MIAMI BY MARTIN September 2008
A monthly column from Martin Crossland
to my newsletter!
Current Miami Temperature: 85°F 29°C balmy degrees
Current Miami Beach Surf Temperature: 86°F 30°C degrees
Tropical Storm Fay
Tropical Storm Fay brought
nothing more than a little bad weather on Monday to Miami Beach; unfortunately,
our neighbors on the central Atlantic coast were not as lucky. Areas like Port
St. Lucie and Melbourne experienced more than 30 inches of rainfall since Tuesday.
It slowly drifted north over Daytona Beach, entered the Atlantic and then veered
west crossing back into Florida by Jacksonville. It drenched the northern state
through Tallahassee and exited on the Gulf of Mexico. It then veered north west
and once again returned to the state along the panhandle, filling the storm
drains in Destin, Fort Walton and Pensacola. This is the first time on record
that a a single tropical storm has hit the state three times running.
Plum TV Miami Beach Newsletter
Miami Spice restaurant month in full swing.
The 7TH Annual Miami Spice Restaurant Month began August 1st and will run through
September 30th. This year a record, 108 of Miami's finest dining restaurants
are offering visitors and residents three-course lunches for $23 and three-course
dinners for $36 (excluding tax and gratuities). Featuring signature dishes created
by world-renowned chefs, Miami Spice Restaurant Month is a great time to discover
the tropical fusion of ingredients that makes Miami dining so wonderfully out
of the ordinary. For an up-to-the-minute list of participating restaurants,
menus, and special offers, visit: www.iLoveMiamiSpice.com.
hotel room occupancy and room rate reported for Miami for January through July
Record Hotel Room Occupancy and Room Rate was reported by Smith Travel Research
for Greater Miami and the Beaches for the January - July 2008 time period. For
the first seven months of 2008, Miami ranked #3 in Occupancy at 75.8% (up from
its #4 ranking for the same period in 2007), and ranked #2 in Average Daily
Room Rate at $172.73, according to the latest report issued by Smith Travel
Research, which compares and ranks the top 25 hotel markets in the United States
based on Occupancy and Average Daily Room Rates. Hotels saw revenue per room
grow 3.3 percent through June in Miami-Dade, where foreign visitors accounted
for 46 percent of the tourism market. Ana Vazquez, a student in Madrid, and
her boyfriend, Luis Hermosilla, who sells real estate there, soaked up the sun
on the rooftop Gansevoort pool deck on a recent afternoon in South Beach. Their
nightly rate: US$450. "With the euro, it's expensive," Hermosilla said in a
mix of English and Spanish. "But with the dollar, it's cheap." "This year, it's
a little surprise," said the hotel manager. "In the end of August, it looks
like all the hotels in Miami are full."
Construction delays have forced the Fontainebleau to postpone its reopening
by five weeks, with the debut of the redesigned resort now set for Oct. 18.
The decision to scrap the preliminary Sept. 6 ''soft opening'' will force groups
who booked conferences at the Miami Beach hotel to scramble their plans. Howard
Karawan, chief operating officer of Fontainebleau Resorts, said the hotel's
''grand opening'' -- including completion of its new oceanfront spa -- is still
scheduled for Nov. 14, to coincide with the filming of a Victoria's Secret television
BY DOUGLAS HANKS dhanks@MiamiHerald.com.
Currently, women who dare to be topless in public in the US are repeatedly being
arrested, fined, humiliated, criminalized. On Aug 23rd, 2008, topless women
will rally in great numbers across the USA to protest this gross inequality
in the law and will demand that they be granted the fundamental right to be
topless where men already enjoy that right according to the 14th amendment of
the Constitution. Our local rally was held at noon on Miami Beach at the corner
of 8th. Street and Ocean Drive in front of News Café and was a resounding success.
Ocean Drive Selected as One of 10 Great Streets in America
Planning Association (APA) announced today that Ocean Drive in Miami Beach has
been designated as one of 10 Great Streets for 2008 through APA's Great Places
in America program. APA selected Ocean Drive as one of 10 Great Streets in America
for its unique architectural legacy and pedestrian-oriented restoration. Miami
Beach's unmatched legacy of Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and Streamline
Moderne hotels, apartments, and other buildings - well over a thousand - was
built during the 1920s and 1930s. In the mid-1980s the Miami Beach planning
department developed a plan to redesign Ocean Drive, including rezoning the
area to mixed use; expanding sidewalks for outside tables and seating; creating
a 20-foot wide promenade and outdoor concert stage; and establishing a business
improvement district. www.planning.org/greatplaces.
Everyone knows South Florida is famous for its beaches and fun but not many
are aware that it is also an Olympic training field for some of Beijing's biggest
stars. Aside from the obvious near-perfect weather, its close proximity to the
Caribbean and Latin America allows Olympians, both American and international,
to train at sea level year-round. South Florida's Olympians include Dara
Torres of Parkland, Wellington show jumper Laura Kraut,
beach volleyball's Misty May-Treanor of Coral Springs and runners
Sanya Richards and Walter Dix. Plum
TV Miami Beach Newsletter.
EVERGLADES - Ravaged Everglades lodge may be reborn
Three years after it was severely damaged by hurricanes, Flamingo Lodge in the
Everglades will be demolished soon, and plans for its modernized rebirth are
in the works -- if funding can be found. The 50-year-old Flamingo Lodge will
be knocked down later this year. It's been closed since 2005, when hurricanes
Katrina and Wilma gutted it. The Flamingo Lodge, a landmark at the end of the
road in Everglades National Park for nearly a half century, will soon be history.
The rebuilding blueprint wouldn't exactly make Flamingo a five-star resort.
In fact, park rules require affordable prices with ''eco-tents'' expected to
go for about $60 a night and cottages from $125 to $150. For now, the plan calls
for Flamingo's looks to go back to its past with designs evoking cracker-style
structures that once dotted the area. The vision for the new Flamingo is a smaller
footprint with greener, sustainable buildings and more family-friendly activities.
From the late 1800s until the park opened in 1947, Flamingo was a small village
populated largely by fishermen, moon shiners and plume hunters.
CURTIS MORGAN cmorgan@MiamiHerald.com
are booking the most hotel rooms in the US this summer With the euro and other
foreign currencies trading favorably against the dollar, this summer is a good
time for international tourists to visit the U.S. So who's coming to America?
Recently, Booking.com www.booking.com - the Amsterdam-based international online
hotel reservation service that is part of priceline.com surveyed over 10,000
U.S. hotel reservations made by international tourists for this summer to find
out which countries were generating the most bookings to the U.S. Booking.com
operates in over 65 countries around the world and offers its services in 18
languages. Based on its recent survey, Booking.com created a list of the top
20 countries, in order, generating the most U.S. hotel bookings for Summer 2008.
The countries are:
#1 France; #2 Italy; #3 Spain; #4 Netherlands; #5 United Kingdom; #6 Germany;
#7 Brazil; #8 Canada; #9 Japan; #10 Mexico; #11 Switzerland; #12 Belgium; #13
Sweden; #14 Ireland; #15 Australia; #16 Denmark; #17 Venezuela; #18 Israel;
#19 China; #20 Austria. Booking.com also found that the French favored New York,
San Francisco, Miami Beach, Los Angeles and Boston for their summer trips.
Haulover Beach's nude stretch celebrates 17 years in the buff
No one at a Haulover Beach party last month seemed embarrassed
that nearly everyone showed up in the same outfit -- their birthday suit. The
party was on Day 2 of a three-part celebration of the 17th anniversary of Haulover's
establishment as a ''clothing-optional'' stretch of sand. It also marks a belated
observance of National Nude Recreation Week.
The activists who worked
to get Miami-Dade County to allow them to swim without swimsuits were out in
force to mark the occasion. ''We've seen so many people learn to enjoy the beach.
It really does feel good,'' said Shirley Mason, one of the early pioneers with
the group South Florida Free Beaches that brought nude bathing to Haulover in
Mason said she realized
the county needed a nude beach when a doctor told her husband that sun and salt
water may help treat his painful full-body psoriasis. But they had trouble finding
a place to go. After researching the law and working to raise awareness, Mason's
group succeeded in getting the county to designate several hundred yards of
Haulover Beach as clothing optional.
But after all her work,
on Saturday Mason was one of the only clothed people in sight. She said she
had too much organizing to do outside the beach for the party to relax in the
buff. Almost everyone else on the crowded beach was stripped down to bare skin,
lounging under umbrellas or soaking up rays for a line-free tan. A picnic, ice-cold
margaritas and even a kiosk offering therapeutic massages were all part of the
One reason for the friendly
atmosphere is people like Miami resident Ed Christin, who said he's been coming
to Haulover once a week since 2002. He hands out cards with nude beach etiquette
rules to people who are rude. ''It's OK to look at beauty, just don't stare,''
he said. Most people are too embarrassed to keep up their ogling once Christin
gives out a card, but he admits a few bad apples persist. Standing nude under
the broiling Florida sun, Christin sighed: ``Some people, they have no shame.''
BY ELY PORTILLO eportillo@MiamiHerald.com
EVENTS IN GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES
Miami Spice Restaurant Month
20th Century Spanish Drawings from the Fundación Mapfre Collection
Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian
9/3/08 - 9/5/08
La Cumbre, The Americas' Travel Industry Summit
The Children's Trust Family Expo
Wine on Harvest Moon presented by the South Florida Select BMW Dealers
9/13/08 - 9/14/08
Zephyrhills 'Dig the Beach' Volleyball National Championships
9/13/08 - 9/14/08
Miami Beach September Sports Series
Cauley Square Antique & Classic Car Show
9/23/08 - 1/25/09
The Eye of the Collector: Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka
9/24/08 - 9/26/08
IFE Americas - 11th Americas Food & Beverage Show
9/24/08 - 9/28/08
Disney On Ice - Mickey and Minnie Magical Journey
9/24/08 - 11/2/08
Nightmare: Ghost Stories
MORE GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES EVENTS,
September issue of Visit