Miami Icons: American Airlines Arena, Home of the White Hot Heat

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San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Carolina del Busto argues that the American Airlines Arena has earned its icon status.

Other cities are often defined by their sports teams and the structures that house these games. One can't think of Boston without thinking of Fenway Park, or New York without Yankee Stadium. In Miami, where one team reigns supreme, it's the American Airlines Arena.

It's the kind of building that deserves a love letter. Here's mine.

See also: Miami Icons: The Freedom Tower Welcomed Cubans to America

Dear AAA,

With your pearly-white curves and tall, arching posture, you are like a modern seashell romantically perched by the bay. The way you command Biscayne Boulevard like a knight leading his cavalry into war is breathtaking. You call yourself the home of fire - a heat so scorching it's a wonder your walls still stand.

You, American Airlines Arena, are a structure that defines the Miami skyline. Other buildings need to reach higher and higher to get noticed in the cluster of skyscrapers downtown; you simply sit by the sea, your relevance to this city assured.

The leafy foliage that adorns your entrance and waves in the breeze reflect our city's vibrant, tropical culture. It blends seamlessly with the blue of the sky and the white of your armor. The Miami palm trees, which distinctly appear on all sorts of traveling posts, beautifully line your entryway.

Arena of the airwaves, you are not only relevant a few months of the year, when orange and black balls bounce within your waxy walls. Rather you keep the city entertained 24-7-365. With performers performing, singers singing, dancers dancing: you house only the purest forms of delight. Drivers passing by look to your giant, light-up screen, a true spectacle.

Although your tough exterior cannot truthfully be described as romantic, your surroundings are filled with lovers -- of sports, of culture, of commerce. From the bustling Bayside Marketplace to yet another Miami icon that sits across the street from you, the Freedom Tower, you are in good company.

American Airlines Arena, your silhouette is iconic. May it continue to reign over Miami forever.

Previous Icons:

The Colony Hotel, Ocean Drive's Most Famous Art Deco Building

The Freedom Tower Welcomed Cubans to America

The Miami Tower, Colorful Chameleon of the Skyline

Vizcaya, Birthplace of Magic City Luxury

Stiltsville, Offshore Escape For Miami's Most Colorful Characters

Send your story tips to Cultist at cultist@miaminewtimes.com.

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