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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The green tableau of Park(ing) Day

I came across this story in our archives, from September 18, 2010. Park(ing) Day in Coconut Grove.





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Hope you got a chance to experience Park(ing) Day yesterday on McFarlane Road, it was another super Grove experience. As you know, this is a world-wide event where parking spaces are turned into mini parks for the day. It showed that McFarlane can be made into a major green entryway into the village as it was so many years ago. In Arva Moore Park's new book on Coconut Grove, it proves that we need to study history to see where we are going in the future.

In the book, there is a picture of an old, interesting rock structure (sort of a shelter) at the end of McFarlane Road, right on the water, which was a memorial to Flora McFarlane, a Grove pioneer, whose family McFarlane Road is named after. It must have been seen from the long expanse of McFarlane Road all the way from Grand Avenue down to the bay, because at that time, it was all a large open, green area. The structure was installed in 1920 and destroyed in the 1926 Hurricane, so it didn't last long, but my point is that McFarlane Road was a major green artery, which worked in conjunction with the bay at the very end of the road.


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But back to yesterday. The day started out early with the volunteers showing up first. At left, artist Nancy Martini got there at the crack of dawn with her art supplies. At right, AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt ties on Nicky Prince's green apron for their special art tableau.

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The day proved to be amazing. It just proves that parking spots can be taken away and greenery can move in and the world goes on. Passersby enjoyed it, on foot and via auto.

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The Architecture for Humanity group were an integral part of the day. They installed milk crate furniture and some futuristic-styled furniture made from recycled plastic, which looked like it was made from spaghetti. Louis Del Borrello is resting on one of the pieces below. The Architecture for Humanity group along with the US Green Building council helped with the sod installation, which the Parks Department generously donated, which was put into the spaces that the Miami Parking Authority generously donated.

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At left: Robert Parente with Lili Dones, the brains behind the Grove event, spent most of the day out in the greenery. At right: Allen Plasencia, Michelle Komornik and Jessica Marquez.

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Nicky Prince, AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt and Katey Penner replicated a famous painting, I think it was Josep Royo's "Tea Time," or The Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet.

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Every patch of park had something cool going on from the Coconut Grove Drum Circle to eating lunch, creating art or just hanging out.

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The tea they served was delicious pink lemonade. They served Commissioner Francis Suarez who stopped by to enjoy the event.

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Commissioner Suarez's Environmental Intern, Jennifer Garcia poses for the tv cameras. There was lots of media covering the event.


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And it all started with Mark Schrieber and Olga Cano from the US. Green Building Council, who got there bright and early and worked all day at accommodating everyone with whatever they needed.

By 2 pm, the City workers moved in and before you knew it, the street was pavement again. We miss the park already.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Brunch, lunch, dinner; they have it all at Bice

I've been trying to find a replacement for The Bookstore on Sundays, for breakfast or brunch and I think I found something. 

Bice Bistro at CocoWalk has a new Sunday Brunch which includes complimentary mimosas with brunch from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. Mention the Coconut Grove Grapevine for this special. Brunch itself on Sundays if from 10:30 am to 1:15 pm.


There's a lot of choices for brunch from including eggs, pancakes, french toast, omelettes and frittatas among other things. Prices are quite reasonable. A Frittata is only $9.50; a garden omelette is $9.50; three eggs any style with choice of bacon or sausage and toast is only $7.50.

Other meals like lunch and dinner incluce small bites, tatas style and appetizers from Ceviche to Beef Carpaccio, bruschetta, meatballs, eggplant and more, starting at $6.95.

There are soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, seafood, so much. Check out the menu here.


There are daily specials like Monday's Paella Night, Wednesday is Steak Night, there is a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 pm, where you receive two for one drinks and show them your movie ticket from Cineopolis and receive 20% off your dinner bill!

This is Lobster Paella. 


For info: 305-443-1770

Bice is located at the back of CocoWalk on the first floor. They have a full bar and you can dine inside or out on the plaza. We had a large wedding party once that fit inside, all at one long table. There's plenty of room.



 Picanha
 Tiramisu 
Tuna


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Verizon is throwing a party and you're invited!

Abstrk in front of one of his murals. Photo courtesy Abstrk 
To introduce its new Unlimited Plan, Verizon have commissioned a unique piece of artwork from Miami muralist, Abstrk. Since the Grove is quiet this time of year, it's a perfect time to visit Wynwood to see the work. The art will be painted on the side of three stacked shipping containers.

Abstrk, born and raised in Miami, used so much of Miami as inspiration for the project - the global cuisine, unique architectural style, rich array of cultures, and the vibrant art scene.

Abstrk's work draws you into his pieces with movement and color. 

From his website: "With a background in graffiti, Abstrk's work  consists of forms pulled off of outlines and letter structure as well as traditional fine art. His work can be diverse in subject matter at the same time always relative to his style-isms and shapes. Abstrk's work can be found on canvas as well as walls throughout the United States and the Caribbean."

This new exciting piece of art will be unveiled at a free party sponsored by Verizon on Friday, June 23, from 6 to 9 pm at 2250 NW 2nd Avenue in Wynwood.

There will be free food and drinks for the first 1500 people to arrive before 8 pm. DJ Extreme from TU FM will spin from 6 to 9 pm.

The big unveiling will be at 7:15 pm, Enrique Santos from TU FM will do the honor.

Use the #VZUnlimitedMiami hashtag to share the art on social media. And check for that hashtag on Instagram because DJ Enrique will be streaming live! 


Abstrk with Jason Taylor at a Jason Taylor charity event.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Things that make you go hmmm

So the auction house has postponed the auction at The Bookstore for Thursday. And they have announced they will be open today, Friday and Saturday. I got lunch there today.

Hmmm. Good news we hope.

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We're losing a home away from home

Up until yesterday, there were serious buyers interested in The Bookstore. I was told that they needed to make a decision yesterday or the auction would go on to sell off the interiors. Well, I received notification of tomorrow's auction which will happen. Apparently the deal fell through. I don't want to be part of it, but if you do, it's at The Bookstore tomorrow at 11 am, I think there is a pre-show thing at 9 am. Sad day.

It was mostly about the new lease and cost of the lease more than anything else. The sad thing is that The Bookstore is not a failing business. The current owner just wants to move on now that their lease is up and rather than sign a new lease, the time was right for her to get out.


I have to admit I purchase books for my Kindle now. I've been guilty of going into bookstores and taking photos of books on the shelves and then going home and downloading the book and to be quite honest, I do it for space reasons. A friend had mentioned to me awhile back that the worst part of moving was the books. He said you don't realize all the books you have until you have to move them, so I went around my house and realized he was right. I have books on top of books - on shelves, on the floor, on desks on tables; basically everywhere.

I'm not  pack rat but I like to keep my books. I sort of have a photographic mind in that when I look at a book, I can remember and see in my head where I was when I was reading it. So it's a trip down my life's memory lane when I peruse my own collection of books. I can look at a book and remember being 21 reading it in bed in my parents' house, or there's one book that I remember reading the summer of 1988 at my cousins' house, I can see myself in their backyard reading it. So many books I can see myself reading on a plane, and so on.

I did spend a lot at The Bookstore on food, so I don't feel guilty of not supporting them. I got a meal there almost daily. My favorite is/was the Healthy Hen Bowl, but my own variation of it and I loved their steel cut oatmeal on weekends. So through the cafe, I felt I did support them even though I wasn't a big book buyer.


I never did get them to change the Grapevine Shake to an Egg Cream, even though James tried making the Egg Cream once and it came out perfect. 

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Playhouse in today's news; The Harbour, too

A couple of things in the news today  . . . 

The Coconut Grove Playhouse will be on the agenda at Thursday's City Commission meeting. There is an appeal by neighbors of the city's HEP Board decision to allow for a larger chunk of the theater to be knocked down and rebuilt. As you may remember, two neighbors Barbara Lange and Katrina Morris have retained an attorney and have filed an appeal to have the destruction stopped. 

The county sought the Certificate of Appropriateness from the HEP Board. The county controls the property. Barbara and Katrina speak for most neighbors who would like the integrity of the structure to remain.

And it appears that the "Mall on the Water" may start construction in July and be the project is slated to be completed by the end of 2018. I call it the Mall on the Water for lack of another term. It's called The Harbour and maybe I should get used to calling it that. 

Grove Bay Hospitality Group owns the project. A garage is being built nearby by the Miami Parking Authority.  The garage is now two floors, rather than three but 333 parking spaces will remain. There will be retail on the ground level, which makes the structure three floors in total. You can see the original plans here.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Community Forum at the Coconut Grove Library

Tonight, June 20, the Coconut Grove Library is hosting a community forum, "Reimagining YOUR Miami-Dade Public Library" from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

The Miami Dade Public Library is in the process of creating a five-year operational plan in order to provide patrons with quality services, resources and programs that bring added value to our everyday lives. In order to do this they need to make sure that this plan takes into consideration peoples' needs, interests and priorities. 

You can share your voice on the subject by attending tonight.

Other events will take place at the Coral Gables and Homestead Libraries, June 20; Acrola Lakes Branch on June 22; West Kendall and Miami Lakes Branches, June 26; Coral Reef Branch, June 27; NE Dade-Aventura and Pinecrest Branch, June 28 and the final one on June 29 at the Main Library and also the Miami Beach Regional branch.

For info: 305-375-2665.

The Coconut Grove Library is located at 2875 McFarlane Road.

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CVS is taking over the world (so is Walgreens)

I had to laugh because they start the article about Vanishing New York in The New Yorker, by talking about old New York places always seemingly being replaced by a CVS, just like here! You might remember there is an issue with neighbors over the proposed CVS replacing the Shell gas station at US1 and 27 Avenue. You can read about it here.

There is a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 21 at City Hall, regarding the planned CVS. The meeting starts at 7 pm, City Hall is at 3500 Pan American Drive.

And speaking of New York (as I was in the previous post), in New York, their main drug store is Duane Reade. Well they were bought by Walgreens some years ago. And while Walgreens did not change the name of the chain, they do have a little thing under the Duane Reade sign that says "by Walgreens." 



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The similarities are striking

I read this blog called Jeremiah's Vanishing New York by Jeremiah Moss, and it just came to light that Jeremiah is really Griffin Hansbury, who had been using the pseudonym of Jeremiah Moss for the 10 years he's been publishing Vanishing New York. He was interviewed by the New Yorker here.

But that's not the point of this post. It has to do more with our similarities. Griffin is unhappy with the constant changes in New York City, he moved into the East Village, felt comfortable and at home there but as we know, the East Village is one of the most gentrified areas of NYC and it's an ongoing thing that keeps morphing.

I of course, feel the same about Coconut Grove. But I didn't start the Grapevine to bitch and moan, although it has turned into the Gripevine to some people over the years. 

Griffin feels that Vanishing New York blog has served its purpose and one reason is that the competition often beats him to the punch. I feel the same about the Grapevine. There is not much to write about these days and as for being beat to the punch, my complaint has always been that I beat other publications to the punch, then they take the stories, re-write them and make them their own. 

As for being anonymous, my first year doing the Grapevine I was anonymous, but not for any other reason than that I grew up in the newspaper biz and the story was the thing, not the editor. I didn't really think it was important as to who was writing the news, the news was the thing. I only revealed myself because I tried to encourage commenters to not be anonymous and how could I expect that of them if I was anonymous.

Griffin used to post twice a day, five days a week in Vanishing New York and he will lighten his load now. I, believe it or not, would publish seven days a week up to 7 to 10 stories a day for a number of years! That was up to 70 stories a week, all based in 33133! I don't know how I did it, but I was strict about keeping all stories about Coconut Grove. The archives hold about 13,000 separate posts!

I lightened the load over the years, not because of the work, but I found that if people didn't read the Grapevine daily, they would miss most of the stories. The stories were moving and posting too fast and people couldn't keep up with them. Friends would ask me, "Did you hear about such and such." And I would say, "Yes, I posted that last week." Or they would ask, "Did you hear about this and that?" And I would say, "Yes, I posted that last Tuesday," and so on. So I realized I should not break my back posting stories that people weren't seeing and I lightened the posting frequency.

Anyway, like Griffin, I would like to make changes. I guess I'll publish stories when I have them, which seems to be daily, but may not always be. I do seem to come up with something on a daily basis, so we'll see.

Anyway, I just thought there was such a parallel between Vanishing New York and the Grapevine that I thought that it was interesting.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

She deserves an award

You see this young lady here? Well, she deserves an award. She must be the safest bicyclist I have ever seen.

I was riding in my car behind her on Sunday morning and at every stop light she would stop and obey the light. This was at 7 am. There was no traffic, there were no oncoming cars, yet she stopped and waited for the light to change from red to green at every intersection!

I don't think most of us would do that if riding a bicycle.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Altocumulus clouds over the bay

Did you see the clouds early this morning? They are called Altocumulus (I looked it up). I love when they appear like this with striations. They sometimes mean thunderstorms later in the day. Hope not, we have had enough rain around here until October. 




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Away from the chrome and glass

Central Park in NYC. Photo courtesy NYC Dept. of Parks and Rec.

Someone is reading me the riot act in a comment in the last post and I guess they are right, I am opposed to change yet change is what got me to where I am at now.

I saw a small slide show in the NY Daily News called "When New York City was covered in farmland." There aren't many pictures in the slideshow but it's worth a look.

I guess I want to live in greenery and not a chrome and glass covered place. Is that wrong? I guess it's time for a move. Not sure where though. I'm looking around.

The Berkshires Grapevine? The Red Rock, AZ Grapevine? The Westhampton News? The Savannah Grapevine? The New Orleans Gazette? There are possibilities. I do love Riverhead, LI. And of course Hoboken, NJ.

Ironically, I will be surrounded by chrome and glass this summer when I spend a large part of it in NYC. Chrome and glass. In its place. 



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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reality set in today

So I left The Bookstore this morning with my blood pressure going through the roof. A guy there really riled me up.

I had gone for my steel cut oatmeal and a few of us started talking while I was waiting for the oatmeal. We were talking about an investor or business person coming in at the last minute and saving the place. I was saying that I think the problem is the rent. It might be raised too high to accommodate a bookstore. 


Well, one guy there, who I have seen for years, but don't really know, I don't even know his name, was saying that it would be better to have offices there. It makes more sense for the owner of the Mayfair. I said that it would be nice if the owner of Mayfair gave a new owner concessions for The Bookstore as a community service. This guy eating breakfast disagreed. He then proceeded to ask why the place was so empty, was it the bad service or bad food? All said while he is there eating their food. I guess he neglected to realize it was 7:30 on a Saturday morning and even the most popular breakfast place in town, Greenstreets, has plenty of tables at that time on a Saturday.

By the way, The Bookstore has some of the best food in town, even though the service can be slow at times. The food and friendliness by the staff staff are worth the wait. Where else do they call you by name when you enter and know what you are ordering before you even order?

Then this guy proceeds to expound on how great all the new office buildings and boutique hotel are going to be and how great the wall of office buildings is going to be next to Greenstreets. When he started to say, "And I can't wait for them to knock down that old, decrepit . . . " I was holding my breath, waiting for him to say Coconut Grove Playhouse. But he didn't. He said, "CocoWalk." He is excited for the new office building at CocoWalk.


I thought I was on Candid Camera. Everything I stand for, he is was the against. And he was talking over me, which is hard to do. Everything I said, he said the opposite. It was all about having more money brought into the Grove, and his pocket. Never mind that we are being over-built. "It could be worse," was said. Out of the blue, he asked me if I was against the Home Depot being built 12 years ago. I didn't answer. I guess he was for it. I was against it. This guy was the Anti-Grovite.

When he started saying that I shouldn't care because it's all in the Center Grove, I had to remind him that my own North Grove neighborhood is under siege by developers. The others at breakfast kept their mouths shut, I think they were as shocked as I was. When the guy started mentioning how great it was for property values, I had heard enough. I grabbed my oatmeal and left. I don' think I ever met a Grove resident who was so pro-development before. Office development!

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'll be in and out

I'll be gone for a large part of the summer and I have a comic strip to get ready for fall publication, so I probably won't be posting here daily for the next few months. I may just peter out all together. But if there is something worth posting, I'll post.

When the comic is ready to be published, I'll share a link with you so you can check it out, or if you like, I post updates now at my Tomversation blog here, where I talk about the comic and pop culture, art, etc. I'll probably be posting more there this summer from up north, than here at the Grapevine. So feel free to pop over and subscribe to Tomversation where you can see what I'm up to during the summer.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Village Council meets Friday night

The Village Councils monthly meeting is Friday, June 16 at City Hall. The meeting is from 6 to 8 pm. Here is the agenda:

1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. House Keeping
Approve previous months Minutes
Opportunity for Members to add agenda items
Treasury & Budget Update 
Police / Net Office Report  
3. Discussion Items
CVS Resolution
NCD Review update
Playhouse / Garage update
Grove 2030 Standing Committees
4. Old Business
2017 Elections / Candidates forms
5. New Business

City Hall is at 3500 Pan American Drive.

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Aerial mosquito spraying planned for Thursday

A contractor for the Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division will perform aerial spraying on Thursday, June 15. This aerial spray mission is in response to high mosquito trap counts and an escalated call volume reporting mosquitoes as a nuisance, and aims to reduce the number of mosquitoes within populated areas of Miami-Dade County. 

Spraying will mostly target the black salt marsh mosquito (Aedes taeniorhynchus), a nuisance mosquito known as an aggressive biter but not considered a primary vector of major concern.

Miami-Dade County will provide the pesticide Dibrom (also known as naled), which is registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Florida. The mosquito control flight will take place from 8 pm until completed, weather permitting. The treatment area in our area includes Coconut Grove, Brickell Hammock, Bay Heights, and Virginia Key. Also  Homestead, Florida City, the Redlands, West Kendall, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, South Miami, Coral Gables and Pinecrest.

If the spraying cannot be performed on Thursday, the department will conduct the operation on Friday evening, June 16, weather permitting.

Individuals with known allergic reactions should remain indoors. Beekeepers are asked to keep their bees covered during spraying operations in their particular area.

Residents with questions about the aerial spraying, or complaints about mosquitoes, can visit www.miamidade.gov/mosquito or call the County’s Contact Center at 311.

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The Best of . . .

A lot of Coconut Grove businesses won the "Best of Miami" awards in the Miami New Times. I don't have the list, but you can see all the winners here.

I did happen to see that Bombay Darbar, one of our advertisers won Best Restaurant in Coconut Grove. Congrats to them! And there are so many other places if you go over the list.


I was surprised to see Milam's voted Best Supermarket. I'm not a fan. I run in once in awhile, but hardly ever. I think the prices are too high and I just don't like the place. I don't know why.

Publix always comes to the top of the list when supermarkets are rated. And Wegman's. We don't have Wegman's here, but for years, my mother has raved about it. She used to go to Wegman's in upstate New York whenever she visited. There's a new one coming to Brooklyn, which I'm anxious to try out. The bad part of that is the gentrification. Wegman's is taking the place of old Civil War houses called Admiral's Row. 

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