Foeman has never been charged with taking bribes. He's never committed voter fraud. Nor has he used his public position, one of the top three posts at the City of Miami, to slip influence to local developers or to lobby against Fidel Castro, a real possibility in a government historically obsessed with foreign affairs. Foeman survived Operation Greenpalm because he's a true representative who serves his constituents with solid professionalism. Most days he arrives at his Dinner Key office early in the morning, laboring in solitude before the phones begin to ring. The staff he oversees is the nicest, most helpful bunch of civil servants in the city, if not the entire county. Like Foeman, they work hard while keeping their politics to themselves.
"That was a small space, and I'm too big for small spaces," says drag queen Elaine Lancaster of a tiny bar on Lincoln Road where she worked recently. Sounds like Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond, who defiantly declared, "I'm still big; it's the pictures that got smaller." Lancaster, however, is referring not to her status but to her stature. She really is a big girl -- six feet two without heels or her Texas-size blond mane. Frequently seen on the arm of old Texas buddy Dennis Rodman, she arrived in Miami from Dallas nearly two years ago. You can catch her hostessing at Tuesday's "Revolution" at Red Square restaurant, Wednesday's "World Famous $1000 Strip Contest" at Warsaw, and Fridays and Saturdays at Bar Room. In her syrupy Southern accent, she's raconteur, comedienne, diplomat, and self-deprecating commentator on world events. But more than just the hostess with the mostest, Lancaster (a.k.a. James Davis) is a wiz at out-illusioning her fellow gender illusionists by doing some mean lip-synching. Batting her eyelashes, casting sidelong glances, smiling widely, wooing the crowd with her many expressions, it's no wonder she's been featured on television and in movies several times, has her own column in miamigo magazine, and lately has enlisted the services of an agent to advance her career. This diva is a glamazon who's got the goods to take her straight to superstardom.
Allapattah has always been there, right in the heart of Miami, a diverse and often picturesque twenty or so square blocks. But we don't really know what Allapattah is all about. Yes, it's one of those inner-city neighborhoods that used to be rich and white and is now poor and minority. But such a great mix: about 40,000 Nicaraguans, Cubans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Colombians, Hondurans, and African Americans. They live between NW 7th and 27th avenues, from 20th Street north to 38th Street. Perhaps the most important landmarks in Allapattah are internationally known Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Veterans' Administration Hospital, Sylvester Cancer Center, and other medical institutions. But to get a real feel for Allapattah, check out the warehouse and garment district, which includes a legendary produce market. Stroll down NW Seventeenth Avenue, a day-and-night festival of mainly Dominican cafeterías, shops, botánicas, and bakeries. Visit the Wilfredo Vasquez boxing gym just a block away from Jackson Senior High. Cruise along the many residential streets lined with brightly painted 30- and 40-year-old bungalows. And for the record: That Burger King on 27th Avenue at 36th Street is the first BK to open in the United States.
From the outside the Ziff Museum looks like an ordinary synagogue, but when you step inside and feel the bright sunlight streaming through the 80 stained-glass windows, you sense a vitality that comes from more than this building having once been a house of worship. Before there was a museum, there was a traveling exhibition called "MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida." Organized as a statewide project, "MOSAIC" comprises photographs, artifacts, and oral histories that depict the Jewish presence in South Florida since 1763. From 1990 to 1994 the exhibition toured thirteen cities around the nation. Its immense popularity persuaded organizers to find it a permanent home, which expanded into the idea of building the South's first Jewish museum. The site: the former Beth Jacob Synagogue, which had housed Miami Beach's first Jewish congregation and provided a symbolic reminder of the days when Miami Beach Jews were restricted to living south of Fifth Street. Long in disrepair and almost done in by the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, the building was given a two-year, $1.5 million restoration, a million of which came from Sunglass Hut mogul Sanford L. Ziff. Opened in the spring of 1995, the museum has since hosted an array of fascinating exhibitions, including photographer Neil Folberg's stunning images of historic synagogues around the world; a thought-provoking examination of Birobidzhan, the Jewish Autonomous Region created by Joseph Stalin in the late Twenties; and entertaining and informative looks at Jewish life in Miami Beach. A lively series of lectures and programs accompany each showing and have featured readings, scholarly discussions, music by klezmer bands, and recollections from long-time South Florida residents. Its past life as a synagogue serves the museum quite well, for it's indeed a place to contemplate and appreciate what it means to be Jewish -- for members of the faith and others.

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Artist-turned-dealer Fred Snitzer is the godfather of Miami's contemporary art scene. He has outlasted art-world fads and real estate trends, persevering when others have grown discouraged with the local audience and art market. "It's frustrating," says the Philadelphia native, who first opened a gallery here two decades ago and for the past two years has been at his ample, cement-floored space in an unfashionable neighborhood bordering Coral Gables. "Considering the amount of money spent in Miami on fancy cars and big-screen TVs, very little is spent to support or purchase art." Despite financial ups and downs, Snitzer has remained faithful to his vision and criteria, exhibiting daring work of young artists and established names from South Florida and beyond. "Good art-gallery owners take chances and show things they think are taking art further along in its evolution, art that makes a contribution to humanity. I'd say I'm in that category most of the time." And we thank him.

Remember those heady adolescent days when shy, squeaky-voiced Romeos used baseball lingo to clumsily trade stories? Since then America's favorite pastimes have seemingly been at odds: Ask your heartthrob for a date, or catch a ballgame with the crew. It's a needless dilemma, we say. A simple test will prove the two aren't really opposites at all. To wit: Invite your next romantic prospect to watch the Fish. So what if Pro Player is practically in Broward? The drive north will allow you to compare musical tastes, a key early indicator of courtship success. Go Dutch on an unpretentious dinner, say, dogs and soft-serve ice cream. Sit in right field, where hoarse, true-blue fans do their best to heckle the visiting team between jaunty organ riffs and odd bursts of classic rock. The game provides an ideal getting-to-know-you vibe: dramatic enough to watch in silence but tame enough to ignore altogether if the conversation really gets going. And no one will notice if, amid the roar of a big play, you make it to first base.
From the Miami Herald, February 26, 1999: "A graphic that accompanied a Thursday story about the Delano Hotel contained two errors. The Delano is not being accused of illegal liquor sales. And the hotel is located on the Atlantic Ocean, not the Pacific."
Before booty-shaking, before Frappuccino, before IMAX, before 24-hour gyms there was nothing to do after a long day of hunting and gathering but sit around and stare at the sky. If such simplicity makes you sigh, "Born too late," take heart. The Southern Cross Astronomical Society wants to tweak your inner Galileo. Saturdays between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. the club sets up its high-tech telescopes at Bill Sadowski Park, a site so removed from city glare that even flashlights are banned as pernicious to the night-adjusted eye. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic dinner (no alcohol, please). Admission, Southern Cross expertise, and the stars are all free. Miami may be far from heaven, but that shouldn't stop us from looking.
If traffic is a little slow on NE Second Avenue, blame it on two giant paintings on the façade of the Buick Building, a former car showroom in Miami's Design District. The enchanting sight of the 24-by-12-foot portraits of Haitian freedom fighter Makandal and Aztec heroine La Malinche is sure to incite rubbernecking. The works are the realization of the artist-architect team of Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, who developed the idea of creating open-air museums by hanging art outside buildings rather than inside. The two paintings, from Marquardt's series of unsung Latin American historical figures, were enlarged and transferred to vinyl mesh, then tacked into oval-shaped recesses in the façade. Commissioned for the Dacra Realty-owned building by company president Craig Robins, the works are the first "exhibition" of many that Marquardt and Behar plan to hang on the building in order to "suggest the possibility of the fantastic as part of everyday life." Sure beats a fresh coat of paint.
It's something of a looking glass: You enter one of Miami's tougher, more impoverished neighborhoods and find yourself in the Bahamas during a wildly fun street party. Dreamed up 22 years ago by musician Billy Rolle and some friends, Goombay commemorates and celebrates the history and culture of the first black settlers in South Florida. Each June the area around Grand Avenue and Douglas Road fills with celebrants (organizers claim more than a half-million visitors each year); music (three stages plus parades); arts and crafts (straw hats, figurines, shell craft, and plenty more). An undercurrent of energy runs through the affair, enlivened by the parading junkanoos, who are musically abetted by the Royal Bahamas Police Band, R&B singers, hip-hoppers, and others. Some 300 vendors line the streets with kiosks full of sundry souvenirs and every type of island food. Here you can find the finest conch salad and fritters outside Nassau. This festival stands out as a vibrant ode to those brave pioneers from the Caribbean and as a joyful indulgence in island culture. And that conch salad ...

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®