I Took a Walk Down By the Sea

Posted in: Blog- Nov 09, 2014 No Comments

Eruv refers to an imaginary boundary determined by a Rabbi that allows adherent Jews within a community to extend the boundary of their homes and thereby circumvent a commandment in the Bible that prohibits them from carrying anything beyond their property line on the Sabbath.  Without Eruv they wouldn’t be able to carry a baby, a purse, or even a tune beyond their home on the day of rest.  Miami Beach has had an Eruv for over 20 years.  Marked by a string that extends for miles around the Beach the Eruv is strung on poles, lamp posts, between buildings and beside the boardwalk 12 feet above the ground.  This is by no means the only reason you should visit the boardwalk but it should encourage you to feast on the surroundings as you stroll along one of the most beautiful and interesting walks in Miami.

In the mid 1980s the City of Miami Beach built an elevated boardwalk along the ocean from 46th to 21st Street as part of a plan to create a continuous beachwalk the entire length of the island. It is still a work in progress, but the section from 46th Street to 5th Street is finished and offers a glimpse into the intricately layered beauty of Miami Beach.

It is populated with wild green parrots, ibis with long curved beaks, mocking birds, homeless cats,  and a cast of characters borrowed from a romance novel set in purgatory.  The buildings provide an architectural retrospective of Miami lifestyles of the last 80 years. The seascape is colorful and brilliant.  Cargo ships move along the edge of the Gulf Stream and cruise ships head down to the Caribbean.  Sometimes dolphins or rays break the surface while ospreys, pelicans, and gulls peruse the waters from above.  The sand is dotted with beach umbrellas, lifeguard stands, yoga classes, weddings, soccer games, and from time to time perhaps even a small rickety wooden boat filled with abandoned trash from mysterious inhabitants whose fresh footprints in the sand lead away toward an unknown conclusion.

Many old buildings have been restored or are in the process of renovation these days but without a doubt the most fascinating project in the neighborhood comes from Argentinean developer Alan Faena whose redevelopment of several entire blocks near 32nd Street exemplifies the rebirth of the area.  Conceptually a “mini city” with its own apartments, shops, restaurants, art, and theatre the Faena District combines old buildings, new buildings, Pritzker Prize winning architects, a film director, set designer, landscape artist and assorted other collaborators in an all out assault on conventional real estate development.  You have to provide something special if you ask $50 million for a condo.

The boardwalk offers a perspective many visitors never experience but those of us who live here never tire of.  It costs nothing but a little time and the walk will transport you to a quiet place you didn’t know existed in kitschy, trendy, hyper-hip South Beach.   Take a walk and see for yourself and keep in mind that sometimes a string is more than just a string and a walk can be more than just a walk.

Note:  The elevated boardwalk is 12 feet wide and dedicated solely to pedestrians so bicyclists are not permitted. The paved beachwalk south of 21st Street, however, is accessible to bicycle use and other recreational activities.

 

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