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Coconut Grove [Broadband Recommended - Lots of Images]

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
COCONUT GROVE

Every Florida expatriate--when you tell him you just came back from Miami--will ask you: "Did you get to Coconut Grove?"

Coconut Grove sits startlingly close to an all-black neighborhood that lies immediately adjacent, to the west. This neighborhood is very picturesque and run down, and does a great rendition of Southern rural poverty: the tin roof and front porch version of Florida vernacular. I imagine Belle Glade must look like that.

About thirty-five years ago, artists and bohemians started moving into the area, attracted by the funky architecture and the low rents—a familiar story.

The area flourished, as the bohemians opened hip and trendy shops, eateries, bars and clubs, until there was quite a scene. In time the place became wildly popular: the place to go.

As is so often the case, big business started to take notice and launched initiatives to cash in on the cachet of the place.

First one chain store discreetly joined the mix, then another.

The place kept looking better and better as money poured in.

Then some of the funky architecture was replaced by neo-funky. Or purpose-built funky. Neat little strip malls.

There got to be a heavy-duty parking problem, so big parking garages started to go up, with multi-story malls to justify the cost of the parking structures. By this time, the place was a riot of Applebee's and Borders, The Gap and Starbuck's. Now they even have an Ann Taylor, and the transformation is complete.

Everyone is glitzy and middle class, they drive in from the surrounding residential suburbs for miles and miles around, there are fountains and jugglers and gaggles of middle-aged bikers and Sharper Image stores. Oh...you have a place like this in your city, too.

* * *

Coconut Grove is full of interesting things to look at, including parrots:



The middle-aged bikers have arrived. They can be found in the Hooters on the second level of the mall across the street.



The mall across the street. It also has an AMC multiplex and an amplified entertainer who sings John Lennon and Jimmy Buffett tunes:



People come here to cruise in their Jeeps, and to make out. Others just like to watch:



You can steal a little privacy in front of the White House/Black Market store…



…but not from the voyeur shutterbug:



Some folks look a little stressed. They forget they’re in laid-back Florida. They think they’re back home:



Cheesecake Factory and Gap—three hours of flying to end up where you came from:



The disguised garages have made it here from South Beach:



The yuppies with money moved into highrises. The two story commercial building represents the last phase of descent into mediocrity. This building is not even trying. It could be anywhere, and it would be regarded as second-rate anywhere:



Four shots of a guy on a bench who came to get an eyeful:









The man with the parrots. He will put one on your shoulder for a fee, and your companion can snap the shot:





“CocoWalk: Different Every Day”. Since they have to say it, you know it’s really the same every day.


* * *
 
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2020planner

Member
Messages
17
Points
1
cool photos... i feel like i have been to florida without ever having actually been there! bummed no cool shots of orchids. are they as common there as i think they are?
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
The Grove is a gorgeous place, but unfortunately, like you pointed out, it has become very commercial and touristy. Not just out of area tourist, but more of the suburban weekend tourist playing movie star. When I first got to Miami I would go to the Grove a lot, but soon found much better places. Lets see if you can find them! :) :) :)

*This is not to say that there are not still many great places left in the Grove. For example, did you hit Scotty’s on the Bay?

** and 2020Planner Miami is full of orchids as well as all sorts of wonderful flowers and plants.
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,223
Points
30
Sorry, I' think I'll steer clear. If it's not the corporate culture that turns me off (I hate Applebees, Gap, etc), but all the high-maintenance. Just look at some of those skimpy outfits and f-me pumps. You know somebody's paying a hefty price to maintain that crap. The parrots are cool, but who could hear them squawk above all the inane and annoying cell-phone conversations.
 
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