Monty’s Miami Beach: Sarah Dashew Live

Sarah Dashew Feb 20, 2014

In the first performance of her 2014 tour, Sarah Dashew will entertain her loyal fans at Monty’s Thursday, February 20th at 6 PM.

Drinks are half price, oysters are $1 and there is no cover for the performance.

All that and a great view of Biscayne Bay!

Jeff Rivera of the Huffington Post:

“When I heard this new singer’s voice, chills ran down my spine. I thought to myself, My God, what a great voice. Why haven’t people heard about her? That’s why I had to tell you all about new singer/songwriter, Sarah Dashew. If you like a folksy-style of singing and really good quality music, I highly recommend her.”

Alton/West Loop Free Trolley Service Announcement and Route Map

Alton Rd - West Ave Trolley Route (source: City of Miami Beach)

Alton Road – West Avenue Trolley Route
(source: City of Miami Beach)

From the City of Miami Beach:

Miami Beach Launches Free Alton/West Loop Trolley Service
– No Hassle Free Park & Ride to Pick up, Eat up and Stock up

Construction companies are not the only businesses operating on Alton Road. There are close to 300 businesses that range from restaurants and banks to medical offices and other service industries along this corridor. Because of the Florida Department of Transportation’s Alton Road Reconstruction Project, these businesses’ have had challenges receiving customers.

In an effort to improve access to the businesses along Alton Road and West Avenue, the City of Miami Beach is launching a new, free trolley transportation service for Alton Road and West Avenue on Monday, February 3, 2014 that will operate through the end of construction in 2015…

…The Alton/West Loop trolleys will travel from Fifth Street to Lincoln Road, along Alton Road and West Avenue, with 21 stops along the way. The service will run approximately every 10 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Sunday. The trolley has a capacity of 25 passengers and has an external bike rack and free WiFi (coming soon).

The trolley service is accessible from several parking facilities along the way. The public is encouraged to park at the Fifth & Alton Garage, where parking will be free for up to four hours with the use of the trolley voucher. Also, a pilot valet parking service will begin soon on 11 Street between Alton Road and West Avenue at $5.00 for up to three hours and $8.00 for up to six hours…

…Funding for the Alton/West trolley service is made possible by the Resort Tax Quality of Life for Transportation. The cost to operate this service is approximately $750,000 a year.

The Alton Road Reconstruction Project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015. Once completed there will be improvements to storm water drainage, reconstructed roadway and sidewalks, and new median, street signalizations, lighting and landscaping.

Miami Beach Scenes

The view looking north from 47 stories above 63rd & Collins Ave, Miami Beach.

The view looking north from 47 stories above 63rd & Collins Ave, Miami Beach.

846 Lincoln Road: Carl Fisher’s landmark headquarters

Carl Fisher Properties building, 846 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. 1936. (W.A. Fishbaugh, State Archives of Florida)

Carl Fisher Properties building, 846 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. 1936.
(W.A. Fishbaugh, State Archives of Florida)

Now that the Van Dyke Cafe has closed its doors  after 20 years at 846 Lincoln Road, we await word on what retailing giant will take its place.

Renovation plans recently approved by the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board include changing the entry to the ground floor space and removing an interior staircase to provide more usable space on the second floor.

What is wonderful about this building is its handsome facade and colorful history.

The August Grieger designed Mediterranean Revival building was built in 1924 by one of Miami Beach’s original real estate land barons, Carl Fisher. Headquartered in the office building, Fisher was said to have brought prospective property buyers to the top of the seven story building to survey the mostly empty acreage that surrounded it at the time.

Within 15 year of its completion, the building was converted to apartments and hotel rooms. Now, the third through seventh floors are again used as offices.

While some lament the loss of the Van Dyke Cafe, we can certainly celebrate the continued existence and preservation of one of Miami Beach’s most historic buildings.

Miami Beach News Roundup – November 25, 2013

Supporters welcome new Miami Beach mayor and commissioners

[Miami Herald]

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine being sworn in at Miami Beach City Hall (source: Miami Herald/Daniel Block)

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine being sworn in at Miami Beach City Hall
(source: Miami Herald/Daniel Block)

Miami Beach bid farewell to its outgoing elected officials on Monday when the city’s new mayor and commission officially took office.

Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioners Michael Grieco, Joy Malakoff and Micky Steinberg were sworn in by local judges.

…Levine promised to get to work by creating a committee to study the city’s flooding problems, and announced he would donate his $10,000 mayoral salary and additional benefits to the city’s food programs for seniors.

Miami Beach: Natural transition or political retaliation?

[Political Cortadito]

It’s natural that the staff in the mayor’s office and the losing incumbents’ offices would change. But the transition seems to be unnecessarily overreaching at least a little bit.

The first one on the hit list seems to be Alex Fernandez, aide to Commissioner Deede Weithorn, who the Levine filed an elections complaint against after the Miami Beach resident sent a letter out endorsing Commissioner Michael Gongora for the mayoral seat and the two incumbents for commissioner.

“My boss told me that Phil Levine wants me out,” Fernandez said, adding that he was asked to resign. Fernandez, who says this kind of political retaliation is one of the reasons his parents left Cuba, promised to stand his ground.

“I’m not resigning,” he told Ladra.

…“I think we understand each other better,” Weithorn told Ladra late Friday. “He’s going to let me hire my own aide.”

Levine still has to approve whoever she chooses. “But he told me he would not unreasonably hold up my position. As long as I come up with somebody…” she said, not finishing the sentence because how could one finish that sentence? “As long as I come up with somebody who likes him?” Or maybe she just realized that the mayor elect is now the Dictator of Miami Beach in charge of determining what is reasonable, just like he wants to determine who is a journalist and who is not.

Miami Beach’s new mayor faces transition from private CEO to public servant

[Miami Herald]

Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher, who is CEO of a property auction company, said the pace of government can be “frustrating” for a businessman.

“When you’re dealing with the private sector and your own firm, you’re used to making the decision and moving forward, on to the next project,” Fisher said.

Then there’s the business of explaining — and sometimes defending — your decisions to the public. That’s a far cry from being head honcho of a private company, said Wagner, the FAU professor.

“A lot of business people aren’t in the habit of explaining their actions and feeling the need to do so,” Wagner said. “A politician has to answer to their constituents on a regular basis, and so they need newspapers. They need media, because the media is a conduit to their constituents.”

Another thing CEOs probably aren’t used to is getting pushback when it comes to implementing their ideas. While running for mayor, Levine was criticized for taking a very businessman-like approach to opposition: His campaign filed lawsuits and complaints against politically active residents who did not support his candidacy.

 Open letter dare to Miami Beach’s new Mayor Philip Levine

[Political Cortadito]

There will be a lot of people in your ear now. More than you expected. Let me warn you about people like David Custin, who you may think you know but who Ladra knows has a history of meddling in city government business after he has elected someone to office. Just ask former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi. Don’t let Custin or any lobbyist, attorney or special interest convince you to put things on or take things off the commission agenda when it is convenient for them. If you are going to pay back political favors — and I would caution against it — do it when it is convenient for your citizens.

Don’t try to control the commission. Everybody knows you have at least four votes in your pocket at all times, but try to let these equally elected officials have their own independence. Try to let Joy Malakoff, whose campaign you apparently financed, have her own voice. Don’t pressure anyone to fire their aides. Don’t threaten to take choice boards and committees from them if they don’t do as you say. Refer to item above about this being public office and not your private business. That may take some getting used to.

Miami Beach Convention Center says refurb is needed 

[Travel Weekly]

Miami Beach Convention Center

Miami Beach Convention Center

Advisers to the Miami Beach Convention Center, home to major events such as the upcoming Art Basel Miami Beach and Cruise Shipping Miami, say it is in danger of “hemorrhaging” business if the aging facility doesn’t get a much-needed renovation.

New roadblocks to a planned expansion and rebuilding of the center are causing large groups to back out of bookings, according to an article in last week’s Miami Herald which cited the convention center’s manager as saying that one group had already canceled a 2016 event and two others had warned they may follow suit.

That group, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, told the convention center that “anything less than first-class facilities will adversely impact the ability of the foundation to conduct a successful annual conference.”

American Crocodile “Rupert” visits South Beach Miami


Rupert the Crocodile swimming in Sunset Harbour, Miami Beach (source: CNN)

Rupert the Crocodile swimming in Sunset Harbour, Miami Beach
(source: CNN)

Rare sighting of an American / Caribbean Crocodile right off famous Purdy Ave. in South Beach and Sunset Harbor Marina at 7:30am on Nov. 19th 2013.
The crocodile was approx. 10-12 feet long and swam slowly around the anchored sail boats in the bay for more than 45 min.

While ancient and awe-inspiring, it also emitted an air of cuteness with its pointy mouth and long teeth. It certainly is not to be underestimated and considered much more aggressive than Florida alligators!

Paddle boarders and swimmer in the bay should especially pay attention to the new “visitor” and boaters please drive slow to avoid collisions with “Rupert”.

Bizarre Sea Creature Caught Off Miami Beach

[CBS Miami]

Large Hookskate caught off Miami Beach (source: CBS Miami/Mark Quartiano)

Large Hookskate caught off Miami Beach
(source: CBS Miami/Mark Quartiano)

A rarely seen sea creature that normally lives at the depths of the ocean has been snagged by Captain Mark Quartiano, better known as Mark the Shark.

…Very little is known about the Hookskate. It mostly inhabits muddy bottoms of the continental slope at depths of 1,000 feet in the western central and southwest Atlantic.

Semilla brings a romantic gastropub to Miami Beach’s Alton Road


The scene: French expats and West Avenue condo dwellers munching on small plates of braised short rib potstickers, goat cheese and bacon croquetas and barbecued octopus. Larger plates include a 40-ounce porterhouse for two and a charcuterie board loaded with ham, sopressata and pata negra. Beers on tap are all local and include Cigar City Jai Alai, Funky Buddha Brewery Floridian and Due South Brewing Saison. The interior is polished and comfortable — perfect for date night or impressing out-of-town friends. The focus of the room is on the stainless-steel bar that forms a square in the middle of the restaurant. One wall is covered with hanging potted plants of herbs like rosemary, basil and mint. Outdoors, high-top tables make the most of Alton Road’s sidewalk views.

‘Waiting’ looks behind the scenes at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach

[Miami Herald]

Waiting At Joe's by by Deeny Kaplan Lorber

Waiting At Joe’s by by Deeny Kaplan Lorber

Lorber interviewed more than 50 Joe’s employees as part of the project, from servers to captains to executive chef André Bienvenu and fourth-generation owner Stephen Sawitz.

Each brief profile includes unique recollections and anecdotes, but there are some recurring themes, like how difficult it is to score a server job at Joe’s and how diligently they work to maintain the restaurant’s reputation.

It’s a lucrative job, with good benefits and, of course, good tips, which Joe’s waiters collect immediately when their shifts end.

“Waiters don’t leave Joe’s,” 18-year veteran Samira Alani told Lorber. “If you do leave, you either leave to start your own business, or you’ve won the lottery.”

Miami Beach News Round Up – November 21, 2013

Editorial: New day on Miami Beach

[Miami Herald]

Miami Beach Convention Center

Miami Beach Convention Center

 …the new leaders will find a host of old problems they must tackle. Corruption, excessive force by police (a pattern that seems to be changing under a new chief) and leftover pension costs.

The most immediate is what to do about the convention center expansion. Voters created a significant hurdle by requiring that changes to the existing center must be approved by a 60-percent margin in a referendum. That puts the future of the expansion into question and thus threatens to put Miami-Dade County out of competition for large, lucrative conventions.

If the residents of Miami Beach consider a bigger, updated convention center a hassle, that’s to their detriment. The convention business is a pillar of the local economy and it has long been assumed that the convention site should be on Miami Beach. But if that’s not going to be the case, other communities will no doubt want to move in on the action.

New Miami Beach commission will have no Hispanics

[Miami Herald]

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Hererra Bower and Commissioner Michael Gongora (source: Mark's List)

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and Commissioner Michael Gongora
(source: Mark’s List)

All of the losers are Hispanic. None of the winners are. The outcome: no Hispanics are left on the dais.

This, in a city where 53 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census. City meetings are often bilingual, and the Beach’s press office makes sure to make information available in both Spanish and English.

The Beach’s first Hispanic commissioners were elected in 1997. Two years later, the commission reached another milestone: the first majority Hispanic commission was elected. By 2007, Bower became the first Hispanic mayor of Miami Beach.

All were considered major strides towards diversity. Only a few years earlier, an airplane had flown over the city with a banner that proclaimed: “Hispanic Discrimination = Miami Beach”.

“I just find it odd that, in 2013, we will be looking at a commission with no Hispanic representation,” said defeated commissioner Exposito, who was born in Cuba. “But listen, the voters voted and we have to accept what they’ve chosen.”

Added Steinberg: “The issues regarding flooding or getting a good deal on the convention center go beyond race. They affect everybody, and I appreciate diversity in our city.”

There were other factors unique to each race that the winners and losers say affected final outcomes — regardless of the ethnicity of the candidate.

Góngora, who ran against Levine for mayor, said that the election came down to one thing: money.

Levine is a wealthy businessman with businesses in the cruise industry. He spent more than a $1 million of his own money on the election, and flooded the airwaves with advertisements — even during the NBA finals.

“Money was used to influence people and convince people that everything was wrong on the Beach,” Góngora said.

Levine did not return a call and a text message for comment. Throughout the campaign, he had refused to comment by any means other than email, saying the Miami Herald is biased and would distort his quotes.

Miami Beach elections leave no Hispanic representation

[Political Cortadito]

“There was a lot of wooing in the Hispanic community. He had massive amounts of people in the public housing buildings, massive,” Bower said, referring to Levine, who was supporting Malakoff against her and who spent more than $2 million of his own money for a job that pays $10,000 a year.

“If you didn’t have that kind of money, you couldn’t keep up,” Bower said, echoing comments from others — which Ladra was unable to confirm by law enforcement but which seems reasonable — that investigators are looking into whether certain people in the public housing units were compensated for collecting ballots from their neighbors.

…Beach voter Alberto Sard said it was “the first thought that came to mind” when he saw the results Tuesday night. “I hope the new leadership shows interest in reaching out to the Hispanic community,” Sard said.

This sudden departure of all sabor on the dais has already spurred at least one Hispanic candidate for 2015: Andres Asion, a lifelong Beach resident and realtor who congratulated the winners Wednesday but lamented the lack of Latino representation.

“I am sure the commission will do a great job for the city,” Asion said. “The one negative side is that starting next week there will be no Hispanics on the Commission for the first time since the 1990′s.

Winners and losers in Miami Beach election, runoff races 

[Political Cortadito]

Michael Grieco, Joy Malakoff, Philip Levine

Michael Grieco, Joy Malakoff, Philip Levine

We’ll start with the winners first. And we’ll start with the most obvious.

Mayor Elect Philip Levine: Sure, he won his race in the primary Nov. 6, albeit with a tiny margin much smaller than that of his slate mates. But he got two of those socios in with him to stack the commission votes he already has even higher. Two out of three ain’t bad. This will arguably help him, if he wanted, to become strong mayor or help friends get a piece of the convention center business since he needs a super majority now.

Commissioner Jonah “Potty Mouth” Wolfson, the architect behind Team Levine who hopes that this win will help him run for state office, as rumored, when he is termed out in 2015 (more on that later). Despite not having the balls to answer questions about his disparate self-proclaimed property values, $100,000 campaign against nobody and sudden rise in net worth, Wolfson is looking better now to consultants and lobbyists and other campaign financiers who don’t care much about those things but just how affective you are at the dais and at the ballot box.

Matti Bower, Jorge Exposito out in Miami Beach runoff

[Political Cortadito]

Micky Steinberg

Micky Steinberg

That leads Ladra right to the concern that many, including yours truly, has that this seeming desire for a full sweep change at City Hall by voters will give the mayor elect the rubber-stamping commission he needs to push his agenda. Malakoff and Grieco will join Commissioners Ed Tobin, Levine’s attorney, Deede Weithorn and Jonah “Potty Mouth” Wolfson — who a few say is looking at state office for his next gig — as votes in his proverbial pocket.

“Levine now has a super majority in Miami Beach and there is nothing anyone can do to stop him,” said Steve Berke, a third candidate who came in third Nov. 6, in a Facebook post.

“But, Micky can be a hero, if she has it in her,” Berke added, referring to Steinberg, who many hope will be independent to the mayor and his slate, seeing as how she may be the only one who doesn’t owe him anything.

Grace Weiss, Joe’s Stone Crab chairman, dies at 98

[Miami Herald]

Grace and Jesse Weiss in the '50's (source: Miami Herald/Weiss Family)

Grace and Jesse Weiss in the ’50′s
(source: Miami Herald/Weiss Family)

Without Grace Weiss, it’s a safe bet that Joe’s Stone Crab might never have become the South Beach culinary landmark and celebrity magnet that it is today, in its centennial year.

And Jesse Weiss, a high-rolling gambler who inherited the restaurant from his parents, Joe and Jennie Weiss, loved nothing more than a safe bet.

So after he married the former Grace Charlene Babbitt at the end of World War II, she became the unseen force behind Joe’s gregarious front man. While Jesse charmed the movie stars and crooners, gangsters and lawmen, presidents, royalty, journalists, athletes, tourists and the merely rich – if not famous – Grace rarely emerged from the office.

Miami Beach Cop Blames “Sexual Aid Cream” for Firing

[Miami New Times]

On February 27, the Miami Beach Police Department fired Casas — who’s been reprimanded for making “conflicting statements,” missing court appearances, “excessive sick time usage,” and “gross negligence” — when he tested positive for drug use, according to his internal affairs file.

But Casas wasn’t going down easy. He filed a grievance to explain how he’d tested positive for narcotic abuse. It’s not drugs, he swore.

Casas’s sexual prowess had been lacking, so he asked his girlfriend for advice. She had just the solution: “sexual aid cream/gel.” So he slathered it on, and that was that.

But then, on January 15, he was called into the Health Center of Miami for a drug test. It was administered by Dr. Ben Droblas. Later that day, according to an internal affairs file, Droblas called Casas and delivered the news: He failed.

 Small-company spotlight: Icebox Café, based in Miami Beach, is rapidly growing

[Miami Herald]

Ice Box Cafe, 1855 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach.

Ice Box Cafe, 1855 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach.

Milestones: In mid-May, Icebox Café moved from Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach to Purdy Avenue in the Sunset Harbor neighborhood of Miami Beach, doubling its space to 2,700 square feet and doubling its seating capacity to 120.

Also, Icebox Café opened a location at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in February 2013, after opening one at Miami International Airport in September 2010.

Another major turning point came in 2006 when Icebox Cafe was chosen by “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as one of four bakeries in the nation to be featured on its “Best Cakes in America” show.

Impact: “Our solid reputation in Miami Beach for freshly made, healthy food and the increasing need for healthy food at airports helped us grab the attention of airport concessions administrators,” Siegmann said.

 Restaurant Michael Schwartz checks in at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach

[Miami Herald]

Restaurant Michael Schwartz at the Raleigh Hotel accomplishes the rare hotel-restaurant feat of appealing to locals as well as tourists.

Its tree-shaded poolside dining area — quintessential Miami Beach — will wow visitors. So will some of the new dishes from James Beard Award-winning chef Schwartz.

Service at Restaurant Michael Schwartz is a noticeable notch above what often passes for hospitality in South Beach. Servers know the menu, have tasted the food and are eager to please. The small things they do, like offering to transfer a bar tab to a dinner check and thanking guests on their way out the door, make a big difference.

The Man Behind The Pastels Of Miami’s South Beach

[Here & Now]

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. (source: Miami Design Preservation League)

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach.
(source: Miami Design Preservation League)

Miami Beach’s South Beach neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists who head to Florida as temperatures start to plummet up north. And when they get there, the first thing many of these “snow birds” notice are the colors: A palette of pastels.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Julia Duba of WLRN has the story of Leonard Horowitz, the man who forever changed the color of South Beach.

Art Basel Miami Beach Traffic Access Routes

Expect horrific traffic jams in Miami Beach during Art Basel.

With a booming  high-end economy fueling the art world, even more people will be flocking to the city than ever before. At the same time, the city is undergoing major road reconstruction on important routes. That combination should make getting around the beach next to impossible.

The Miami Beach Police Department has issued a map to help the uninitiated find their way to the convention center. The smart set will moving around by bike or foot.

Otherwise, you will find yourself one angry art lover.

(source: Miami Beach Police Department)

(source: Miami Beach Police Department)

2013 Miami Beach Run Off Election: Commission Group I Results

Miami Beach Commission Group I candidates Micky Steinberg and Elsa Urquiza

Miami Beach Commission Group I candidates Micky Steinberg and Elsa Urquiza







37 of 37 Precincts Reporting Percentage of Vote Vote
Micky Steinberg 53.06% 3,637
Elsa Urquiza 46.94% 3,218
6,855 Total

(source: Miami-Dade County Elections Dept. All results are unofficial until certified by the City of Miami Beach)

2013 Miami Beach Run Off Election: Commission Group II Results

Miami Beach Commission Group II candidates Jorge Exposito and Michael Grieco

Miami Beach Commission Group II candidates Jorge Exposito and Michael Grieco








37 of 37 Precincts Reporting Percentage of Voters Votes
Michael Grieco 53.67% 3,754
Jorge Exposito 46.33% 3,240
6,994 Total

(source: Miami-Dade Elections Dept. All results are unofficial until certified by the City of Miami Beach)

2013 Miami Beach Run Off Election: Commission Group III Results

Miami Beach Group III Commission Candidates Matti Herrera Bower and Joy Malakoff

Miami Beach Group III Commission Candidates Matti Herrera Bower and Joy Malakoff








37 of 37 Precincts Reporting Percentage of Vote Vote
Joy Malakoff 59.71% 4,210
Matti Herrera Bower 40.29% 2,841
7,051 Total

(source: Miami-Dade Elections Dept. All results are unofficial until certified by the City of Miami Beach)