Ten years ago Wynwood was like a lot of other old-time light industrial neighborhoods in the US. A wasteland of abandoned warehouses with empty streets and urban blight. A place you wouldn’t go to in the daytime, much less at night.
What a difference a decade makes.
Today the neighborhood is full of restaurants, craft breweries, hip shops:
And the streets are full with families, groups of young and old, couples holding hands.
In my continuing exploration of Miami, I went to Wynwood last Sunday. I passed by people speaking Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Mandarin. All restaurants and bars full. All exteriors brightly decorated. The Vape Shop looks like this:
Next door is a hipster clothing store:
Across the street, under the enormous mural that looms over all is a furniture store:
Eight Space sells athletic wear:
Of note is the restaurant R House, known for its Sunday drag brunch.
Athena Dion has quite the following.
If you want to see the drag show, make a reservation well in advance.
The big draw of the neighborhood is the wall art. In the geographic center, more or less, of the area is an outdoor art space made up of an explosion of decorated exteriors.
Not all are easily interpretable but always fun and colorful:
The space is pleasantly walkable:
Everyone enjoying themselves:
Wynwood: Historical Note
The story starts in New York in 1968 when developer and arts patron Tony Goldman first started acquiring real estate in SoHo. At the time graffiti was considered an eye sore, and property owners wanted to remove it – not add to it. This aesthetic changed in the early ’80s when Goldman bought a building with a massive exterior wall mural and decided to leave it up. Then even restored it in 2008.
Goldman next turned his sights on reviving Wynwood.
P.S. Little Haiti
Indeed, this last bit is a post script.
Wynwood is north of downtown. Little Haiti is north of Wynwood. I went to Little Haiti the day before I went to Wynwood and found … pretty much nothing.
The central market was closed for no reason I could discern on a beautiful afternoon:
Unlike the liveliness of Wynwood on a Sunday afternoon, the streets of Little Haiti were empty on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe something was going on somewhere that I didn’t know about, but as an outsider, I was surprised by the nothing.
Little Haiti is known for botanicas which sell folk medicine, religious candles, amulets, and other magical and/or alternative cures and spells. In other words: good stuff.
I found two that were open:
What I expected to see but didn’t is something like this:
You know, some color. Some liveliness. Some people.
See: All My Florida Blogs
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen