The moment we rolled into town, I knew I wasn't in Kansas any more. Latin music blared all around us. Beautiful young people strolled the streets (many wearing swimsuits -- and we're not just talking the women). Restaurants beckoned from every nook and cranny. And then there was the gorgeous Art Deco architecture we were there to see.
The information came at us fast and furiously as we walked around Ocean Avenue. Our first stop was Beach Patrol Headquarters built by Robert Taylor in 1934. It's a terrific example of Nautical Art Deco, with porthole style windows, a captain's bridge, piped railings and curved air vents. Before the MDPL built its headquarters between Ocean Avenue and Beach Patrol Headquarters, it apparently looked like an ocean liner that had run aground. (I'm not sure why that was an appealing design style!)
The Congress Hotel is still in business and is now comprised of four separate buildings with different architectural styles. The original building is straight up Art Deco, with its ziggurat (step down) details and "frozen fountain" reliefs. Other Art Deco features include "eyebrows" over its windows and many geometric patterns.
this article from the New York Daily News.)
The Miami Design Preservation League guides did a wonderful job sharing a bit of South Beach history with our group. I feel like I've just scratched the surface, though. In addition to the Art Deco tour we enjoyed, MDPL offers self-guided Art Deco tours, guided MiMo tours (MiMo being Miami Modern) and even a South Beach for Foodies tour. And of course they host the annual Art Deco week-end, which will be held next year from January 16-18. As our favorite former governor of California would say, "I'll be back."