Category Archives: Local Interest

Tackling Trash in East Little Havana

About 5 years ago Corinna Moebius, cultural anthropologist, author and longtime Little Havana tour guide, noticed an increase in, well, trash. In the four previous years she had lived there, occasionally neighbors would put usable, unwanted household items on display prior to collection day, but it was a rare occurrence. As the recession escalated, the amount of discarded items seemed to spin out of control, she said. Unwanted sofas, tables, and television sets were making their way to the streets and vacant lots of East Little Havana. “What looked liked whole apartments” were being dumped on the sidewalk, says Sharif Salem, also a 9-year resident of the neighborhood, and photographer behind the Instagram photography series Sofas of Little Havana. Moebius and Salem’s beloved neighborhood was turning into an open-air dump. “There was no way the residents of East Little Havana themselves could dump so much,” Moebius recalls, which lead her to one conclusion — residents from neighboring areas had to be leaving their unwanted furniture here too.

According to the City of Miami’s Solid Waste Department’s website, bulky trash, including furniture, is collected once a week. Items can be left in front of your house the evening before the scheduled collection. There is also a Mini Dumping Facility located on NW 20 Street, which is cleared weekly.

So why would people choose to discard trash and furniture in Little Havana? Even after the city installed “No Dumping” signs, the problem persisted and grew. Week after week, East Little Havana locals found discarded sofas, chairs, and tables in empty lots in their community. It’s been five years, and nothing is changing. Personal and organized cleanups, while temporarily effective, are fruitless in the long run. Slapping a Band-Aid on a deep wound doesn’t cure anything, and the issue needs to be cleaned out at the source, Moebius said.

Read more at The New Tropic

Five things we learned on the Emerging City Bike Ride

Miami is an eclectic mix of different cultures, languages, foods, opinions, architectural styles, and colors. Even the smell of Little Havana is drastically different than that of South Beach. At any given point we can travel to Haiti, Cuba, or Argentina, without ever leaving the city.

Enter the Emerging New City Bike Tour, which aimed to highlight development projects in Coconut Grove and Little Havana, but was even more successful in showing outsiders a new insider’s view of this vibrant city.

Group leader Brian Lemmerman reminds us that there is so much more to a city than what people initially see, saying, “So many different people with so many different stories, so many different circumstances, places, histories, we could spend our entire lives learning” the truth behind Miami.

Almost 40 riders set out to learn more on Saturday afternoon. Starting at Bayfront Park, representatives from Celebrate Diversity Miami, The New Tropic, and Emerge Miami, as well as community-based partners from Coconut Grove’s Collaborative Development Corp. and Little Havana Tours, led us through a fascinating journey of Miami’s past and its future.

Read more at The New Tropic

Take in the view from these Miami Rooftops

Oh Miami, how lucky are we right now. The skies are blue, the clouds fluffy, sun is shining, the first taste of heat is in the air, but the daily afternoon rains are still a few weeks away. It’s the ultimate time to … chill on a roof!

Grab your friends, your hat, and your phone to blow up your Instagram and make your friends in the rest of the country jealous. Head to one of these fabulous Miami rooftops for an afternoon of sun or an evening of fun with some of the best views in town.

Read more at The New Tropic

Things to do when it Rains in Miami

A good rain in Miami is equivalent to a blizzard up north. Exciting for the locals, bummer for the tourists. Official rainy season lasts from June through September. Dark clouds swell to a breaking point and pound the city with short, intense bursts of cooling rain. Showers often hit hard in the late afternoon, lowering the temperature during the brutally hot summer months.

However, rainy days can occur at any time of year, so be prepared. Pack a colorful umbrella and a camera to capture the weather’s dramatic effect on the sky. Walk when you can. Miami traffic slows to a near-halt when the roads get glossy.

Here are five ways to make the most of your time when the rain falls in Miami:

Read more at MapQuest Travel

Things to do in Little Havana

Miami is a collection of neighborhoods representing many cultures, from Haitian to Argentine to Cuban, and beyond. Little Havana, a traditionally Cuban neighborhood, has developed into a melting pot of Latin American cultures. It still, however, keeps its Cuban vibe with cigar shops, Cuban restaurants and salsa-inspired dance clubs. Missing a tour of Little Havana would be the ice-cream sundae without the cherry on top — it’s an essential ingredient in Miami’s colorful platter of experiences.

Don’t Miss in Little Havana
Calle Ocho is the main drag in Little Havana, where you can find a Hollywood-esque Walk of Fame dedicated to Cuban stars like Celia Cruz. Be sure to check out Domino Park on SW 15th Ave., where locals gather to try their hand at dominos. Stroll to Memorial Boulevard on SW 13th Ave. to see the ceiba tree, a sacred symbol of life in the Santería religion. Take in a bit of history at the Bay of Pigs Museum, or enjoy a Cuban-style ice-cream at Azucar, with wild flavors like avocado, guava, or cafe con leche. Sip a mojito as you dance the night away at the historic Ball & Chain, a classic nightclub from the 1930s that has recently reinvented itself as a live music and salsa venue.

Must See/Do in Little Havana
Cultural Fridays, or Viérnes Culturales, take place the last Friday of every month from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Expect live music, open art galleries, and typical street food.

Parking and Transportation at Little Havana
There are several low-cost, even free, parking lots available around Calle Ocho. The bus is also an option as several lines run from Downtown to Little Havana.

Other Places to Visit Near Little Havana
No trip to Little Havana is complete without trying a cafecito, a typically strong Cuban coffee made for sharing. Jump on the Number 8 bus and head to Cafe Versailles for quite possibly the most famous cuban coffee in the city.

Insider Tip for Visitors to Little Havana
While significantly safer than in years past, it is important to be careful while wandering Little Havana, especially at night. Stay on the main drag and avoid East Little Havana, which begins east of SW 17th Ave.

Read more at MapQuest Travel