Lincoln Road: It's "Ironic"
I just finished Jim Mullin's wonderful take on the new Lincoln Road ("Lincoln Road Miracle: From Scruffy Derelict to Enchanting Shoppers' Paradise," April 29). The only problem is that some people won't understand the irony!

As a merchant there for the past seven years, I have lived through it all and am dismayed at what is happening. I hope those of us who toiled and created the atmosphere that brought all the "biggies" to the Road will be missed. Mullin said it all.

Barbara Gillman
Miami Beach

Lincoln Road: Bongos for Bozos
Who needs a Bongos Cuban Cafe on Lincoln Road when we already have great places for Cuban food like David's Cafe II. By the way I would hate to see an Olive Garden restaurant on the Road. If I want processed food, there is always the frozen section at Publix.

Lincoln Road is special like Las Olas, not a tourist spot like Bayside Marketplace. Bongos will be a great addition to downtown, the new American Airlines arena, and Bayside.

A.J. Gonzalez
Miami Beach

Lincoln Road: So Go Ahead, Move to Aventura
Is Jim Mullin serious? I'm really pleased to read a positive opinion of the progress made on Lincoln Road, and I hope I don't sound like a "sneering elitist," but unlike Mr. Mullin, I just can't get that excited by the "enticing presence of Banana Republic, the Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, and the Gap." I can shop through their catalogues. And Mr. Mullin is so right, you can find them at any mall in the country.

What is enticing to me is the cool kitchenware at, and the eclectic assortment of garden equipment at Atlantic Yard Company. As for hamburgers, why say "Johnny Rockets" when you can order the "U.S. 1 Burger" at Balans? And when it comes to pasta, Mr. Mullin must be kidding about wanting an Olive Garden. There's not enough space, even in New Times, to list all the eateries on Lincoln Road where you will find cheap and toothsome pasta. Did I mention Joffrey's Coffee Company? When I go there, I know I'm on Lincoln Road; when I'm at Starbucks, I could be anywhere.

As for the Gap and Banana Republic, should Mr. Mullin really need a pair of those wrinkled khakis with the shallow pockets, I'll sell him the five pair I was dumb enough to buy, or he can trek over to the Collins Avenue Gap outlet. Just take the ElectroWave shuttle down Washington Avenue and walk one block east.

No, Jim, if we had wanted Aventura, we would have moved to Aventura. It was Lincoln Road we wanted, with Romero Britto (so please don't give us a Disney store), and yes, even Mosley's, which has been there through it all (so don't give us Linens 'N Things).

I honestly hope developer Michael Comras is right and that the Road will benefit by having a proper balance of national, regional, and local tenants. I don't presume to speak for the merchants, but I will continue to support the locals if he doesn't mind.

As for the Regal Cinemas, I'll reserve judgment till I see how it feels to sit in one of their theaters. I just hope the developers figure out some better way to handle the parking problem than they did at the Shops at Sunset Place, if what I've read has any validity.

Norman S. Levy
Miami Beach

Lincoln Road: And What's So Bad about Vanilla?
Innovative? Exciting? I really think Jim Mullin has lost his edge. His gushing about the mallification of Lincoln Road, complete with multiplex, leads me to believe the guy who writes for such a cutting-edge paper has gone dull.

The charm of the Road has always been the unexpected things you would encounter each and every time you went shopping there. The range of retail presented a welcome relief from the vanilla of the overabundance of shopping malls in Miami-Dade.

A year ago, when I was making one of my frequent shopping trips to the Road looking for the unique and unusual, I spotted a Brookstone lurking on a corner near the east end of the mall. My stomach turned a bit and I realized that the days of true innovations in shopping were coming to an end.

There seems to be hope, however. Recently while cruising north on Biscayne Boulevard (yes, Biscayne Boulevard!), in the area of Morningside and Belle Meade, I noticed new shops and cafes that echo the feel of what Lincoln Road used to be. I checked a little further and found that this area offers the sort of thing the Road used to offer: low rent, diamond-in-the-rough older buildings, and a nice customer base nestled by the bay. I started to think that maybe this is where the real innovators of Lincoln Road are going.

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