I didn’t expect to love Miami when I went there the beginning of this December to visit my son, Troy, and his wife, Simone. The reason I didn’t blog about this trip sooner is because I’ve had no internet for almost 2 weeks.
I’d been to Miami in 1972 –protesting the Vietnam War at the Republican convention together with Vietnam Veterans– and thought “yuck.” But a lot’s happened to Miami since then plus Troy does have a way of putting together a visit to a city that makes things fun and beautiful. He did it for me and my grandkids a few years ago when we visited him in Chicago while he was shooting the series “Boss,” with Kelsey Grammer. We all fell in love with the city. Of course, it was in the summer. I had made films there but always in the winter.
This time, Troy was in Miami for a few weeks shooting an HBO series, “Ballers,” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and, again, he put together a wonderful series of visits to different parts of the city and South beach and I found it a sexy, sensuous, and arty with some fabulous places to eat.
I did tweet this photo a while back, but here I am with Dwayne on set. What an incredibly nice, humble, and impressive man he is. I watched a scene of Troy and Dwayne walking out of someone’s home. Troy looked so tall and handsome. I was so proud. Wish I could have taken more set photos but you’ll just have to wait for the show. Based on what I saw though, I’m sure HBO has another winner.
We ate in some fantastic places. The first dinner was in the brand new Matador Room, in the new Edition Hotel. It is the site of the former Seville Hotel which dates back to 1955. When they renovated, they kept the same quintessentially 50s deco chandelier that hung above the Seville restaurant for the Matador Room. The Edition is another property from Ian Schrager which I am told is bringing a new standard to Miami. I mean the place has an Ice Rink, Bowling Alley, and absolutely gorgeous pool.
Here’s a tequila cocktail I had at the Matador Room. Those are edible flowers, and it was the best tequila I’d ever tasted, called Ocho.
I took photos of the dinner but the only ones that came out were the desserts. Total yum!
There’s still a lot of deco to be found in Miami. One need only drive the main drag in the southern part of South Beach to see–all the old hotels
Deco Hotel style
This is the mansion that belonged to great designer Gianni Versace. He lived right on Ocean Drive. Gianni was my very sweet, generous friend.
This is the front of the mansion (currently a restaurant, I believe). Gianni was murdered on those steps by a violent stalker.
Troy really loves the Deco vibe at The Raleigh. It is also a favorite of Anthony Bourdain. It dates back to the 40s-50s and the deco style is still totally evident.
Lobby at the Raleigh
Raleigh outdoor bar.
Pool at the Raleigh.
We had a wonderful lunch at the W Hotel. These playful statues were at the entrance
The W’s pool.
Many South Beach hotels have great boardwalks and paths to the beach. I plan to go back in February and I will walk them all.
I had a delicious dinner of stone crabs at Joe’s, a famous South Beach landmark. I went with Richard’s lifelong friend, Kenny Vance, the famous doo wop singer, and his friend, Sandie Cauff. Sandie has lived in South Beach for more than 40 years.
Casa Tua was one of the most delicious and glamorous of all. This is part of their garden
Troy pointed out the frequent orchid plants that are attached somehow to tree trunks
I stayed at the Loews, right on the beach.
My room at the Lowes had an Ocean View.
View of the pool at the Lowes.
Another view from my room.
My favorite place for lunch was The Lido at the Standard Hotel. It juts out over the water looking west across the bay toward the city of Miami.
The Lido Bar and Grill at the Standard
The view from The Lido looking east towards South Beach.
Simone told me that Miami is the only American city founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle who is known as “the Mother of Miami” bought vast acres of land right off the Miami River. According to this Huffington Post Article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/12/julia-tuttle-miami-mother-of-miami_n_3262488.html despite the fact that there was was no bank, no newspaper, few homes and no hotel, Tuttle foresaw Miami as a great city that would became the center of trade for North and South America. She knew however that in order to do so the city would need a railroad. Tuttle was instrumental in convincing Henry Flagler to build the railroad through Miami and eventually gave him hundreds of acres of land to do so. Later Flagler brought the railroad down through to this southern most part of Florida when he realized that, with the completion of the Panama Canal, routes would be open to countless Latin and South Americans businessmen and traders.
As it turned out, my visit coincided with the start of the famous Art Basel week when artists and dealers (and buyers) from around the world converge on Miami. Needless to say, the city got very crowded but I also ran into friends and I did see some fascinating art.
We didn’t visit the main Art Basel exhibit, but we did visit some of the private collections.
Here is Troy at the Rubell Family Collection.
From the De La Cruz Collection
From the De La Cruz Collection
This enormous painting is from our visit to the Rubell Family Collection and is titled “Guernika”. like Picasso’s. The painter is Lucy Dodd, a New Yorker. I was fascinated by the combination of ingredients she used: Spanish hematite, Miami rain water and lavender oil, cochineal, kombucha SCOBY, Rota squid ink, earth from Monasterio de Suso, Aracena, Rio Tinto, la Aldea-Bejes and Guernika, chamomile and pomegranate from Segura de Leon, lichen from Sierra de Gata, yerba mate, Rio Tinto water, mica, spiraling, mixed pigments and Tyrian purple. I’m sorry that my picture doesn’t do justice to the massive work. Dodd, the artists, has a playful humor:behind the huge painting we found she’d placed this little tribute/shrine to Picasso, the source of her inspiration.
From The Rubell Family Collection
The Art Basel tents come and then go by the end of the week.
But in a section of Miami called Wynwood, there is graffiti art that is permanent.
We spent a good deal of time there.
This is an Argentinian Artist, who’s work Troy was familiar with, named Ever Siempre.
He was commissioned to do this mural.
. . . and then there was ‘arm graffiti’
It was a magical three days and I can’t wait to go back.
Wow, this must have been an amazing time for you. I’m happy you had a great time. It’s so funny that in that last picture you seem so serious and cute at the same time, so resembling that picture of you where you’re like two years old and drawing something on a board.
Melissa Rae Wilkeson
Thanks so much for sharing these pictures! It was 0 degrees here in Lexington, KY this morning (yes…ZERO) and now it’s up to a quite balmy 16 degrees. Seeing these beautiful pics of the sunshine and the beach have brightened my day! I lived two years in S. Florida when I studied at the Burt Reynolds Institute but I didn’t spend much time in Miami. I went to a couple of auditions there and did a production of ‘Private Lives’ in a suburb of Miami called Coconut Grove (I think). It’s a happening place! Very excited that the count-down has begun for ‘Grace & Frankie!’ Looking forward to it!
Thank you for sharing the photos of the Art Deco hotels, almost thought you’d taken pictures of some of the Art Deco hotels along Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica. Due to the recent tragic events in Paris, it reminds me of the importance of non-violent civil disobedience, I want to also thank you for your lifelong commitment to social change, from the Vietnam war through your advocacy of empowering women young and old. As for your comments about your son Troy, while he is far too handsome to be referred to as a “character” actor, it seems he has been building his career for the long haul by making wise choices instead of cashing in on his lineage then never to be heard from again until he appears on “Where Are They Now?”. Keep shinning Jane – Love ya!
That was so fun — loved the tour and seeing it through your eyes.
Jane, you can add “photographer” to your list of impressive endeavors and successes! I remember Miami from back in 1970’s as well, and things seem to have only changed for the better. Thanks for this tour of the best hotels and culture sites.
WOW! Wish I could’ve been there for the art! Miami is a busy place, always thriving with beauty of all kinds. Looks like some great places to feast and enjoy a cocktail. You are such a beauty!
Orchids are my all time favorite!!! They are air plants, and so can attach to whatever they like. If you buy one, take all of the crap they put in the pot out; at least that’s what I do. Then, when you water them, their exposed roots, you don’t have to worry about rot. Ghost orchids are my favorite. They are almost extinct, or were; they are protected now. I don’t have many things on my bucket list, but one of them is to see a ghost orchid in the wild. Look them up if you’d like; they have an amazing story 🙂
That First picture kinda creeped me out.
The art is interesting down there., though. Right now living in the frozen tundra of the Midwest and wishing I were down in the far southern sections of the US. Favorite picture is the view of the pool from above at Lowes.
Mark, I hear you!
Wow . . . lunch with Kenny Vance?! How I remember Jay and The Americans and especially the release of Cara Mia . . . I wore out the 45 way back when and now it’s on my iPod . . . how times have changed. *LOL*
Great pics of your travels around Miami, Jane!
is like traveling with you.Thank you ! 🙂
Loved reading your blog about Miami, my adopted hometown for 23 years. I really miss it, especially Miami Beach, SoBe (South Beach for short) and Lincoln Road Mall. I spent my vacations there in the 1960’s before moving to Miami in 1972. I really enjoyed the pictures you took there. Today Miami is much different than what it used to be in 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s.
Fantastic art! Amazing and beautiful! The graffiti art is definitely my favorite. I will have to put Wynwood on my places to see. Thank you for the tour!
And I will definitely be checking out Troy’s series.
Sorry to make a comment on your blog again, but I just found out I have Red Carpet Bleacher seats for the SAG Awards in a couple of weeks. I will be in town the day before and the day after the awards. We are of course brainstorming things to do. Are there any neighborhoods that sell local art work in the Los Angeles area? Or are there unique stores that you recommend? It can be on the outskirts of LA too.
Great blog Jane, thank you for your insightful descriptions and photos of Miami. As a travel professional I am saving this article for when our clients here on the west coast request travel information about Miami. Because of the large number of cruises leaving in and out of the Port of Miami, we have many clients requesting pre and post stays there. This is valuable information. Thank you.
I cann’t believe it – it’s unbelievable. My tablet does not love me. I got it last year and I have a lot of problems to write and submit the text – Now I wrote several variations because whenever I want to submit my text it puts me out of your webside.
Now I make my last try – it’s in the middle of the night and I have a meeting ( like every evening with the best personal trainer I ever had – with Jane).
I want to thank you for the wonderful pictures. You must know, that we have a lot of rain the last weeks. The sky is grey even so my skin looks pale and grey. I have no idea how the sun looks. Therefore, I very much enjoyed the pictures and now I’m able to travel in my mind – great!
We have a special relationship to Florida – because in September 9, 2001 we stayed in New York. 2 days later we spent the rest of our holidays in Florida.
We will never forget these days. And there was a song,, a song from Bette Midler for the firefighters – Beneath my wings.
All these thoughts came to me when I looked at the pictures.
With best wishes
In 1972, both the Democratic AND Republican conventions were held in Miami. I was a ten year-old living there, and it was quite exciting. I remember witnessing the many protests throughout the city. I returned in the early 80s, as a UM graduate. My student film was shot in what was then, the decaying South Beach area – so much has changed. 1988 was my last visit, and I am determined to see the city, once again.
Dearest Jane…….thank you for sharing this beautiful collection of images and notes on your time here in Miami. I moved here from the bustling city of NYC and it too some time to acclimate to this town……but once discovering all the vibrant color and rythmic pulse….it truly is intoxicating. Here is a poem I wrote a while back about a sunny day of love and splendor…..hope you enjoy….Lovingly, Max
Soothing Days of Blues and Yellow
Humor me with days of yellow
Sunny skies and bronzed skinned fellow
Laughing under the lemon tree
I look at you and you at me
Bananas dangling like jewels above
Falling deep in this tropical love
The warm wind blows across my skin
You call to me “the water’s cool….just get in”
I grab a yellow hibiscus flower
And run to you in this magical hour
Placing it behind your ear
Look at you….so happy here!
Drying off in weathered cabanas
Yellows and blues…the sounds of Havana
Tribal beats and rhythmic splendor
For you my love…total surrender
Songs soon fill this glorious day
As yellow canaries fly away
Sing to us one last time
For I am yours and you are mine.
Soothing days of blue and yellow
Jane, I’m so glad that you had an opportunity to revisit Miami and have a change of heart about it. It’s a great city. It’s changed a lot in the past forty years. But then, so have you! You’ve both gotten better. Best, Brian
0_0 ……………. LMFAOOOOOooooooooooo <3