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The Daily News of Coconut Grove, FL

Friday, May 22, 2015

From disco night to water habitat, they have it all!

Stop by The Grove Spot and check out their new menu and as usual, there's always something going on there.

On Friday, May 29, they are bringing back Biscayne Baby for the night with a 1980s-style disco party. DJ DonGato and guest DJ's will be spinning those '80s classics, feel the nostalgia, relive those Biscayne Baby days at the original location!

On Saturday, May 23, Salty Crackers performs live from 8 to 11 pm.

On Thursday, May 28, check out Marcello and Jeff, the Bolivian Folk Group performing live from 8 to 11 pm. 

On Wednesday, May 27, there will be a Water as Habitat Science Cafe called "Beneath Our Feet: Miami's Drinking Water" from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Join Dr. Virginia Walsh, hydrogeologist from Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, Troy Bernier, PhD Candidate in Florida Atlantic University’s Department of Geosciences, and Julia Wester, PhD Candidate in University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy as they explore where Miami gets its water from and concerns for the future. The event is free and open to the public.

There will be free appetizers and engaging conversations in a fun, casual atmosphere!

Thursday's are Pint Night, where you bring your own Grove Spot glass and get specials and of course there is brunch on Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm, with endless Mimosas.


The Grove Spot is located at 3324 Virginia Street. 

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The Duck Lane

Being more considerate to wildlife is the motive behind the duck lane which is a real thing in the United Kingdom. The Canal & River Trust is behind the lane.

I found this interesting in light of the fact that the BID and Bike Coconut Grove are trying to get a bicycle lane put on Main Highway. The petition here, has over 520 supporters now.

The rest of the duck lane story can be found here.

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There's always a full house at Bombay Darbar

We finally got to Bombay Darbar's new home on Florida Avenue, we stopped in for lunch the other day. At first there were only a few of us and then all of a sudden the place filled up and every table was taken inside and outside. They are drawing large crowds from the offices in the area.

The menu was the same, all of the delicious food they are known for. There is much more staff than at their former location, the kitchen and the floor are crawling with people who are very attentive to the customers.

The food is as delicious as ever. There was a time I would eat at Bombay Darbar two or three times a week, I think it's time I get back into that schedule.

People come in for lunch, they are served and they are gone. It's all run like clockwork.
Bombay Darbar is open for lunch Thursday through Sunday and I'm told that eventually they will be open for lunch seven days, but until they get settled, that is the schedule. Dinner is served six nights,they are closed Tuesday for dinner and lunch.


We had the usual chicken tikka masala and somosas and garlic naan. And a few other things. The day I was there it was my birthday so they gave us a special dessert and the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday, which was nice. As people left, they came to my table to wish me Happy Birthday again. It's a very friendly atmosphere and one waiter is nicer than the other. 


Here's Danny, the owner, surrounded by some of the staff. This is a small group, there are maybe four or five times more staff.

The new location for Bombay Darbar is 2901 Florida Avenue, you may call and make reservations at 305-444-7272.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grace Solares fundraiser at Berries in the Grove

Join Mayor Tomás Regalado, County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez and Host Committee Linda Carroll, Alejandro Vilarello, Maria Elena Prio, Christian Ulvert and Carlos Andrade, Luis Fernandez, Jose Quinon and William Pollak for a fundraiser To support Grace Solares for Miami City Commission, District 2.

The event is Wednesday May 27, from 6 to 8 pm at Berries in The Grove (2884 SW 27 Avenue). 

Please make checks payable to the Grace Solares Campaign. For campaign information contact Matt Williams at 305-798-9569 or Matt@GraceSolares.com for more info. Contributions of up to $1,000 may be accepted per person, business or corporate

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Wartime is the theme of this week's Bike Tour

The next Coconut Grove Bike Tour is Saturday, May 23. The free tour starts off at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive at 9:30 am and goes until noon.

Wartime Grove is the theme. Learn about Grovites and the roles they played at various times in US history including the bloody, unpopular Seminole Wars of the region in the mid 1800s, see Dinner Key's renowned Flying Aces of World War I and hear about the massive counterculture protests at Peacock Park during the Vietnam Conflict and how it all affected the Grove in their own particular way. Though it all, we'll discover these difficult times molded the true spirit, independance, and quirky character the district is famous for.

Be sure to bring sunblock, water and a bike! Advanced registration required here.

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Grove student wins 3rd place in writing competition

Local fifth grader Olga Rocio Rivas, shown here, has won third place in the national Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest with her piece entitled “America Believes.” Sponsored nationally by the American Immigration Council (AIC) and locally by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) South Florida Chapter, the contest encourages students to express why they are glad America is a nation of immigrants. This is the second year that South Florida’s regional winner has placed nationally, with Miami’s Charlotte Leigh taking the 2014 Grand Prize.

Olga is a student at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove. In recognition of her accomplishment, a flag will be flown over the US. Capitol in her honor, and her inspiring piece will be published in Skipping Stones Magazine.
Essays entered into the national competition were reviewed by a panel of judges.

Earlier this year, Olga won first place in the annual regional contest, which entered her piece in the national competition. Dozens of South Florida schools competed in the regional contest, which provides young students with the opportunity to express the importance of diversity, the challenges and benefits of immigration, and share their own personal immigration experience or family history in their own unique and individual voice.

Second and third place winners of the regional contest were also from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. Torivia Castro took second place with her "In The Land of Tomorrow" piece, while Alexandra Dominguez placed third with her "Untitled" entry. The three students will be honored at an upcoming AILA South Florida luncheon today, May 20, where they will each present their winning entries.

AILA South Florida encourages local schools and teachers to include this contest as they plan their curriculums for the upcoming school year.

“We congratulate Olga Rocio Rivas for her placing nationally in the Celebrate America contest with her wonderful piece on the importance of immigration to America,” said AILA South Florida President Jacob Ratzan. “Our local competition received an incredible number of wonderful and insightful entries, and it’s a remarkable honor to once again have South Florida represented among the national winners.”
To learn more about the national Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest, please visit celebrateamericawritingcontest.org.

AILA South Florida is one of the largest and most respected chapters of the national American Immigration Lawyers Association. AILA South Florida attorneys work hard to facilitate the administration of justice for immigrants in our legal system. Our membership is well-versed in all aspects of immigration law. We promote positive reforms in immigration and nationality laws, and our members elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy both in and outside of the courtroom. Learn more at ailasouthflorida.org.

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There is no urgent call or need to redo Main Highway

I attended the community meeting last night at City Hall regarding the County's flood water drainage project on Main Highway.  As most know by this point, the county plans to dig up Main Highway from Johnny Rockets to Calamari over a seven month period in six phases to install new drainage pipes as well as a filtering holding tank that will keep plastic and debris from exiting to the bay.  

The result of this project will be one way traffic on Main Highway (northbound only) until it is complete which could cripple local business in the Grove and create danger and congestion on the small back streets of the South and West Grove as commuters look for short cuts to avoid Main.

The meeting last night was the classic case of the City deflecting the concern of the neighbors toward the County who is running this project.  However, our Commissioner should be working in concert with the county from the very beginning to make sure that the interests of the residents are well represented.  

It seems the main debate last night was over what flavor of major construction we would end up with.  Choose A or B.  Bike lane or no bike lane.  Extra sidewalks or not.  In my opinion, however, and that of many others voicing concern, the main question should not be what bells and whistles we want on the drainage project, but rather whether or not the massive project should happen in the first place.

A few key questions were asked last night that revealed that the testing and planning have all focused on what the new drainage capacity will be.  However, there has been NO testing as to the capacity and function of the current system.  The entire plan has been brought about over a few complaints of puddles and some photos.  For a project of this size that will disrupt the livelihood of business and the quality of life of residents, proper testing should be done to determine if there is a problem that really needs addressing in this way.  Anecdotal complaints are not enough.  In fact, Mr. Barrios from the county finally admitted that the project is a pre-emptive strike to avoid a failure of the system in the future.  So there actually is no urgent call or need for this total replacement to take place.

The only standing water I see after a major rain is against the curb in a few places where there is no actual drain.  This is not a problem of pipes, but rather of grading, or poorly placed drains.  I imagine this could be spot fixed without tearing up the entire roadway for nine months.

While a bike lane would be nice, I do not know if it is worth losing the center turn lane on Main hwy which definitely helps keep the flow flowing.  However, the bike lane shouldn't be the main conversation.  Instead the conversation should focus on WHY this project is being done.

I recommend actual flood testing to see what the capacity is of the current system.  Establish a need before taking action.  Locate any specific root intrusion and spot fix if necessary.  This street is one of the highest points in the area.  It is a ridge with natural shedding.  Sure, major rain would leave standing puddles.  But the catastrophic failure scenario of the 10 or 20 year storm should not be the cause for this action.  Save the major work for when it can be coordinated with other projects and is very very needed.  Business and residents shouldn't suffer for an unnecessary project.  

Prioritize South Bayshore that truly has a flooding issue right now.


Ken Russell
Candidate for Commissioner
Miami District 2

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wigs for Kids is beneficiary of wine tasting

Join Vinos in the Grove on Thursday, May 21, for their monthly wine tasting. They'll be featuring five Pali wines: T15 Sauvignon Blanc, Charm Acres Chardonnay, Montazi Pinot Noir, Alpabet Pinot Noir and T15 Jetty. There will be bottle discounts for that night as well. The event is from 7 to 9 pm.

Your $10 ticket gets you the wine tasting and benefits Wigs for Kids, an organization that provides hair replacement for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.  

Your donation (financial or hair donation) will help children suffering from hair loss look themselves and live their lives.  Vino's very own wine tender Nastassia Rodriguez will be chopping her curls for the cause during the course of the tasting. Come and see what new hairdo Bryan Downing will come up it...

Vinos in the Grove is located at 3409 Main Highway.

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Welcome to the new Grove

Don't let the blue sky and pretty trees fool you. This corner of Coconut Grove is horrible.

I took these photos in the daytime because at night both corners are pitch black at our main intersection in Coconut Grove. The former Johnny Rockets site is just rotting there in the dark and now the corner of the Engle Building is dark at night. Across from the Engle building, Coldwell Banker closes after hours and that one center triangle is totally black. The only light coming onto the area at night is from car headlights. CocoWalk sheds some light but not a lot. We need activity on these corners. 


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The best of the best

Biz Bash came out with South Florida's Top 100 events for 2015. A few are Coconut Grove events like Grovetoberfest, the Miami Short Film Festival, Vizcayan Ball, the King Mango Strut and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Congrats guys!

What  do you think? Do they deserve the honor? What about other Grove events like the Great Grove Bed Race or the Seafood Festival, the Mad Hatter or even Halloween night?


For the full list, you can go here.

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Now you can have your groceries delivered

Publix tried it years ago and it failed, Fresh Direct is very popular up north, my cousins use it all the time. And now we finally have a grocery delivery service in Miami, and Coconut Grove is part if it! Instacart has started service in our area. This service could get addicting.

Publix is not in our delivery area, but in the Grove, you can use the app or go online to order from Whole Foods, Costco, BJ's, Petco and Winn-Dixie.

The way it works is you use the online site or the app and put your zip code in, next you are directed to the links for the stores in the delivery area and you click on the store and click away at the items you would like to order. Their personal shoppers take it from there.

Most of the items are the same price online as they are in the store, rather than mark things up, Instacart has a deal with the stores, but there is a delivery fee.

A one hour delivery is $5.99, two hour deliver or a scheduled delivery at the time and date you choose is  is $3.99. Your first order of $10 or more is free.

Sort of like Amazon's Prime Serivce, Instacart has a $99 per year fee where you don't pay any delivery fees all year for orders of $35 and up.

They also have a Miami-style gimic - boat service for you boaters and liveaboards.

Sign up or check it out today at: Instacart.com

And don't forget Delivery Dudes who we wrote about in March. They will pick up and delivery anything else you might need!


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Awaiting Panther

Panther Coffee is getting ready to open in Coconut Grove. The soft opening is Monday, May 25. I heard today from co-owner Leticia Pollock, that it's finally going to happen! I had stopped in last week and it looks great. Very industrial.

This is the view from inside, courtesy of Panther's Instagram page. It had the caption: "The Grove is going to be magical. This rainbow says so."

Dharma Yoga Studio responded on Instagram: "Coconut Grove already is magical. It will only get better when Panther Coffee opens!


Coconut Grove's Panther Coffee hours will be:
7 am - 9 pm (Mon - Sat)
8 am - 9 pm (Sun)

They are located at 3407 Main Highway.

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The Candidates need to get out and get votes

I had a friend complaining to me the other night about the Grove and Commissioner Sarnoff, she went on and on about all that's wrong with Coconut Grove and how Sarnoff ruined it in so many ways. I asked her if she was going to vote for Teresa Sarnoff in the November election. She said, "I think so, I'm not sure."

I asked her why, and she said because that's the only person she knows. So she will get four or eight more years of the same simply because of name recognition. She told me she didn't have a clue about any of the other candidates. So I'm thinking the candidates have their work cut out for them.

She isn't the type of person to go to park picnics or Village Council meetings, so the candidates need to figure out how to meet and persuade people like my friend who I think are the majority of the voters. I've found it quiet on the campaign front, not much going on. Maybe they are just waiting until after summer to start pushing the vote.


This whole thing with the Sarnoffs is so mortifying. I'm picturing an editorial cartoon now, of Sarnoff with bloody fingers grabbing on to City Hall, not wanting to leave, as people drag him out. I've heard that Teresa has hired a major fundraiser used by Mayor Carlos Gimenez. They need more funds? 

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Businesses want to delay the Main Highway project

There is a community meeting regarding the Drainage Improvement Project for Main Highway. The public works project will go from McFarlane Road down to Royal Road. The community meeting being conducted by the Public Works and Waste Management Department is being held at City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive) on Tuesday, May 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

There may be a change in the whole thing in that the merchants would like to delay the project for a year, they fear that it will be bad for business, so a large turnout would help that cause. It will also give more time to those trying to have a bike lane installed by the county on Main Highway.

The meeting will provide information on the upcoming project. This project consists of the retrofitting of the existing drainage system, which has exceeded its life expectancy and has been compromised by tree root intrusion. Plans, maps and more will be available at the meeting. A presentation and then a Q&A session will follow.

Whenever the project starts, it will affect traffic. It will be one-way in each direction, heading north, you will take Main Highway and going south, traffic will be rerouted down Grand Avenue to Douglas Road. The worst times of course will be rush hour and when schools open and close. There are a number of schools on the Main Highway route.

Sewer pipes are not being worked on, it is all storm water drainage. For more info, please call Francisco Gonzales at the county at 305-375-4772.

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Solving the parking problems for two events

There is concern about the traffic that Miami Marine Stadium will bring when the Miami International Boat show is there in February. It's the same weekend as the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and being only a few miles from each other, there could be major tie-ups and parking problems.

They're trying to come up with ways to solve the problem like shuttle services from possible parking spaces in Downtown Miami. The shuttle services would accommodate both the Boat Show and the Arts Festival. For years, I have been talking about a trolley service to and from the Arts Festival, but their shuttle would be an electric car service and possibly a water taxi. Monty Trainer, president of the electric car service met with the owners of one service named Freebee, I met them too, at the Arts Festival office. The make money by selling advertising on the cars. I wrote about them before here.

I love the water taxi idea. Imagine a water shuttle from Virginia Key, the location of the Boat Show to the Dinner Key area, the location of the Arts Festival. And of course a water taxi from parking spaces that are away from both events where people can park and then come to both events from parking spaces Downtown. We're a water town, it's a perfect solution.

The Boat Show is from February 11 through the 15 and the Arts Festival from February 13 through 15.

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Lack of parking, even in the garages

There's been a lot of talk at meetings around the Grove about the lack of parking. I know I've always said that there is plenty of parking, you just have to use the off street garages, but there is no room in the garages either!

The Mayfair garage is packed on weekdays with cars from the ad agencies that have proliferated there. The garage used to be empty, you could get lost in the cavernous place, but now it's full of the agency peoples' cars.

The Oak Street Garage is the same, the Sun Health people are hogging all the spaces. There is usually a guy there on weekdays with a sign that says the lot is full, usually by 10 am.

I'm not sure about CocoWalk, but the Coconut Grove Bank lot, which was another great place to park is now off limits for parking because they are doing construction there. I do see many cars there in the day, but I think that's from all the bank workers who used to park closer to the building and now they are taking up the spaces that were there for the public during the day.

So while weekends, the lots are all empty, it's not the case during the week.

I'm not sure what they will come up with at the meetings because it's not that easy to build garages. There is the new one going in near Regatta Park, but that probably will take a couple of years and even so, it is not near the Center Grove where office workers would use the garages.

As for metered street parking, that is very hard to find, they are taking spaces away little by little for things like the crosswalks on Commodore Plaza and taking spaces away to give to restaurant seating and the CitiBikes and what's left is usually all taken fast during the day.

Regarding the Regatta Park area, there are a lot of complaints of parking being taken away from the docks behind the park. But then others are complaining about parking being put in where park space should be. So there's a juggling act going on over there. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Final Antique Market of the season

I know it's not in Coconut Grove, but today is the final Lincoln Road Antique Market for the season in South Beach. Our friends who were a big part of the Coconut Grove Antique Market for years are a big part of the Lincoln Road Market.

They'll be back in the fall, but there is one last chance for this season today, Sunday, May 17, now until sunset.

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Remembering Mad Men and Mad Men Monday






We just celebrated out 10th birthday, so to celebrate, throughout the year, we'll be sharing some fun posts from the past. In 2009 and 2010, we had a weekly event at the Mayfair Hotel bar called Mad Men Monday. I spent most of this weekend watching the Mad Men marathon which is being played in anticipation of Sunday night's finale of Mad Men. Here's a little blast from the past, one of our Mad Men Mondays, which happened to be a birthday party, too.  Each week it was a fun group of friends and you never knew who would pass through the happy hour event. This post is from August 31, 2010.

And here's a link to all of the Mad Men photos and stories from that time that were posted here in the Grapevine.


  mm4
In our little reality show world, known as the Grapevine, the characters all meet up on Mondays at Mad Men Monday at the Mayfair Hotel, the only difference is that there is no drama here since it's all friends and not many or any frenemies.

You'll see Daisy from the Bed Race or Felice from the Bookstore or Monty from the Arts Festival and it's all one, nice meetup once a week for friends to mix and mingle. Last night was no exception, we met for drinks as usual (I had 7&7's last night), but we also celebrated Lili Dones' birthday.


mm1
Lili's birthday was actually the day before, but we like to celebrate birthdays at Mad Men Mondays, we have had quite a few. Steven Anton Rehage got Lili a great gift in the form of gold earrings, which she had been admiring. You'll notice Betty and Don Draper on a Mad Men episode on the tv in the background.

mm3
Daisy Lewis and Richard Issa flank Lili.

mm5
Heico Dobrikow, manager of the Mayfair Hotel & Spa, Michelle Niemeyer and Willie Vega, who celebrated his birthday at the Mayfair on Friday night.

mm7
Steven Rehage, Maria Korge, Monty Trainer, Lili Dones, Felice Dubin and Tom Falco.

mm2
Rosy and Juan are excellent hosts.

mm6

Mad Men Monday will take a break next week due to the Labor Day holiday and most of us will be recovering from the long Bed Race day, but it will be back Monday, September 13.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday morning

Saturday morning, Coconut Grove. South Bayshore Drive and Glencoe Street.

Man and peacock.

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What is going on with Coconut Grove?

So the malling and condo-ing of the Grove continues. And of course it's all about money. A troll here or there leaves a comment here on the Grapevine, but to be honest, there isn't one person I run into in person who is for the unreasonable transformation. I'm shocked sometimes by the people who I would think are in favor of the urbanization of our little village and they turn out to be the opposite - upset over the changes.

The new mall on the water, Grove Harbour, has not broken ground yet, and that's a good thing and of course Regatta Park is just still basically a hole in the ground. The Expo Center is down, I'm not sure if all those toxins were removed from the ground, but either way, it's a large, empty fenced in area - with a large over-sized dockmaster's building. I remember Mayor Tomas Regalado years ago, I think he was still a City Commissioner then, talking about the demolition of the Expo Center saying that it would just end up for years as a big dirty hole in the ground, like the Orange Bowl was at the time. He was very prophetic. And that mess on Grove Isle, who knows what that is going to end up being. Even with the work being done on all the major arteries in the village, traffic will be a nightmare. This little village wasn't created to be over-populated.

Then of course there is, and going to be a large street mess all over the village from the upcoming redo of South Bayshore Drive to Bird Avenue and Main Highway, and 27th Avenue is still not completed. 


Awhile ago, a reporter called me to talk about the Grove for a magazine article. His assignment was to compare Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Coconut Grove. I told him that a better comparison would be Greenwich Village to the Grove and he changed the focus to that. The article has not been published yet. I'll share it with you when it's out.

It's still confusing as to what Coconut Grove is becoming. 

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Quinceaneras, an online exhibition

In commemoration of Quinceañeras, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday which marks her transition from child to young woman in Hispanic cultures, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is curating Quinceañeras, An Online Exhibition. 
Submit your Quinceañera photographs shot at Vizcaya and be part of this virtual exhibit to celebrate and pay tribute to the unique and multi-generational tradition of taking Quinceañera photos at Vizcaya over the decades. This is open to both amateur and professional photographers. 
When submitting images, include contact information, the year the photo was taken and its location at Vizcaya. Photos can be submitted on an ongoing basis via e-mail or social media. Tag Vizcaya on Twitter, @VizcayaMuseum, or on Instagram, @VizcayaMiami, and use the hashtag #ShotsFromVizcaya. By submitting photographs, permission is granted for Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to use the photos as part of the online exhibition. 

You can email the photo to: Photos@Vizcaya.org. For info: 305-250-9133

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Still a lot of changes going on around here

As the Grove is taken over as part of some plan, people are being asked to vacate or to at least be prepared to vacate. One popular gallery, Blu Moon, that's been a very big part of Coconut Grove, is leaving. They are moving down to Cauley Square, the historical railway village. A loss for the Grove while Cauley Square gains a great new tenant. July 2 is their scheduled grand opening day. They will be in the Grove until May 30.

One of the tenants in Florentine Plaza was given their walking papers this week. Too much complaining on their part, it seems, and the PointeGroup sent a couple of people down to throw them out. But they reconsidered and the tenants were given an ok to stay until March, almost a year away. So who knows what's going on there.  Old Joe is allowed back on the premises, too. Public outrage had the PointeGroup reverse their decision of having him persona non grata. 


When businesses are told to leave, it affects others. Locals who depend on certain places are going to have to find alternatives to shop and I met one person who has one business who is her client, she tells me that now that they are leaving, her business will suffer unless she is willing to follow them. It's a ripple effect. When one business leaves, all the peripheral customers and vendors are affected. But places like Bombay Darbar and Lasso the Moon both found bigger and better locations.

But of course, there are so many new things happening in the Grove so while some are leaving and there are empty storefronts, a lot of good is happening, too. CocoWalk's sale of course is the biggest news. And Bombay Darbar had their soft opening on Thursday night on Florida Avenue. This week they spent it moving things from Commodore Plaza and with a last minute rush, they managed to open for the weekend.


I love upstate New York with all its small historic towns and maybe this article and list of Top River Towns in Hudson Valley Magazine is what we need to strive for before all of our history is gone. Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Catskill, this is what we need to be.

Another major change is that Jackie is no longer at the BID. She'll be missed, but she tells me she'll still be around the Grove, so we will still see her from time to time.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

They want a bike lane

There's a small petition that asks that a bike lane be put in on Main Highway. Here's the petition.

It's a great idea, but I didn't realize that Main Highway needed a bike lane, the main area of Main Highway is only a few blocks long and once it reaches the start of the South Grove around Ransom Everglades, there is a bike path on the east side of the street which goes all the way south. I remember them putting the one along Old Cutler road in the 1970s, I used to watch the workers from the school bus on the way home from school! That connects all the way up to the Grove.

It should be an easy thing to add a bike lane, especially in light of the fact that Main Highway will soon be torn up for road work and they can add the bike lane at the end of that project.


Honolulu and other cities added bike lanes and it dramatically dropped the amount of people who rode on the sidewalk. We already have that bike symbol on the road (the sharrows), now all we need to do is make it a bike lane, but I guess it would have to be on the east side of the street so it meets up with the bike lane at Ransom.

The petition, started by the BID asks that the city place the lane from Franklin Avenue to McFarlane Road. I would think that a bike lane should extend from Main Highway at Ransom, north on Main, down through McFarlane and onto South Bayshore Drive.  Come to think of it, I think a special new bike lane will be part of the renovation of South Bayshore Drive, when that happens.

There is a city commission meeting today (Thursday, May 14) and the commissioners have this issue on the agenda. I'm not sure why Commissioner Sarnoff cannot just snap his fingers and have this happen like he does with everything else, rather than petitioning it. But maybe he's the one being petitioned here. I don't know, but it's a good idea to sign it. Bike lanes are good for everyone; they are a great quality of life thing.

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It's all based on greed

The Residences of Vizcaya built their condo on Fairview at the old Hiawatha apartments. They received approval in 2006 and it took them years to complete the condo building. At the time in 2006, they were approved to build 3 townhouses, rather than the planned 5, after neighbors complained. Today there are five townhouses built or being built on West Glencoe Street.The knocked down a row of perfectly good houses for this.  Why?

At the other end of the cul-de-sac neighborhood is East Glencoe, there are plans to develop a smaller condo there, making it into a larger condo.

Years ago, a beautiful mid-century house was knocked down on East Glencoe to make way for two huge townhouses with almost zero lot lines. Over the years, one owner bought them both and made it one huge place. It's so out of character for the neighborhood. A friend of mine told me that his mother lived in that mid-century house when it was new, so there was a personal history in the house for me and it was a beautiful house with a large lawn and it fit the old style Grove neighborhood. Now the double townhouse is all walled up with an ugly metal 10 foot gate, right on the edge of the sidewalk. I just noticed they are selling the property now, Riley Smith has the listing here.

In Charleston, SC, recently, a new building was rejected as being too high for the downtown area, it was to be 14 stories high and higher than some historic church steeples. That's what keeps people coming to Charleston, the history and pride in the city. I love the final quote of the article: “The applicants are wonderful community leaders in Charleston, and it’s difficult to say they can’t develop property according to their property rights because I’m a big supporter of that. ... But still, when you have this many people opposed to it, it’s not in harmony in keeping with the neighborhood.” This was said by one of the members of their Board of Architectural Review. Something like the  Miami Planning and Zoning Appeals Board, only the board in Charleston respects the residents' feelings.


It seems that every project that is built these days in Miami, is given a variation or spot zoning change. Why have laws if they are not adhered to?

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We lost a friend

Just found out that Tim Grand passed away last week. Many of you will recognize him from his photo here, he was almost glued to his two beagles. He would sign his comment posts here in the Grapevine as "The Guy with the Two Beagles."

Tim was a great guy, I would spend time with him often. He was funny, very intelligent and a great guy to be around.  He would send me story ideas and photos often. Lately I would see him on weekend mornings at The Bookstore. He always started the day with a large iced coffee. Black.

Here is the obit in the Miami Herald.

You'll notice in the obit that it mentions that Tim worked for Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Just last week, another great Grovite, founder of the agency, Samuel Crispin passed away. Here is his obit.

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Meetings set up for Underline

Residents of Coconut Grove and Coconut Grove Village West are invited to attend a presentation on the future Underline, the 10-mile linear park and urban trail underneath Metrorail from the Brickell to Dadeland South Stations that is currently in the planning stage. 

Friends of The Underline founder and president, Meg Daly, will make a 15-minute presentation and ask attendees to provide their input on the future trail and park. The session will focus on The Underline’s unique connection to Coconut Grove West Village and Douglas Station.

The meeting is at KROMA Miami 3670 Grand Avenue, on Wednesday, May 27 at 7 pm; for info: 305-576 6278


Attendees will also be asked to complete a survey of what they want on The Underline. Audience comments, feedback and suggestions will be shared with the current design team: James Corner Field Operations.

Also attend an upcoming public meeting on Tuesday, June 23 at 6 pm at Vizcaya Garage, 3280 South Miami Avenue.. The Underline’s master plan design team, James Corner Field Operations will invite public feedback on early design plans for the future Underline. 

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Strada in the Grove wins Italian award

Congratulations to Strada in the Grove for receiving the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce (Southeast) Marchio Ospitalita award. This certification recognizes them as "ambassador" of genuine Italian cuisine.

Strada is now part of the select group of genuine Italian restaurants in major cities around the world that can proudly show the Q seal. The seal provides a well deserved recognition for their commitment in promoting the Italian gastronomic culture against the growing phenomenon of "Italian sounding" foods. They are protecting the heritage.

Strada in the Grove is located at 3176 Commodore Plaza.

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Secret Life of Plants art show at Butcher Gallery

Courtesy of Clyde Butcher Gallery
The Secret Life Of Plants is the first in a series of group shows at the Clyde Butcher Coconut Grove Gallery, curated by Nicki Sorrentino and Gallery Director, Natasha Lopez De Victoria.

This show is based off of the experimental book, controversial documentary and Stevie Wonder soundtrack all of the same title. The show will feature 12 well-known local artists and their work depicting different aspects of plant life, as well as a curated series of Clyde’s botanical work.

Artists will dive into the deep and mysterious life of plants, giving us some answers to just what plants might be doing when no one is watching.


Could they be sentient beings after all, capable of emotion and feeling? 
How is it that we are so dependent on them but they in no way need us?
And the question as old as time; if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

You will have to be at the opening Friday, May 15, to find out! The event is from 6 to 11 pm. The Clyde Butcher Gallery is located at 2994 McFarlane Road.

Featured Artists:
- Christina Pettersson
- Kevin Arrow
- Coral Morphologic
- Nadine Olivia
- Matt Stock
- Karelle Levy
- Monica Uszerowicz
- Christopher Michel
- Harumi Abe
- Beatriz Carmen Mendoza
- Oliver Sanchez
- Archival Feedback conceived by Emile Milgrim and T. Wheeler Castillo

With musical performance by Curls (Sarah Attias) performing renditions off the original Stevie Wonder Album. The Juicery Bar will be sponsoring the event with 100% raw unpasteurized fruits and vegetable juices.

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The Typsy Mermaid opens up in new location

Lasso the Moon, the event planning and design company, has just about completed their move to the former Improv space at the Mayfair Promenade. And the great news is that their pop-up oyster and champagne party, "The Typsy Mermaid," will be back for select dates this summer. 

Maine Lobster Rolls, fresh East Coast oysters and a select selection of champagne are part of the menu.

There is new outdoor seating on the Promenade where oysters will be just $1 each from 4 to 5 pm.
The fresh oysters come from Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury. To compliment the fresh oysters and Maine lobster, they'll be serving Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose and an $8 per glass house bubbly. A selection of Belgian ales and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer will be available, too.

"We are so happy to bring back Pearl, the sea sirène behind The Typsy Mermaid," says Cynthia Seaman (perfect name for a seafood restaurant).

"The Improv is a perfect place for our summer celebration, with a great outdoor bar and outdoor seating. We would love to provide an environment for creatives of Mayfair who need a space for an after hours think tank," continued Cynthia.

The Typsy Mermaid will be open May 14 through 16 and May 28 through 30 from 4 to 9 pm.

I asked Cynthia if the Improv name will stay on the big lighted sign above the entrance, she wasn't sure, and we both wondered if it's historic enough to stay as-is

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