TGIF: No means yes in South Beach

A picture of the museum

The Jewish Museum Florida FIU was designed by Henry Hohauser who attended Pratt Institute.

South Beach is a place of defiance. I once heard someone say, people come to South Beach to do every “God forsaken” thing they wouldn’t do anywhere else! No means yes in South Beach.

It should come as no surprise that the Jewish community in South Beach has often defied the status quo.

Art Deco weekend.

Thousands of people come to Art Deco Weekend each year.

Barbara Capitman was a Jewish woman who defied the establishment. Capitman fought city officials “tooth and nail” to preserve the historical buildings that light up Miami Beach and make it the second most popular place in Florida. If not for her vision and perseverance, there would not be an Art Deco District. The over 800 Art Deco buildings that remain are testaments to Capitman’s defiance. The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places much to her efforts. The Miami Design Preservation League continues Capitman’s legacy.


Miami Design Preservation League poster rallying the community.

What’s more, Henry Hohauser, an architect who was Jewish, built over 300 Art Deco buildings. Hohauser lived in an era when signs “Gentiles Only” and “No Jews Allowed” were commonplace in South Beach. Jews were not even allowed to live beyond 5th Street.

An Art Deco chandelier and displays inside the Jews

An Art Deco chandler and displays inside the Jewish Museum.

Visit one of Hohauser’s buildings and experience first hand the story of Jewish culture in Florida. Hohauser’s building, once a synagogue, is now the home of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Eighty stained glass windows, a copper dome, and chandeliers are reminders of the days when Hohauser and others worshipped in the synagogue. Taste and see the Jewish experience during the Jewish Food Tour that leaves from the Museum. Learn how the Jewish community thrived despite many obstacles.

Falafel and Israeli salad.

Enjoy Falafel and Israeli salad on the Jewish Food Tour.

Facing off with those who thought South Beach should be known only as a place for “fun in the sun,” Holocaust survivors garnered public support for the building of the Holocaust Memorial. A memorial garden and a sobering sculpture recall those who died and remind all who visit: “we shall NEVER forget.”

Sculpture at the Holocaust memorial

A bronze sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly at the Holocaust Memorial.

The impact of Jewish culture permeates every aspect of the city. Mount Sinai Hospital was built because Jewish doctors weren’t given staff privileges at area hospitals. The Bass Museum scheduled to reopen in the fall, is named in honor of John and Johanna Bass, Jewish immigrants who bequeathed over 500 works of art to the City of Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach during Art Basel.

It is said that obstacles are opportunities. Fighting bias and opposition, the Jewish community realized that no means yes in South Beach.


Splash and Patter in South Beach

Ocean Drive with pedestrian traffic.

Ocean Drive with pedestrian traffic.

The patter of little and large feet at South Beach begins today through March 21. The City of Miami Beach opens Ocean Drive to pedestrian only traffic. South Beach is a popular Spring break destination and the City is constantly seeking way to enhance visitor’s safety and experience. Each year Miami Beach hotels have over 35% of the tourists to Miami.

Lincoln Mall

Lincoln Mall in South Beach has pedestrian traffic year round.

Is Corruption in Russia’s DNA

South Beach

South Beach

Headlines and talk about Russian athletes cheating bring this Russian joke closer to reality:

“The city is great, it’s just that this neighborhood is bad” is a Russian joke that points to the underlying current of corruption in Russian society.

An exhibit in Miami explores the power of photography and corruption’s effect on Russian society. The Miami Beach Urban Studios features Photo51 by Misha Friedman through today.

For more information, visit


The Art Center South Florida.

The Art Center South Florida.

First the rats, then the roaches, then the artists…

That cycle that my friend artist Gil Mayers referred to should include the money changers.

Now that Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach has been transformed into “one of the hottest retail locations in the entire country, with skyrocketing rents to match” ( the Art Center that was the catalyst sold for a sweet $88 million.

As the buyers gloated “we believe it’s the most important retail corner in Florida.”



Doesn’t look like anyone is laughing all the way to the bank.

According to New Times, a $500,000 donation by developers of a controversial Courtyard retail development is under scrutiny. Members of the historic Community Church received the money prior to approving the offer to develop its Courtyard. The project was then approved by the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. Because the donation was not considered by the Board, Miami Beach’s special master ruled the decision was an error.

The ruling means that the Historic Preservation Board must now decide if the donation was properly disclosed.


Heaven on earth? The city of Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board has given the final okay for the Community Church’s  conversion of its Courtyard into a retail store. The historic property continues the sad saga of the gentrification of Lincoln Road.

Short on cash, the church congregation submitted the retail proposal after the developer offered them 1 million dollars. According to a New Times article, the initial deal was sealed by church members after the developer also donated $500,000.

Miami Design Preservation League plans to continue to fight against the church’s retail development.


Like the “Jolly Old Elf”, each year I make a list. Throughout the year, I track my decisions to make sure they line up with my stated goals. There’s no coal for me if there are more “yays than nays”!

Tracking is also a tool marketers use to measure their success. Surveys are the most common tool. They are often used after the shopping experience.

Retailers want to shape your shopping habits not just measure them. Now your smart phone is also one of the tracking tools marketers use. When you log into a store’s complimentary Wi-Fi, retailers like Nordstrom track the store counters and departments you go to for their marketing data.

Shopping for teddy bear.

Christmas shopping in 2014. Next year the smart shelf will change the nature of shopping.

The smart shelf is another technology being developed to monitor consumer’s shopping habits. Sensors on the shelves will gauge a person’s gender and approximate age to compile data. An “ad” will pop up on the smart phone with a coupon for various items based on the data.

No more mystery shopping!