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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blogatelle -- 1 Dec 2005

(Welcome Babalublog readers! As commenter Jose Aguirre reminds us, AZZZUCAR!!)

The second post in the series, which focuses on news from around the world from their local perspectives and language sources.

Call this the "South Florida" edition of Blogatelle, since that's our topic today.

Miami (1) -- In the cursed if you do, and even more cursed if you don't category, comes word from Miami Police Department Chief, John Timoney, that Miami will be instituting the second full-time city terrorist task force in the country, to patrol the streets in a show of anti-terrorism force.

New York City, of course, has the Hurricane squad, who however, have a more visible and sudden presence on the streets, often appearing with sirens out of no where to inspect a given area.

The Miami one is intended to be much more re-assuring to the citizen, and friendly to the neighbourhoods which it will patrol.

They will often be uniformed and plain-clothed officers in bicycles, walking their beat, or travelling in the Metrorail elevated subway system, giving consideration to suspicious infrastructure activity especially. You know, the kind which thwarted attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge...

When asked by local media if Miami had received any terrorist threats lately, Chief Timoney replied no, but that Miami was rated by Homeland Security as the 5th major US target of a terrorist attack.

Timoney also reminded the press that as many as 14 of the 9/11 terrorists, made their home base in South Florida.

(This is par for the course for MSM. If you don't act, and something later happens, you failed miserably in your duties to protect a city, and are pilloried, rightly or wrongly.

If you do act, the thoughts and verbal insinuations of police-state are never far from their minds)

Timoney is a pock-marked, no-nonsense, tough-talking, but eminently likeable, old-fashioned Irish-American copper.

One used to see thousands in their heydey, sounding and looking just like he does -- but now, they are scarce indeed, especially in this area.

In Timoney's case, he's actually FROM Ireland, and served as a NYC policeman, and was Philadelphia Police Chief, before coming down to Miami.



When the FTAA protesters descended on downtown Miami, he had the MIAPD Blues (as apparently the cool kids call them) extra-prepared to shut down any Seattle-like mayhem -- and he did.

Not the legitimate protesters, like the aged AFL-CIO retirees who were also present to peaceably protest, but that special brand of activists, whose causes range from anti-war, to anti-globalisation, and dabble maniacally everywhere in between.

In a raid on an abandoned house in upscale Cocunut Grove, which many would-be protesters were squatting in, he apprehended manifold molotov cocktail devices, including rusted pipes (the better to throw at police), maps of targetted buildings, and detailed plans of the most violent kinds of attack.

For calling such people who would do this, "scum" (using the exact same word as Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy recently used), he is hated by the professional world protest movement.

But to many in Miami, he is a hero for standing up for the city's best interests. And he's done so again today. Bravo Chief.

Read:

Miami Police Take New Tack Against Terror


Miami Beach -- The Art Basel Festival has suddenly become one of the major attactions in South Beach, where its vibrant street exhibits draw thousands, and possibly this year, a million curious onlookers.

In 2005, there is a special treat for us, to set the mood for next week's event.



"On Collins Avenue near 63rd Street during Art Basel next week, look out for Miami Beach’s newest “residence” bobbing around on Indian Creek’s waters, near Allison Island.

The Fabulous Floating Inflatable Villa,” designed by Miami-based, Venezuelan-born architect Luis Pons will be making a moving statement in the shape of a 30x30x20-foot plastic pavilion. The Floating Villa is part of a series of inflatable installations and objects designed by Pons, in reaction to Miami’s real estate boom"

This has the slight whiff of protest too, albeit a very chi-chi one, but you can be sure your pajama-clad reporter from Sundries will be taking photos of this Parthenon-evoking floating structure -- if I can get out of the oncoming traffic long enough to do so.

63rd street and Collins, eh?

No wonder I haven't seen it yet. That's near Bal Harbour Shops, my favourite mall, but one where you must have the dough when you go. And I'm skint.

I missed the Christo Pepto-Bismol splashes years ago.



I'll be damned if I miss this too.

Read:

Art Basel Expected To Fill Miami Beach Hotel Rooms


Miami (2) -- The words 'historic' and 'Miami's Freedom Tower' are never far apart from each other, and yesterday's news items were no different.

This gorgeous, Spanish colonial-style building, so redolent of the old Miami of Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler, not the sparkly modern Art Deco of Miami Beach, has seen many incarnations throughout its 80 years of existence.

It's been the "Miami Ellis Island", most famously of all, as it greeted thousands of Cuban emigrés in the 1960's, where they were processed by Immigration officials to start their new American experience.

It's been the headquarters of the now-defunct local newspaper, The Miami News, of which one famous editor-in-chief was the father of ex-US Attorney General, Janet Reno.



The News sold the building to the Feds in 1957, and really, it's been a white elephant since then for the city. Too beautiful, much too beautiful to tear down. But above all, too costly to keep up.

Many ideas have floated around since the time of the Cuban exiles processing.

It should be turned into a Cuban-American museum (good idea, but just not profitable with so many rooms).

It should be turned into a hotel (it would have to be extensively gutted and modernised).

It should be the new City Hall (eh).

In 2002, when iconic Cuban songstress, Celia Cruz, passed on, the Cuban-American community gave her a rousing farewell as she lay-in-state in the ground floor of the Freedom Tower.

I went, and it was a sight to see, as her own joyous music blared louder the closer one got to her open casket, surrounded by Cachao (the father of Mambo, a genre which absolutely adore), Andy Garcia, and Gloria Estefan.

People sang, they talked at the top of their voices, and they reminisced, above all, about the last time they were in the Freedom Tower -- when they were entering America.

Openly weeping, as much for Celia's passing, as for themselves, they recalled holding their parents' hands, clutching all their worldly belongings tightly to them, not knowing the language or customs of their new homeland, but happy to be there nonetheless.

And there you have the reason why this mere building is so special to so many in our area.

It's about freedom, and where there is freedom there is always hope.

So when it was announced that the developers who had bought out the rights to the building, and had planned to build super-futuristic condos around this graceful structure of another era, had finally on 30 November GIVEN AWAY the building to Miami-Dade College, we all gasped in appreciation.

Old Miami-Dade Community College's Wolfson Campus, as it was known for years in downtown Miami, is a perfect refuge for this building -- it'll be a veritable oasis of education in a sea of commerce.

Because to fully appreciate freedom, you must learn about it first.

Read:

Freedom Tower Goes To College

11 Comments:

  • Totally agree about the Freedom Tower as I went through there as a little boy! I also remember Christo's Pink Islands, very impressive.

    Chief Timoney did a great job during the FTAA and all who call Miami home should be grateful no matter what the ACLU and Jim DeFede said! They would have criticized any US police chief no matter what; so better we did not let those hoodlums destroy our city!

    ! AZZUUUCAAAAAAARRRR!!!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Thu Dec 01, 04:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Totally agree about the Freedom Tower as I went through there as a little boy!

    I knew it!

    If you wouldn't mind, Jose, although it can be very painful since you're a Pedro Panster, would you share some of the memmories you have of that time with us?

    I also remember Christo's Pink Islands, very impressive.

    Oh really? I thought they looked naff, to be honest.

    But then, it's different seeing them on newsreels or just by photos, rather than in person. :)

    Chief Timoney did a great job during the FTAA and all who call Miami home should be grateful no matter what the ACLU and Jim DeFede said! They would have criticized any US police chief no matter what; so better we did not let those hoodlums destroy our city!

    Just thinking of the devastation which would've been wrecked on downtown Miami, ugh.

    Imagine those little shopowners, even big ones like Victor's the electronics emporium, who have invested their whole life savings, getting the Mar del Plata treatment, with fire, broken windows, the lot...really makes my blood boil.

    Idiotas come-tu-sabes-que.

    ! AZZUUUCAAAAAAARRRR!!!

    Y CANELA!!!!

    Guantanamera, guajira, Guantamera...QEPD, Celia!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Dec 01, 07:11:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I totally agree with Victoria, whatever she said at the end. There were great lessons for America on the thirst for Freedom and it's value. If you are able to share memories, that would make great reading and understanding, It was a hard time for you but a wonderful time for America.
    Now, I have to go read all those links.

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Dec 01, 07:35:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Great stuff Victoria. We now have the honor of sharing a post on Babalu Blog!

    Totally agree on Timoney. We need more tough good guys like him protecting us from all the garbage out there.

    Let's see what happens to the proposed condo next to the tower.

    By Blogger Robert, at Thu Dec 01, 08:01:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I totally agree with Victoria, whatever she said at the end.

    That's trust, brother -- when you can agree with someone despite not understanding ni un pepino. ;)

    (Paul: Azucar=sugar, which was Celia Cruz's catchphrase, well, word. I added, "canela"= cinammon, and then started to sing the unofficial Cuban National Anthem, Guantanamera :)

    There were great lessons for America on the thirst for Freedom and it's value. If you are able to share memories, that would make great reading and understanding, It was a hard time for you but a wonderful time for America.
    Now, I have to go read all those links.


    I hope that one from Google worked. I have to check it.

    Thanks for reading them, Paul. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 03:41:00 am GMT-5  

  • (Ooh, Robert -- I like your skyline avatar on the comments section)

    Great stuff Victoria. We now have the honor of sharing a post on Babalu Blog!

    Thanks my dear fellow soccer-loving blogger. :)

    I didn't realise that Robert was you Robert!

    Totally agree on Timoney. We need more tough good guys like him protecting us from all the garbage out there.

    Well, despite Coco Loco's mayoral style, Joe Carollo's decision panned out (it was he that hired Timoney, no?).

    Let's see what happens to the proposed condo next to the tower.

    Yeah...I'm kinda worried about that.

    It looks like another Centrust Bldg. Wedding Cake monstrosity (although I do like it at night, when its lit up, admittedly).

    Still, if IM Pei could put a glass pyramid in front of the Louvre, I guess we can tolerate a high-rise condo around the Freedom Tower...just.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 03:44:00 am GMT-5  

  • Sure Victoria. Do you want it here or will you be doing a special "Coming to America" post?

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Dec 02, 10:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yep, there's only one crazy Cuban-American blogger named Robert out there (at least that we know of). Val was nice enough to "hire" me as a contributing writer to Babalu a few months back.

    Not totally surprised by the decision to build the condo behind the tower, although quite a bit of modifications were made to the original plans.

    I'll be posting on this over at 26th Parallel

    By Blogger Robert, at Fri Dec 02, 01:24:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh BTW, I posted my story on Babalu right after Val's initial post which described your post as "pretty much nailed it". Val saw my post and decided to merge our posts. I initally referred to Val's first post, but had to remove the reference after he merged our posts.

    I'm sure he still thinks your post was right on! ;)

    By Blogger Robert, at Fri Dec 02, 01:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Great investment opportunity at Costa Rica Pacific Coast, Preconstruction condos in costa rica ,
    Condo sales in costa rica, Retirement property in costa rica. Visit us for more info at: http://www.ramadajaco.com/

    By Blogger Omar Cruz, at Fri Mar 09, 05:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The latest in crazy downtown buildup seems to be that developers now have their eye on the freedom tower property.Well, nevermind “have their eye on.” Actually, march madness they’ve bought the damned thing, and are on the cusp of getting the city commission to approve a plan to tear off the large building that surrounds the tower, and build a huge condo with a little sliver cut out of it for the tower to sit in. If you squint at the picture you’ll see the little tower, with the building looming over and around it.
    http://www.enterbet.com

    By Blogger Stivel Velasquez, at Fri Mar 07, 11:25:00 am GMT-5  

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