Monday, February 26, 2007

My Personal Miami Vice

I’m a big fan of art deco architecture. I’m not sure where I get this from—you don’t see a lot of deco in New England—but somehow I acquired a taste. For that reason, I’ve wanted to go to Miami’s South Beach deco district for a long time. And this was almost the first thing Pipi and I did in the Miami area.

We went on a self-guided audio tour, which was nice. There’s nothing more exhausting than trudging along with a tour group. We got to do this at our own pace, which may have actually have been faster than the personal guided tour. We learned a lot about deco, including the fact that the ridges you often see above windows on art deco buildings are called “eyebrows.” Who knew? We also learned that windows that wrap around corners are a typical deco detail. The building Pipi and I live in, built in the late 1930s, has windows like this, which made me like our apartment even more.

The tour mostly stuck to Ocean Drive, in South Beach. This street has an amazing number of deco buildings, mostly hotels. Apparently a lot were nearly knocked down in the 1980s, which spurred a movement to restore them instead. It’s beautiful now—almost too beautiful. The people are intimidatingly pretty. I don’t think we’d have had much luck trying to get past the velvet ropes at the clubs there, but we weren’t interested in that. We just wanted to see the buildings. We had lunch in the most deco diner ever, a metal-plated Pullman car-style diner that for some reason had been moved there from Pennsylvania. It was all exactly what I’d hoped for. A great introduction to Miami.

Here are a few South Beach photos.

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