Since 1870 when 165 acres sold for 75¢/acre to grow cocoanuts, or when a plot of land was deeded to anyone willing to build a home on it in 1916, South Beach hasn’t changed so much as it’s evolved. In the southernmost section of Miami Beach and bordered on the north end by Indian Creek and Dade Boulevard, SoBe is rich with living history.
In the early 1900s, a 12-hour overnight cruise to Havana could be booked for as little as $2.00 one-way. Residents and developers brought back the Latin flavor to cosmopolitan cafes, restaurants, casinos— all of the above, combined with a carnival spirit, earned Miami the title ‘The American Riviera’ and Lincoln Road became known as the ‘Fifth Avenue of the South’.
Considering its link with the past and present, time capsules seem fitting for SoBe. So to mark the world premiere of “The Glenn Miller Story” —which opened in 3 theatres including the Miracle—it’s rumored one was buried as a publicity stunt by the lead actor, Jimmy Stewart, in front of a theatre on Lincoln Road.
And this past December during Art Basel, guests were invited to share anything reflecting Miami Beach life—from photos to original works of art, vintage menus or classic souvenirs—for the The Time Capsule 2029 project.
Not only did Miami Vice give us Don Johnson’s memorable fashion trends, it’s somewhat credited with a revitalization of the Art Deco area having been filmed on-location in the late 80s. Today the neighborhood’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places in America.
It all started in the early 30s when Brooklyn educated architect Henry Hohauser, best known for his work in the Nautical Moderne style, became one of the most prominent architects in the area. Strongly influenced by the 1933 World’s Fair and the Chrysler Building, some of his projects included the Cordozo, Colony, Century, Park Central and Essex House hotels.
In 1964 Jackie Gleason moved his television show to 1700 Washington Avenue and every week the show opened with these now famous words: “From the sun and fun capital of the world, Miami Beach, it’s The Jackie Gleason Show!”. For over 50 years The Jackie Gleason Theater has been a performance hall for contemporary entertainers and its Broadway series, and home to the city ballet— it even features a “walk of stars” outside the box office.
SoBe is famous for attracting sun-worshipers from all over the world and nightlife that’s a mix of Spanish, Cuban—and Hollywood. For today’s cuisine, check out Doraku Sushi and Ice Box Cafe where they serve on CB2 dinnerware.