement started by Barbara Capitman of the Cardoza Hotel and Linda Polansky (one of the books authors along with H. Michael Raley) who took over the derelict Clay Hotel on November 10, 1979. The Clay was originally developed by N.B.T. Roney of Roney Plaza fame in 1925.
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    Feb 11, 2012 6:04 PM GMT
    sdgman said
    southbeach1500 said


    Was that a 21 jump street commercial? lol.


    Southbeach is awesome. Stayed there for a week in one of those Deco hotels a few years back and enjoyed the hell out of it.


    No, but the Latino is PHINE except, in Miami Beach, he is cavorting with the wrong sex!!
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    Feb 11, 2012 6:14 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    NJDewd said
    southbeach1500 said


    Wow - when was that filmed? I assume they closed off Ocean Dr? LOL - it looks like the normal street scene shown in the 1974 clip and from page 52 of the book Im immersed in now: Old Miami Beach: A Case Study in Historic Preservation, July 1976-July 1980. That page 52 picture shows a deserted Ocean Ave. shot from the Carlyle looking south and I can see maybe a handful of vehicles and one person and a row of empty parking spots with meters standing sentry. Its an interesting book visiting in astonishing detail (with P&Ls of hotels and apartment houses and everything!) the nascent preservation movement started by Barbara Capitman of the Cardoza Hotel and Linda Polansky (one of the books authors along with H. Michael Raley) who took over the derelict Clay Hotel on November 10, 1979. The Clay was originally developed by N.B.T. Roney of Roney Plaza fame in 1925.



    Filmed in 1988.

    The young lead is an actor named George Perez.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0673497/

    The Ocean Drive location is roughly in front of the Beacon Hotel between 7th and 8th street.

    The hotel shown is the Clay Hotel on Washington Avenue at Espanola Way. Reverse angle of the "Cameo" Theater marquee is at the same location.



    Wow SB if it was off season back then (Sept Oct Nov) maybe they didnt NEED to close off Ocean!!
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    Feb 11, 2012 6:25 PM GMT
    I remember my first visit, it was pretty desolate. That was probably in the very early 1990s. Went back around 1998-1999 and it was so much fun. That is when Liquid and Insomnia were open, and we stayed at the Penguin Hotel, enjoying breakfasts at its Front Porch restaurant.

    We went back in 2004 and the crowd seemed to have changed a lot. Many more straight people, tourists in stretch Hummers with the bass thumping...
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    Feb 11, 2012 6:31 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile saidI remember my first visit, it was pretty desolate. That was probably in the very early 1990s. Went back around 1998-1999 and it was so much fun. That is when Liquid and Insomnia were open, and we stayed at the Penguin Hotel, enjoying breakfasts at its Front Porch restaurant.

    We went back in 2004 and the crowd seemed to have changed a lot. Many more straight people, tourists in stretch Hummers with the bass thumping...


    Yeah, it changed around the Millenium. It became Hip and all the poseurs HAD to come. And also on the weekends you would get the YAHOOS (as I called them) from the mainland coming over and renting a room Friday and Sat nights - six or so to a room to split the cost - and going out to all the IN clubs. I remember passing lines of these clowns standing for an hour or more to get into the Club of the Moment and thinking "you tools!"
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    Feb 11, 2012 7:26 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    njmeanwhile saidI remember my first visit, it was pretty desolate. That was probably in the very early 1990s. Went back around 1998-1999 and it was so much fun. That is when Liquid and Insomnia were open, and we stayed at the Penguin Hotel, enjoying breakfasts at its Front Porch restaurant.


    The Penguin is still there, but the Front Porch Cafe has moved up the street to the "Z Ocean Hotel."



    Great soon there will be a Z Ocean Hotel and - I'm serious - a B Ocean Hotel which they are presently in the process of coverting the Continenetal Hotel now - will be reopened later this year..
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    Feb 11, 2012 7:51 PM GMT
    NJDewd saidIndeed Art Deco - the clampdown in FLL came after the riotous 1985 Spring Break and coincidentally right about then I recall reading an article in USA Today about the resurgent Miami Beach...

    Fort Lauderdale's senior citizens had been agitating to end Spring Break for years, because of all the traffic and other inconveniences it caused them. And as I recall some leading Evangelical preacher was railing against it, too, because of sex and underage drinking. When the clashes came there was a suspicion the City itself had stage-managed some of it, and certainly exploited it.

    But then the Law of Unintended Consequences stepped in. For a while FtL tourism sagged, due to no Spring Breakers and the bad image the City and nearby parts of south Florida acquired. A lot of the old, smaller Mom & Pop hotels suffered, and mega-developers made them offers they couldn't refuse, buying up adjoining low-income apartments & condos, as well. That's when the beach front skyscraper hotels started going up, that now define the Fort Lauderdale shoreline, and neighboring cities to the north & south.

    That change in landscape & economy chased out many of the older residents who had worked to end Spring Break. But there was yet another unintended consequence, that benefited gays.

    The developers went for the beach front property, but motels a few blocks from the shore were largely ignored. Just then in the late 1990s gays started migrating from South Beach, where they too, like the seniors, were being priced out of the market. The run-down and even closed Mom & Pops were renovated to become gay guest houses and resorts. And today you'll see them along North Birch Road and connecting streets, 2 and 3 blocks back from the FtL beach and in the shadow of these towering modern hotels bordering the shore.
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    Feb 11, 2012 7:57 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    NJDewd said
    No, but the Latino is PHINE except, in Miami Beach, he is cavorting with the wrong sex!!


    More on George Perez:

    http://www.cross.tv/profile/230321?go=blogs&action=show&id=8868&backpage=


    Thx SB - he is still looking PHINE to this day! OMG can you imagine getting a call to get on a plane the next morning to be in an Elton John video?!?!
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    Feb 11, 2012 8:10 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    NJDewd saidIndeed Art Deco - the clampdown in FLL came after the riotous 1985 Spring Break and coincidentally right about then I recall reading an article in USA Today about the resurgent Miami Beach...

    Fort Lauderdale's senior citizens had been agitating to end Spring Break for years, because of all the traffic and other inconveniences it caused them. And as I recall some leading Evangelical preacher was railing against it, too, because of sex and underage drinking. When the clashes came there was a suspicion the City itself had stage-managed some of it, and certainly exploited it.

    But then the Law of Unintended Consequences stepped in. For a while FtL tourism sagged, due to no Spring Breakers and the bad image the City and much of south Florida acquired. A lot of the old, smaller Mom & Pop hotels suffered, and mega-developers made them offers they couldn't refuse, buying up adjoining low-income apartments & condos, as well. That's when the beach front skyscraper hotels started going up, that now define the Fort Lauderdale shoreline, and neighboring cities to the north & south.

    That change in landscape & economy chased out many of the older residents who had worked to end Spring Break. But there was yet another unintended consequence, that benefited gays.

    The developers went for the beach front property, but motels a few blocks from the shore were largely ignored. Just then in the late 1990s gays started migrating from South Beach, where they too, like the seniors, were being priced out of the market. The run-down and even closed Mom & Pops were renovated to become gay guest houses and resorts. And today you'll see them along North Birch Road and connecting streets, 2 and 3 blocks back from the FtL beach and in the shadow of these towering modern hotels bordering the shore.


    Yes - and that correlates with the reawakening of the South Beach (nay, Miami Beach!) real estate market. So they moved upcoast and led to the FLL restart. I always drove around and walked a little and had something to eat in FLL (usually the day I flew back home as I often scheduled a late afternoon/early evening departure) when I made my SoFla sojourn. And that one day visitation started in 1996. I spent a lot more time there on business from 2005-08 and really saw the recent beachfront hi-rises like the W and Hilton and the TrumpET! On one of my trips I recall it being the night of Obama's upset win in Iowa it got down to 35 degrees! There was no heat in the motel and they had to bring in a portable heater that actually worked quite well. Art Deco, by the way, it was the old Blue Dolphin, now named the Ocean Gate as I found out last night looking it up in interest. It was 39 the next morning and overcast too with wind off the ocean. So I can say I saw Ft Lauderdale in upscale change the day hell froze over (which those seniors I bet many a time crowed)!!
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    Feb 11, 2012 8:16 PM GMT
    Here's a fuzzy phone pic at the Colony theatre on Lincoln Road in South Beach. A friend of ours wrote and directed this entire production, featuring the Miami Gay Men's Chorus, in May, 2010, even composing an original song for it.

    The scene here depicts that time in Miami Beach history when old ladies in floral dresses & muumuus ruled the sidewalks and owned the park benches, and ambulances were more plentiful than taxis on the streets.

    file-71.jpg

    18.JPG
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    Feb 11, 2012 8:23 PM GMT
    AD, I saw where the Lincoln Road Theater has been sold to a company that is converting it to retail use. BTW, one of the Youtube showings featured the Lincoln Road Mall in the early 70s when they had a tram car to move the primarily senior patrons around the LRM!
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    Feb 11, 2012 8:40 PM GMT
    NJDewd saidYes - and that correlates with the reawakening of the South Beach (nay, Miami Beach!) real estate market. So they moved upcoast and led to the FLL restart.

    When I first went to South Beach in 1973 (on motorcycle) it was really dumpy. The Art Deco District was in ruins and being torn down. (Also the first time I rode down to Key West, which likewise was very shabby and much less popular than today)

    But some community artists & activists began efforts to salvage the art deco heritage. And among these artists were gays, who'd always been there but kept a lower profile. The 1970s was when the gay rights movement began to really take off, and so all these things seemed to come together. Investment money was found, and as the art deco treasures were being saved from the wrecking ball and being renovated, so too an out gay culture began to develop and be seen.

    I wasn't part of it, in the Army and still in denial about myself. But I remember seeing that scene during my frequent trips to south Florida.

    In 1975 on my way to Key Biscayne I stopped on Virginia Key, which looked interesting to me, and decided to use the swim suit I kept tucked under my saddle, changing at a beach comfort station with showers. Later inside I got cruised by another naked guy as I showered afterwards, but I refused his advances.

    Back at my sister's home where I was staying I told her about this quiet beach I had found. "Virginia Key?" she said in a startled tone. "Don't you know that's only used by gay men?" suspicion evident in her voice. I think the first time I heard her use the word gay. "And they swim nude there, though it's illegal and they get arrested. Did you swim nude?" "Ah, no." But apparently my instincts were good even then. icon_cool.gif
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    Feb 11, 2012 8:44 PM GMT
    NJDewd saidAD, I saw where the Lincoln Road Theater has been sold to a company that is converting it to retail use. BTW, one of the Youtube showings featured the Lincoln Road Mall in the early 70s when they had a tram car to move the primarily senior patrons around the LRM!

    I didn't know that! I'll have to ask our friend about it, he's just moving up from Miami to Oakland Park, we'll see more of him now. Are you sure it's the Colony, and not the other theatre on the corner, called the Lincoln?

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    Feb 11, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    NJDewd saidAD, I saw where the Lincoln Road Theater has been sold to a company that is converting it to retail use. BTW, one of the Youtube showings featured the Lincoln Road Mall in the early 70s when they had a tram car to move the primarily senior patrons around the LRM!

    I didn't know that! I'll have to ask our friend about it, he's just moving up from Miami to Oakland Park, we'll see more of him now. Are you sure it's the Colony, and not the other theatre on the corner, called the Lincoln?

    Its the Lincoln for clarification
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    Feb 11, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    And heres the 1973 film (part 1 of 2) I mentioned earlier. Look familiar Art Deco?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5g33BPurnE&feature=related
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    Feb 11, 2012 10:58 PM GMT
    NJDewd said
    Art_Deco said
    NJDewd saidAD, I saw where the Lincoln Road Theater has been sold to a company that is converting it to retail use. BTW, one of the Youtube showings featured the Lincoln Road Mall in the early 70s when they had a tram car to move the primarily senior patrons around the LRM!

    I didn't know that! I'll have to ask our friend about it, he's just moving up from Miami to Oakland Park, we'll see more of him now. Are you sure it's the Colony, and not the other theatre on the corner, called the Lincoln?

    Its the Lincoln for clarification

    Well I hope the Colony will remain, if only because its size is just right for the Miami Gay Men's Chorus. They can have full or near full houses for several nights. And its limitations for live performances, in terms of staging and tech, aren't quite as critical for a men's chorus, which generally has less theatrical demands than some other forms of live entertainment, particularly with regards to sets.

    And then afterwards we all spill out onto Lincoln Mall, enjoying a nice after-theatre gathering, for a light meal and drinks at any number of places there. After the evening performance I pictured above I took the Director and some principles we know for an outdoor dinner nearby at the Van Dyke Cafe. These are the things that make me so in love with south Florida year round.

    van-dyke-building.jpg