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.


Color Your World

Adult coloring Book display at Michaels.

Adult coloring Book display at Michaels.

Two thousand fifteen was the year of adult coloring books. Not sure what cause this craze among Millennials but I think the Great Recession and high student college debt may have played a role.

The coloring book phenomenon reminded me of the Japanese culture’s fascination with Anime and Manga. Perhaps that’s the next American adult trend.

Life can be pretty tough and perhaps the Millennials got caught up in the “Change You Can Believe In” talk. I’m sure they were dismayed when it didn’t immediately translate into more jobs. Unemployment was at an all time for Millennials graduating from college during the Great Recession .

Now with lower gas prices, more jobs and lower employment, there are some things to be thankful for.

Gratitude is good for the soul and a lot less costly than a coloring book and more rewarding. One author says you should write a letter expressing gratitude to someone everyday. This increases your gratitude quotient.

Gratitude makes for better health and longevity. There is no replacement for gratitude.

Art Deco Coloring book

Copy of my Art Deco Coloring book.

Yet I can’t be too hard on coloring book illustrators. I happen to be one!

Miami Book Fair International

The Miami Book Fair International Street Fair kicks off tomorrow with free admission. Thousands of school children visit the Children’s Alley at the Street Fair and see their favorite authors in-person. The Children’s Alley is a must for children and families. Authors of children’s books present storytelling and special readings. Don’t miss the Miami Children’s Museum pirate show and walk the plank at the Once Upon A Time Children’s Stage. Show what you know about endangered animals in the Geo-Party Quiz Show with National Geographic kids. Create fun art projects with Bass Museum staff and local artists at the Tot Tent.

Back popular demand—comics and graphic novels! To the delight of teens, tweens and children: there’s a new comic section just for them. Renowned graphic novelists and illustrators are sure to grab their attention. The Miami Book Fair International has been recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival. The main event at the Street Fair is the Festival of Authors with over 450 authors reading and discussing their work. Live music, food court and more boasts lots of fun for families at the Street Fair.

The Miami Book Fair International opened November 15 with six nights of readings and discussions with celebrated authors from the United States and around the world. The Street Fair is tomorrow, November 20 through Sunday, November 22.

The Festival is a part of The Center for Writing and Literature at Miami Dade College. It promotes the advancement and appreciation of literature throughout the year.

For more information on the Miami Book Fair International, visit

Boston on a dime

Downtown Boston near Suffolk University.

Downtown Boston near Suffolk University.

I’ve heard that Boston is one of the most expensive places to live but wise travelers can save a dime. I landed at Logan International Airport recently for the “Widening the Cycle Exhibit” and “Menstrual Health Conference” at Suffolk University in downtown Boston. Although I caught a ride with my cousin, my roommate rode on Mass Bay Transit Authority from the airport to downtown for free. It seems the Silver Line is free from Logan Airport inbound to South Station (including a free transfer to the Red Line).

The statue pays tribute to the founder of Harvard University, Rev. John Harvard.

The statue pays tribute to the founder of Harvard University, Rev. John Harvard.

After departing the airport, my cousin took me on a tour of Cambridge. We grabbed a smoothie at “Life Alive” and walked on the campus of Harvard University. Once back in downtown Boston, I settled down for the night at Suffolk University. The following day, I shopped nearby at the Downtown Crossing on Washington Street. You’ll find stores like H&M, TJ Maxx, Payless, upscale stores and restaurants.

Monument to the 54th Regiment.

Monument by Augusta Saint-Gauders of the 54th regiment at Boston Common.

I had a slice of a Mediterranean Pizza at Sal’s on Tremont for under $6. My roommate joked that the server had a crush on her because the pizza was so large. When looking at mine she laughed, ”He must have a crush on everyone!” The pizza was not your typical fare. Sal’s is known for large servings. His grandparents emigrated from Naples and began serving Neapolitan pizza. Sal continues the tradition by making pizza with the freshest ingredients. He opened his first store in 1990 in Boston’s North end. Not sure if this store was the original location. With stand up tables only at Sal’s, we headed to the Boston Common for lunch on a bench. Squirrels mimicking “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and begging for food finally chased us away.

The Thinking Cup in downtown Boston.

The Thinking Cup in downtown Boston.

Later that night I had a bad case of the munchies and purchased a Passion Fruit cheesecake and a cup of tea at the “Thinking Cup” on Tremont for under $10.


My painting, “Death of Fertility” was in the exhibit “Widening the Cycle.”

The next day I went to the “Widening the Cycle Exhibit” opening reception and had dinner at Papagayo’s Mexican restaurant on West Street. Not much fanfare there but it was convenient to where we were staying. I had Black Bean soup for under $8 as an ethnic twist on my salute to “Beantown.”


Statue of Juan Ponce de Leon at Bayside Marketplace in Miami.

Statue of Juan Ponce de Leon at Bayside Marketplace in Miami.

I saw this statue of Juan Ponce de Leon at Bayside Marketplace in Miami on April 2. It was the day I went to the Arts and Hospitality Breakfast. I went to the breakfast seeking new opportunities to serve the community and develop new relationships. On April 2, 1513, Ponce de Leon sighted the coast of Florida looking for gold and hoping to find new territory for the Spanish crown. I guess Florida has always been a land of opportunity. I am sure the Native Americans who first came to Florida had their share of hopes and dreams, too.

Plaque at the base of the statue of Juan Ponce de Leon.

Plaque at the base of the statue of Juan Ponce de Leon.

According to Wikipedia, Ponce de Leon named the coastline he saw La FLorida or Pascua Florida (Flowery Easter) because it was Easter and the land was in bloom. Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal. A day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Jesus Christ.

Easter a time to find hope. A time to reach out to others.


Honfleur, France.

Honfleur, France.


Last summer, I visited Honfleur, France just after the 70th Anniversary of D-day. I was amazed to see signs throughout the city thanking the Allied Forces for liberating the city. “Welcome to Our Liberators” signed hailed the city. Honfleur is in the province of Normandy.

My painting of Honfleur, France.

My painting of Honfleur, France.


As a tribute to the city of Honfleur, I have done two paintings. One of my paintings will be on display at the “Art Reveals the Soul” exhibit at Broward College, through April 23.


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.”