WHO INVITED EL NIñO TO THE PARTY?!
Besides thinking that the El Niño winds have also so swiftly blown the first month of the year off the calendar, we South Floridians have had the wackiest “winter” season thus far!
I’ve lived in Miami for some forty plus years, and in the week after sailing in the Columbus Day Regatta, subtle changes in wind shifts and lower temps and humidity, would bring smiles to faces and much welcome relief from the summer months.
No so, this 2015-16 Fall/Winter season. No subtle change at all. Nothing subtle about steamy December days and nights, and windy rain storms.
So El Niño has thus far spoiled what we’ve come to expect in our few party months of comfortable outdoor South Florida living.
SOMI Magazine returns showcasing some Greater Miami community’s cultural and community resources which provide our readership with options for entertaining and enjoyment right at our fingertips. Our cover feature this issue is The Barnacle, a gem of a state park nestled off Main Highway
in Coconut Grove and the man who was an early Miami pioneer, Ralph Munroe.
In this issue, we present two gentlemen of very different backgrounds, As noted, the first is “Commodore” Ralph Munroe of Cocoanut Grove, and the other, Marshall Williamson, from Madison, Florida, the first black property owner in South Miami. They both were here in the same time period and both made significant contributions to the life of their community. It is especially fitting that we tell Mr. Williamson’s story during Black History Month.
Coming into 2016, SOMI is seeing new restaurants and businesses open. New and re-investment in our retail/restaurant district are encouraging signs as SOMI continues to be a choice destination for the cognoscenti. The new owners of The Shops at Sunset Place are working to develop their long-term plan, while creating some immediate changes in operations (now free one-hour parking!) and the tenant mix. And as far as long-term plans, you’ve heard it from me before and let me again weigh-in: consider building an 8-story hotel on the corner of US1 & Red Road and wrapping a 6-story apartment complex along Red Road to San Remo. This would go a long way to create a dynamic flow in our retail/restaurant district. It’s a re-investment with a good R.O.I. for the investor and the community for years to come.
A new and well-capitalized business venture debuted in SOMI recently, Dr. Smood. South Miami is the launch pad and showcase store for this new and unique health food boutique. We wish the owners well as they aggressively enter the US market starting here in SOMI. (Read more about Dr. Smood in our What’s New in Town feature on page 40.)
The east side of the US1 corridor within the City of South Miami is in the process of further transformation. Over the recent few years, new construction of mixed use development has signaled the change. The new iconic landmark at 5966 is always catching eyes. FOX’S and its related properties will soon be redeveloped, and the New Chinatown location has been approved for redevelopment. These are exciting times for our community. SOMI Magazine will be reporting on the “Changing Face of US1” in an upcoming issue.
And while the rest of the country wrestles with the Blizzard of 2016, we get to enjoy our great outdoor community events that are hosted on our “main street.” Upcoming in February is the annual South Miami Rotary Art Festival and the VOLKSblast on Sunset Drive. In early March the Das Renn Treffen returns for a second year to Sunset Drive. All these events bring thousands of visitors to our community and we appreciate the commitment of the organizers in presenting these in our hometown. (Check out our What’s Happening notice on page 38.)
Let’s hear from you. You’re invited to join us online: the magazine can be sent to friends far and wide by logging on to www.somimag.loc. And while you’re at it, give us a hit on Facebook. Become part of the conversation in your hometown, where you work, shop, live and play.
‘See you in and around town for the annual gathering of the clan on March 17th. And with that, let me close with a traditional Irish toast: “In this new year, may your right hand be stretched out in friendship and never in want.”
All the best these months as we start to enjoy our great South Florida weather. Bike 305, The Underline and Friends of Ludlam Trail are each having special fun and informative events; connect with them online.