By Karen Weiner Escalera
Miami is a different place than when I moved here 15 years ago from Manhattan. True, it's always been cosmopolitan, with an interesting, well traveled, international mix of people (which is one of the reasons I chose to live here). But then, the restaurants were limited, as was the cultural scene. Miami was mostly about golf, beaches, boating, and tennis – in other words, sports.
In fact, as one man wrote on match.com, so many people in Miami claimed that one of their favorite things to do was walking on the beach, that it’s amazing the beaches are not like Times Square.
Now it’s a different place. Top chefs from across the U.S. and Europe have opened or are opening outposts here – from Jean Georges and Jose Andres to Alfred Portale and Daniel Boulud. Rumor has it that Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se fame is scouting for a place. That’s on top of homegrown stars like the “Primes”, Juvia, and Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink.
We now have five art film cinemas, one, Cinema O, with its own art gallery space and boutique that does movie and dinner-themed events. And Frank Gehry- and Renzo Piano-designed concert halls, the former of the acclaimed New World Symphony of the Arts. Plus solid theater, as in off Broadway plays at GableStage for a fraction of the cost in New York.
Art museums are starting to come into their own, the scene given a major boost by the annual presence of Art Basel in December that’s to art what Cannes is to film. On tap is a new home for the Miami Art Museum in a Herzog and deMeuron-designed building.
One of the more interesting realities of Miami that is seldom written about, is that the city is several cities within a city, each with its own flavor, vibe and kind of people. There’s Coral Gables, old Spanish and genteel; Coconut Grove, older artsy; Aventura, which reminds me of Long Island, New York; Brickell area, the place for young professionals and a booming new restaurant scene; and of course South Beach (you know that one).
There’s also the Design District, which has tried to be Miami’s answer to SoHo in being a major center of design and high style. With Louis Vuitton and Chanel slated to set up shop there, watch for exciting things to be announced.
There are other exciting areas as well, each with its own personality. To find out more about what’s happening, Boomers are welcome to check out a new blog – www.miamicurated.com – offering a guide to quality food, fashion and culture for the 45+ set.
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