Daily updates on what's up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami

Friday, August 01, 2014

Drum Circle's Karen Deilke, featured in #YouWowMe

The Coconut Grove Drum Circle will be out again this Saturday, August 2, as it is every first Saturday of the month. 

Photographer Liam Crotty, did a beautiful feature on Karen Deilke, founder of the Drum Circle as part of his series #YouWowMe. You can see that here.

Liam does a great job of explaining the concept of the Drum Circle and the feel, which to be honest, as he stats in his article, you have to experience it to really get the idea and feel.

This Saturday's Drum Circle is at the corner of Commodore Plaza and Grand Avenue, you can't miss (or hear) them. They usually go from about 8 pm to 11 pm.

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Making the Grove into SoHo

Word is going around town that a guy named George is buying up a lot of the Center Grove and wants to turn it (mostly Commodore Plaza) into Elizabeth Street, which is in the SoHo area of New York City. Not sure if that's good or bad, I guess if he can keep the flavor of the neighborhood and not destroy any of the low scale buildings, it could be nice. But there are always plans and they all seem to be just talk.

The plans for the Village West, to remake a six block area, which were revealed in 2008, are still at a standstill. A Publix was supposed to be anchoring that mixed use development by now.  So far it all sits without even a shovel hitting the ground. The good news in that area is that the Coconut Grove Collaborative and their partners, the Theodore Roosevelt Gibson Memorial Fund, the Pinnacle Housing Group, and Miami-Dade College through the Mitchell Wolfson, Sr. Foundation are moving fast on the Gibson Plaza project. So far, the only actual major construction being done on that end of town.

The PointeGroup still has not given the Collaborative permission to return the Nassau Daddy peacock to it's roost at Douglas and Grand. This was a source of pride for the community. It meant something to everyone. It was a landmark. At present, they are demanding that the plaque that is left on the cement stand be removed. They want no trace of the Bahamian roots of that part of Coconut Grove it almost feels like.
J.S. Rashid, president of the Coconut Grove Collaborative showed his disgust in a recent email regarding the plaque and peacock: "You can go forward in removing the plaque on the base in which the Nassau Daddy Sculpture was formerly placed on our behalf and I thank you. That would complete the eradication of a beloved icon cherish by the historic residents of Coconut Grove’s historic Bahamian enclave. I am certain that your cohorts will be gleeful at the removal of this vestige of heritage as they continue their economic bullying of our neighborhood. It unfortunate that you were made complicit in this shameful insensitive act. I’m disgusted with their repulsive action."I  find it sad that the Goombay Festival moved from it's roots on Grand Avenue to Peacock Park this year. I think in a few years, all traces of Coconut Grove's roots in Village West will be gone. A shotgun house here and there may be left as relics of a time gone by. 

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hardie Ave. Open House and Ice Cream Social

Miami Luxury Homes is holding an Open House, Ice Cream Social on Sunday, August 3. The open house is from noon to 3 pm at their new listing located at 4090 Hardie Avenue. Miami Scoops is providing the ice cream.

This charming, spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home situated on a vast corner lot on the prestigious Hardie Avenue in Coconut Grove is surrounded by multi-million dollar estates and is within walking distance of Merrie Christmas Park. This beautiful 1,918 square foot home boasts a Spanish-style kitchen, an oversized master bedroom and bathroom, a lovely dining room aligned with French doors and an enormous backyard large enough for an in-ground pool---perfect for entertaining. The house is listed at $895,000.

Michael Light is the Senior VP of Luxury Sales with Keller Williams Coral Gables and a proud resident of Coconut Grove. For all of your Coconut Grove real estate needs, contact Michael at 786-566-1700 or visit his website at www.MiamiLuxuryHomes.com.

Reach thousands of readers in the Grapevine Showplace Showcase. Pricing here.

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History repeats itself

I was thinking of the Grove Isle issue where the current residents don't want anything else built on the island.

What's interesting is that the residents who don't want anything built because of the noise, environment and blocking of views did just that back in the 1970s when mainland residents were against the development of the island, which was called Fair Isle at the time.

Grove Isle was built on a quite beach/jungle that once was a popular beach spot and beautiful vantage point. It was a wild little island off the coast and people were not happy at the time that a developer took it over and built the current structures that are there now.

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"Allegories for Time" exhibit at Arts Festival Gallery

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery is having a grand opening on Saturday, August 2 from 6 to 9 pm. "Allegories for Time," is an exhibition curated by Ramon Lopez of Fine Art and Services, Inc. The exhibit represents works by a select group of South Florida artists from very different backgrounds, all part of a cultural mosaic that is complex, yet harmonious.

About the Artists:
Juan Travieso - uses geometric shapes and swatch-like gradients that overlap extremely detailed endangered species.  

Amliv Sotomayor - delicately renders figures that appear to be dreams.  

Jose L. Telot - combines powder, plaster, paints, and resin to illustrate the power of symbols in abstract atmospheric settings.  

Patricia Suau - captures ephemeral beauty through mixed media drawings that seem to dance.  

Sydney Graham - captures the visual poetry of everyday happenings through playful color and light.  

Mwanel Pierre-Louis - boldly represents timeless ideals through contemporary techniques.  

Ray Lopez - conveys the relationship between history and religion through juxtaposition and symbols.

Through these works, the viewer will perceive a glimpse into these artists' expressions and their understanding of the world around them. Moments, ideas, messages, stories, all fleeting, but captured in allegories for time.

The Gallery is located at the Mayfair Atrium, by the John Angee sculptures shown above.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TREEmendous Miami Day

TREEmendous Miami was presented with  a Proclamation for their work in planting more than 25,000 trees with all volunteers in the past 16 years.

Accepting the award were, from left: Brit Steinhardt, John Cozza, Penny Lambeth, Joshua Kingston, Larry Shockman, Eleazar Delgado. Front: Sylver Penney and Sheffield MacIntyre. 

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Meet Alyse Aquino; ready to tutor in the Grove

The summer is closing in on us and the new school year is approaching. This time of year is very exciting for children as well as parents; getting the kids out of the house and out of their hair. In all honesty it is a time for transition, going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, following rules and getting their thinking caps on. For some students that transition period really affects their first marking period grades and can set an uneasy tone for the remainder of the year. But, have no fear because there is a new tutor in town, fresh out of college and student teaching that can help diminish or even eliminate that first month struggle almost all returning students go through. The photo above shows Alyse tutoring in New Orleans at a summer literacy program.

My name is Alyse Aquino and I am originally from Upstate New York. I just recently graduated from Le Moyne College with a B.S. in Psychology and a concentration in educated grades 1-6. I decided to pack my car and move down to Miami in order to broaden my horizons and seek new opportunities. I am very excited about being part of the Coconut Grove community and plan to be an active member. That being said I would like to reach out, offer my services and use my four year degree to help the children of the community succeed in their academic lives. 

The education system is forever undergoing change and the new common core curriculum is spreading throughout the country. The assignments and homework that students will start bringing home as early as first and second grade will start to look different if it hasn’t already. This is also where I plan to be an asset to The Grove. I am well versed and recently tested on all the new methodology. I believe in keeping things manageable, stress and anxiety free in order to give my students the opportunity to succeed at their highest potential.  

I aspire to be “The Tutor in The Grove” and get to know all the great families that reside here. If anyone has any questions or concerns they can email me or give me a call. I am interested in working with all students regardless of academic level, disabilities or gifts.

By Alyse Aquino

Email: aquinoam@lemoyne.edu
Phone: 315-420-3182

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Developer moves to change Grove Isle zoning

Due to the negative feelings over the proposed development changes on Grove Isle, the 4 Grove Isle Developer has presented an updated plan for the island. The alternative application fo the City of Miami asks that they rezone a portion of the island to allow for a 12 story tower which would be 168 feet in height.  The previous plan was 18 stories.

This would be asking the City to change the zoning to high density residential which must be done since the plans are not in keeping with Miami 21.  The rezoning portion is limited to the current footprint occupied by the hotel, restaurant and spa, which is three-acres. The remaining four acres, which includes the current tennis court and adjacent areas are not included in the rezoning request.

The developer has new drawings for the 12-story project being prepared at present. The new request for rezoning is a process which includes public hearings which I am sure will be well attended by the Grove Isle neighbors who are against any changes being done on the island.

The previous plan was overbearing and deemed harmful to the environment.

All of this begs the question: Is this spot zoning? That's what killed the 200 Bay Residences/Mercy plan years ago.

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Village Council Meeting tonight

The Village Council meets tonight, July 29, starting at 7 pm at the Frankie Shannon Rolle Center (3750 S. Dixie Highway).

On the agenda:
1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. House Keeping
    Roll call & Approve previous months Minutes
    Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
    Treasury and Budget Update
Bi Law amendment (Change in Vacancies & Candidates); 2ND Reading
3. Project updates:
Trolley Barn/CBA (Linda & Kate)
Crime Watch (Thad & Commander)
FPL Power Lines; Resolution proposal

*After Meeting Q/A always welcomed*

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Tweeting my way through an adventure

So over the weekend, I found out that my license decal was stolen, not the plate, but the decal part with the date on it. Rather than lose sleep over it, I decided to live tweet my adventure this morning. I had to file a police report and then get the new decal. I thought it would take half the day but I was pleasantly surprised to see it took less than an hour!

I went to the police sub-station here in the Grove and then to the Coral Gables tag agency. I then went back to the scene of where I think the crime was perpetrated. I wanted to see if I could figure out who did it. I took pics and made observations of the whole adventure on Twitter and people followed along. I used the hashtag #Tom.

It was fun, I may do another adventure soon.

My personal Twitter account is @Tomversation, you can see this morning's adventure there and the Grapevine Twitter is @GroveGrapevine if you would like to follow both.

Here's one of my tweets from today:

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Adopt-A-Plant Summer Party

The Nityananda Center is having an Adopt-A-Plant Summer Party on Saturday, August 2 at 6 pm.

Stop by, meet friends and pick up a medicinal plant. The party will have dancing and a dj and summer camp movies will be shown, there's food, too and an insight class preview.

The Nityananda Center is located at 2829 Bird Avenue, suite 10. For info: 786-333-1557.

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Free wifi coming to Coconut Grove?

Heard some good news at Tuesday's BID meeting -- the Grove is possibly getting free wifi for the district. The marketing committee approved it on Tuesday and now the main board needs to do so. But it should be a go ahead as it's a free service for everyone -- the users and the administration.

David Collins, BID director, and Manny Gonzalez who is now the BID director tried in 2012 to get the service, but not everyone was on board around town. Now they are ready to commit.

The group setting up the service, Blueweb Mobile Media works with stadiums and such and  now they are working with small towns, one that signed on in 2011 is Del Ray Beach, they had fits and starts and now they can't live without the service.

Buildings in the Grove will be fitted with dishes and the entire BID district will be wired and most probably areas extending outside the BID area who can catch the signal. The City Attorney looked over the plans and there are no obstacles, especially since it's free. Blueweb Mobile Media will make money through advertising. To get the service, you sign in on a specially set up web page and the ads are there. The service will run for 60 minutes and then cut a user off, all they have to do is sign on again, viewing the landing web page again.

The BID will have final say on the ads that are run, so something offensive or an event or business outside of the Grove, competing with the Grove, could easily be denied advertising space.

The service is secure and the only thing not allowed would be downloading music, but movies can even be watched using the service. The BID will sign a 10 year agreement, and after five years, they can opt out with 90 days notice if for some reason they feel like it isn't working out. Blueweb will maintain all the equipment and run the whole service. 

So all we need now is for the main BID Board to approve this. It makes no sense not to.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

When you could see the water

There was an argument going on in the comments section (isn't there always) about whether there was ever more of a water view in Coconut Grove. I don't know if people mean ever or in the past few decades. This photo above was making the rounds in social media this week, it was taken in Kennedy Park in 1978, it sort of looks like an ad or something, I vaguely remember it. But anyway, you can see the water and I'm not sure if that's Key Biscayne in the background or Grove Isle being built. But I think Grove Isle was done a year or so before.

I also remember being in Peacock Park in the 1980s, and the water's edge did not have any bushes or mangroves there, I remember you could go right up to the water. There were about three shelters, too; picnic tables with shelters, I believe they were blue. The baseball diamond backed up to that area, home plate was sort of against the water a bit. I remember them filming the Sally Field movie, "Absence of Malice, there at the baseball diamond. If you watch the movie, you can probably see the open water behind home plate. At least I think that's what I remember.

I believe the mangroves that are in all the Grove parks now were mitigation for something done by developers, tree removal or whatnot, just something that they needed to return to the city/Grove for some damage that they did in the 1990s. Not sure whose bright idea it was to block the water, but I'm betting they felt it would be protection from storms. Anyway, someone asked for photos, I only came up with the one above, but check "Absence of Malice" out and if someone wants to take some screen shots or send a video of just that section of the movie, we would all love to see it.

Below is just a cool photo of the Cape Florida lighthouse on Key Biscayne which many of us can see from the Grove's shoreline. It's from 1908, according to the text below the photo. It was constructed in 1825. 

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

FEAST Miami presents vegan pop-up diners

The first FEAST Miami (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) dinner will be held on Sunday, August 3, at 6 pm at Emerson Dorsch Gallery (151 NW 24th Street). FEAST Miami brings food and art together to create community. The meals-based micro-funding project consists of a series of vegan pop-up dinners at art venues to financially support new and emerging creative projects. 

A minimum donation of $60 per person is suggested, and diners may contribute more as the more funds are collected, the greater the award for the winning project. The meals will be prepared with organic and locally sourced foods by Chef Loren Pulitzer of Meals That Heal. 

The menu features healthy Japanese-inspired fare with some local produce donated by Urban Oasis Project/Verde Gardens. Ticket includes a delicious vegan and gluten-free dinner and dessert as well as drinks and donation. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at feastmiami.org. For more information, contact Meals That Heal at 786.281.0091.

In June, artists and small arts organizations were invited to present a simple proposal for an art project. A group of panelists will select five finalists to present their project at the first FEAST. The finalists for FEAST Miami #2 are the following: Lori Nozick - Sal Non Sal Miami; Justin Trieger - Buskerfest Miami 2014; Michelle Weinberg - Speech Patterns: Tiles with Texts for Small Public Spaces; Katie Wiegman  - On Board; and Hattie Mae Williams - Miami Sites Project.  The diners will vote for the project to be funded. The criteria for the projects are innovation, feasibility and impact on the community.

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Grove Rotary Club awards grant to Casa Valentina

Coconut Grove Rotary Foundation President Steve Carter, Danielle Fernandez and
Deborah Korge of Casa Valentina, Mayor Tomas Regalado,
 Grove Rotary Club President Don Kesler. Photo by Cynthis Seymour

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove Foundation awarded a grant of $1,600 to Casa Valentina, which provides housing accommodations and support services to at-risk youth who have aged out of the foster care system. The grant will go toward funding a professional evaluation of Casa Valentina’s Work: Connect initiative, which helps resident youths develop the skills necessary to find and retain employment.

The grant check was presented by President of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove Foundation Mr. Steve Carter accompanied by Mayor Tomas Regalado and Mr. Don Kesler, President of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove to Deborah D. Korge, Executive Director and Danielle Fernandez, Employment Coach, of Casa Valentina at a luncheon held at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Mayor Regalado noted that he was familiar with the formidable challenges facing aged-out foster youth, having seen it personally when he was a City Commissioner whose district included Shenandoah where several foster families resided.

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove provides service and financial support to initiatives within the community, as well as to various humanitarian projects in Colombia, Guatemala, and Bolivia through the Rotary International matching funds program. To date, The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove has funded after-school programs, youth sports for at-risk teens, health initiatives, and a Learn-to-Swim project for underprivileged youth.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Party like it's 1891 at The Barnacle

The Old Time Dance is back at the Barnacle on Sunday, July 27. 

Kick up your heels like it’s 1891! Dance contras, circles, squares and waltzes to Traditional American music. Picnics are welcome. No pets, please.

Gate opens at 6 pm. Music and dancing from 6:30-10 pm.

Admission: $10. Ages 9 and under free.

The Barnacle is at 3485 Main Highway. For info:  305-442-6866

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Indoor paddle boarding now at SUPtheworkout

SUPtheworkout has opened the first ever indoor stand up paddle (SUP) studio at 3096 Fuller Street.

Melina Cherry, founder, calls it "the ultimate total body strength and conditioning experience." 

The workout itself is done in a group setting in interval form. While half of the participants are on the SUP ergometers paddling, the other half is doing functional training and body weight exercises. The SUP Ergometer machine is the only one of its kind and allows for better fitness and strength than a board on the water. It is equipped with an adjustable shaft/paddle that allows you to replicate your own SUP board set up.

Stand up paddling is an activity that everyone, regardless of their fitness level can enjoy. Stand up paddling can be used to enhance strength, endurance, muscular and cardiovascular fitness, as a cross training method and as a complete workout. Although there is practically no impact, a stand up paddling workout can vary from a relaxing paddle to a high intensity workout. You can train to paddle and paddle to train in under an hour while burning up to 600 calories.

“I created SUPtheworkout to show that SUP can be more than just a relaxing water sport; it can be a great workout. On a personal level, it was also the only workout I could do after being in a major car accident that prohibited me from competing and training like I used to,” said Melina. “There are also no constraints like weather conditions, owning or transporting a paddle board, or how much time you will be on the water," continued Melinda, who moved to Florida 10 years ago from her native Greece.

She is an NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and Level 3 Certified PaddleFit instructor. While she was a living foods health educator, she specialized in detoxification and fasting programs. Prior to SUPtheWorkout. She was a national level NPC Figure competitor. 

The studio offers SUP indoor training as well as outdoor on the water experiences and can accommodate up to 12 participants. 

For more information, please contact 561.644.6873 or via email at info@suptheworkout.com.

The class schedule may change, but currently this is it:
Monday & Wednesday: 10:00 am, 6:15 pm, 7:15 pm
Tuesday & Thursday: noon, 6:15 pm, 7:15 pm
Friday: noon
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 am noon (outdoor paddle)

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LoKal opens for brunch starting next weekend

Coconut Grove is known for its weekend breakfasts and brunches, from one end of town to the other, there's something for everyone and now LoKal, the burger place, is getting into the mix. Starting next weekend, on Saturday, August 2, brunch will be served for the first time.

Laurie Grasty, general manager, told me that the crew had a run through last week, experimenting with the new menu and everything looks incredible.  What's nice about the menu is that it's different. It's not the same old eggs you're used to seeing, they've done quite a bit of experimenting and it all looks and sounds very delicious and as is the theme with LoKal it seems, they have a couple of twists and interesting tastes and mixtures on the menu.

The "Before One Brunch," on Saturdays and Sundays will be from 9 am to 1 pm. Like the GMO-free lunch and dinner menu, all the ingredients on the brunch menu are sourced locally. Everything is made from scratch by Chef Spider and they only use free-range chicken and cage-free eggs.

I had a peek at their brunch menu, it's quite interesting with starters like Homemade Pop Tarts, which are pop tarts filled with guava jelly and topped with their own frosting and dusted Fruit Loops ($3.50 each); there is also Blue Cheese and Fig Sausages ($3.00 each); Miami Smokers Bacon (two strips for $3.00); Avacado Fries served with creamy garlic and Sriracha ($6.00).

The main brunch menu consists of things like Redneck Breakfast Sandwich, which is Monterey Jack cheese on a toasted honey whole wheat bun topped with avocados, sliced tomato, Canadian Bacon, arugula and fried egg with sea salt and black pepper. It comes with fries and a can of PBR. ($11.00).

The Hangover Eggs is two eggs served over bacon, cut potatoes with cheddar and jack cheese, red peppers, jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream sauce & Sriracha-ketchup ($10.00); there is also Veggie Black Bean Tacos ($12.00), Chickn N Waffles ($14.00); Bagel and House Smoked Salmon ($14.00) and lots more.

And bring your dog, they are known for their dog friendly atmosphere, and on the menu is the Smoked Salmon and Brown Rice dish just for your pet ($5.00).

Beverages include a Red Eye Bloody Mary with Old Bay Rim; Shorty's Hard Lemonade; Strawberry OJ Mimosas and Florida OJ. And as for coffee, they only serve Panther Coffee, soon to be their new neighbor a couple of blocks away!

And if you still have room after breakfast, try the Fried Jon Dough which are fried waffles with homemade whipped cream, fresh berries, Luke's vanilla ice cream and cinnamon ($7.00) and Cappuccio, which is handmade with chocolate dipped spoons ($3.50).

LoKal is located at 3190 Commodore Plaza.

Photos courtesy of LoKal

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bianco; it's a step back in time

Carla, making peach gelato; Federico is ready to greet guests.
Jackie at the BID, has been talking about Bianco, the new gelato store, for quite a while now, she is so enamored with the place, that I told her the next time I saw her, it would probably be behind the counter at Bianco, scooping gelato. Well, I went over and met Federico and Carla di Franco, owners of the new place, and I returned to the BID and told Jackie, "I think I'm going to be standing next to you scooping gelato when they open!"

It's that great. They are that friendly. Bianco opens tomorrow, July 25 on Commodore Plaza.

Bianco is all natural, even the organic milk comes from cows that are grass fed! Gelato by nature has less fat than ice cream, only 8% or so and Bianco's gelato is hormone and GMO free. Federico's Italian family comes from a long history of gelato making and Carla's Italian family is associated with health and nutrition and the two combined to start something new right here in the Grove.

If you are allergic to dairy or are vegan, fear not, they have lots of dairy-free gelato flavors. All made right on the premises. Flavors will change daily. "Our gelato is light, tasty and guilt free," says Federico. And get this, all the fruit comes from the famous Robert Is Here!

Their idea is to make people feel as if they are on the French Riviera or St. Tropez, when they enter the store, just like the gelato, the atmosphere is light and airy.

This is Bianco's concept store, the di Francos would love to open other stores around Miami. 

Some of their creations include "Coconut Grove" which of course is coconut, there is Classic Belgium Chocolate, Tonga Vanilla, Fig and Blueberry, Himalayan Pink Salt Peanut Butter, Nut Milk and dozens more flavors. 

Piccolo (small) is $4.50 / Medio (medium) is $6.50 and Grande (large) is $8.00). 

There will be coffee, all types, American, espresso, etc.  and small bakery items, Affogato al Coffee (which is a gelato float in espresso), and for me, Frederico suggested a Brioche with gelato in the center. 

Something interesting is "Granita," it's lighter than gelato, but just as flavorful.  Perfect for summer. It's a slushy-type treat made with ice from natural mineral water, fresh seasonal fruits, coffee and/or almonds. 

With all the talk of changes in Coconut Grove, this is a trip backwards to a gentler time. It's a place where they know your name and they know their neighbors. They care about the Grove and their business and it shows. The location is the former Coconut Grove Flower Shop which started there in the 1940s and this feels like an old-fashioned gelato/ice cream place right in that historic space.

Bianco is located at 3137 Commodore Plaza. Their hours are Monday-Tuesday from 10 am to 9 pm and Wednesday through Sunday from 9 am to 10 pm. See you there!

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Venice and the Grove; it's about charm and scale

The story below about the changes in the Grove sort of remind me a bit of the news coming out of Venice, Italy, about people complaining about huge cruise ships taking over the waters of the ancient city. (Story here in Wall Street Journal). It seems to be a case of charm and scale in both places.

Many Hollywood celebrities have taken on this fight. They feel the ships tower over the highest structure in Venice and they take away the charm of the whole experience of Venice, calling it "senseless devastation."

They claim the ships are brushing up against the famed architecture. They call it a lack of respect. Some ships are more than 96,000 tons and are twice as long as St Mark’s Square. The church domes are dwarfed by the ships massive height. Sort of like a soccer stadium built right on our waterfront in downtown Miami.

This reminds me a bit of Key West where the once quiet streets are bombarded by cruise passengers now, Key West's assault is on foot after people leave the ships, in Venice, the actual ships in the waterways and historic canals is the problem. 

At least here in the Grove we don't have to worry about this type of activity. But who knows what's going on at our waterfront these days anyway. 


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Developers are killing the charm

I hear it from people daily: Coconut Grove is changing too much, they say that the development and constant property sales in Center Grove are going to push a lot of people out of the village. I am guessing that in five to 10 years, it will be one of the enclaves where only the very wealthy can afford to live. One major reason is that developers are coming in and buying out whomever will sell. Can you blame people for selling? I don't know. Each sale kills a little bit more of the charm.

I think if someone came to me and offered top dollar I would probably sell and then it would start the chain in my neighborhood where developers come in and take over.

Years ago with the Mercy Project (you can read it all here at "Mercy Project" or "300 Grove Residences") we all had joked in our neighborhood that if the Related Group came in and offered us top dollar to buy the land we live on, which is right next to the Mercy property and on prime waterfront, we would all sell out. And that was almost 10 years ago. Now it seems that everyone is selling. Selling or selling out? It's at the point where people want to leave before the ship sinks because when the new ship arises, it will all be different and not in a good way unless you're into Bal Harbour or Sunny Isles living and I assume you are not or you would be living in those towns now. You know, concrete jungles, rich enclaves, snooty neighbors who don't even know your name, most of them in and out of town for a week at a time, no roots or real quality of life for anyone.

Homes and land are being bought in Village West, but not where you would suspect on Grand Avenue, but more on the outskirts. New homes and townhouses are going in and they are surrounding the main streets like Grand Avenue and little by little as developers move closer to the center, the neighborhood will dramatically change.

Business owners in the Center Grove are all on edge, too, as properties are bought up, no one knows what's next. Some joke about the Grove turning into Mary Brickell Village, but they are not far off, if one or two people manage all the properties in the Grove, who is to say what they will decide to do with the properties?

As the new condos are built on South Bayshore Drive, new money, a lot of money, will be coming in. Good or bad? I do miss our quiet little village. I cringe when I see the construction cranes high above the current buildings, knowing that more buildings are going in, which will be purchased by wealthy foreigners, most just investing in Miami, not caring if it's in Coconut Grove or elsewhere. It's new, it's glass and chrome and it's on the water, that's all they need to know. I don't believe the charm, history and village life means nothing to them.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Woman's Club Cabaret starts this week

The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove is hosting a series of three Friday evening Cabaret Nights for with local musicians and entertainers on Friday July 25, August 22 and September 26.

On July 25 from 7:30 – 10:30 pm, "The Caberet Night" will feature music and entertainment by the popular musical group Epic Righteous Invincible Combo E.R.I.C  and friends, including Celeste Higgins, Rocky Lyons, John Holcombe and a special appearance by Bobby Ingram. There will be hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.  

The Katsikos Group, Inc is a Corporate Sponsor of the event. Tickets are now on sale: $20 in advance (Table of 10 $200) and $25 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at womansclubofcoconutgrove.com. For more information, call 305 446-2909.  

All proceeds benefit the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove, a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to enriching the Miami community through the promotion of public welfare, education, civic improvement, historic preservation and the advancement of the arts and culture while fostering good fellowship among its members.  

For more information on the Woman’s Club, email info@coconutgrovewomansclub.comor call 305-216-0626. 

The Woman's Club is located at 2985 South Bayshore Drive.

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The changes on Commodore Plaza

The street work looks like its going quite fast on Commodore Plaza and many of the large trees have been preserved. I was told that if a business calls up the City or County and states that they would like their trees preserved, they will be preserved. Unfortunately, there a businesses willing to see the trees be destroyed for whatever reason but for the most part, the canopy looks good. 

These large oaks in front of the Arts & Minds School are nice, but they're not the same as 80 year old shade trees. 
I never realized how ugly these buildings were before. Guess the former trees were hiding the facades.

I can't help think that the whole streetscape plan was tied in with all the sales going on in Coconut Grove. Too much change going on. Too few landowners now. One friend was told we'll be like New York's West Village soon. To be honest, it's all organic in the West Village. Old buildings were preserved there and so were the sidewalks and trees. You're walking on 200 year old sidewalks there. They don't dig them up and replace them every few years like we do here. Same with the trees. The West Village trees are old. And only one or two people don't own the West Village.

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