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August 29, 2005
Google Maps Miami Real Estate

Earlier this month, I mentioned Google released it's Maps API; and that we have integrated it into our site to create a local hotel map.

The feedback has been positive. People seem to really enjoy searching on the map. We decided to follow up by adding a map of Miami Real Estate.

Implementing a Google Map is important because it helps connect Real Estate Developers, and buyers researching investments in a more valuable way.

Users can browse over 90 different develpments in and around Miami, searching a street-map, satellite image, or a hybrid of the two.

The navigation is easy to use--just drag the map with your mouse, and use the slider to zoom in and out.

By providing un-biased local coverage and a unique approach to displaying real estate in a visual format, has become a major stop for investors seeking Miami real estate information.

Posted by Gus at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

Hats off to Miami FPL

Hooray! We got power. Our online restaurant reservations system is back open for business.

Big shout-out to Miami FPL for getting the power restored so quickly.

After the storm, I thought the City would put all their efforts into getting things cleaned up for the VMA's, but I was wrong.

FPL got the electricity at our offices in Little Haiti working Saturday night.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that is in the path of Hurricane Katrina today. We hope you're all safely out of harm's way.

The Hurricane Katrina page on Wikipedia is frequently updated and very helpful resource.

Posted by Gus at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)

Suge Knight shot at the Shore Club Hotel

Hip hop producer, Marion "Suge" Knight, was shot inside of a Miami Beach Hotel during a post party for MTV's Video Music Awards, according to Miami Beach Police.

The Death Row Records founder was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg and is in good condition at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Knight was attending a party at the Shore Club Hotel in Miami where Kanye West, Common, and John Legend held a G.O.O.D. Music party. Other celebrities in attendance included Eddie Murphy, Jessica Alba, Joss Stone, and The Game.

An employee from the Shore Club told me that one shot was fired in the hotel's Red Room and the shooter was apprehended at the scene. News sources are saying that police are still looking for the suspect.

Posted by Gus at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2005
Katrina has passed - All is well in Miami Beach

All is well in Miami Beach, Florida. Aside from some downed trees, the City fared very well during the storm.

For all you VMA'ers in town for the MTV Video Music awards this Sunday, I'm sure the weather will be fine for the show.

I just took a bike ride around the Miami Beach, and all of the restaurants on Ocean Drive are open for business. I was concened about them, because they face the ocean and would bear the brunt of the storm, but they're all ok.

Yesterday, Michelle and I lost power at 5pm, and it looks like it will be out all weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to our loss of electricity, we will not be able to process online restaurant reservations. If you wish to make a restaurant reservation, call the restaurant directly.

Posted by Gus at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005
Port Everglades Closed, Locals Prepare For Flooding

Port Everglades is Closed. The U.S. Coast Guard has restricted ships from coming into the port as of Wednesday night. Cruise passengers should call their cruise lines for updated schedule changes.

Even though the Local Weather channels have been monitoring Tropical Storm Katrina for a while, for most residents, the storm popped up out of nowhere.

Since Tropical Storms tend to move slower than Hurricanes, officials are preparing for serious flooding.

Posted by Gus at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Katrina Closes Schools & Airports


• Broward County schools closed Thursday & Friday. Check the District's Web site at or call the Rumor Control Hotline at (754) 321-0321 for updates.

• Miami-Dade County schools will be closed Thursday. No decision has been made yet regarding Friday cancellations.

• Monroe County Schools will be open Thursday. Students may be released early depending on the track of the storm. For more information, call the Key West Rumor Control Hot Line (305) 809-1108.

• Beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, all FAU classes are cancelled. Classes held on Friday are cancelled. Classes are expected to resume on Saturday. Please check this or emergency hotlines on Friday after 3 p.m. for Saturday's status. For continual updates, visit or call the FAU hotline at (561) 297-2020, (561) 799-8020, (954) 236-1800 or (772) 873-3330.

• MIAMI DADE COLLEGE announced all campuses and outreach centers will close on Thursday and Friday. Only essential and emergency personnel will be allowed on campus. A decision on the status of weekend classes and activities will be made on Friday.

• Classes will be closed at all BROWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE locations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Classes will resume on Monday as scheduled.

• UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI will remain in session Thursday. A rumor control line has been established at (305) 284-5151.

• AMERICAN INTERCONTINENTAL UNIVERSITY will be closed for classes Thursday and Friday. Please call the Campus Hotline for further information: (954) 446-6112.

• ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY is closed until further notice.

• Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind in St. Augustine sent hundreds of students home to South Florida Wednesday so parents could decide whether to evacuate. The students normally return home each weekend.

Evacuations, Shelters

The Broward Emergency Operations Center has announced a recommended evacuation of people living on the barrier islands east of the Intracoastal Waterway effective Thursday at 8 a.m.

Red Cross Shelters open at 2pm for residents who wish to evacuate. Shelter Locations

Miami-Dade County issued voluntary evacuations for residents in mobile homes and low-lying areas that flood regularly. A shelter has been opened at Charles Drew Middle School, located at 1801 NW 60 Street in Miami.


Broward County Hurricane Hot Line: (954) 831-4000
Miami-Dade: (305) 468-5900
Report Price Gouging: 1-866-9-NOSCAM
Report A Power Outage: 1-800-4OUTAGE


• All Divisions of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida will be suspended at 1 p.m. This includes the Court's locations in Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce. Further information about the status of the Court's operations for Friday will be available on the Court's Web site at

• All courthouses in Broward will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

Airports & Transportation

• Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will close at 7 p.m. Thursday.

• Miami International Airport is open.

• Broward County transit services stopped at noon Thursday.

• The Broward Sheriff's Office and U.S. Coast Guard activated an emergency flotilla to move large pleasure boats upriver. Miami-Dade and Broward drawbridges have been locked down for evacuating cars and for emergency vehicles.

• Tri-Rail will cease operations Thursday after southbound train P655 departs the Mangonia Park Station at 2:40 p.m. and northbound train P656 departs the Miami Airport Station at 3:19 p.m. Trains will not operate on Friday. Passengers should monitor local news reports, or call 1-800-TRI-RAIL for service updates throughout the weekend.

Other Closings & Information

• Sawgrass Mills Mall and Boca Town Center are closed. Broward Mall plans to close later Thursday afternoon.

• The Port of Miami is closed to vessel traffic.

• Port Everglades remains open to vehicular port traffic and for businesses inside the port. The U.S. Coast Guard has restricted ships from coming into the port as of Wednesday night.

• Biscayne National Park is closed.

Additional Links:
Katrina satellite view
Hurricane local statement
Miami weather
Tropical Storm Katrina

Posted by Gus at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Miami Hurricane Warning

As of 9:30am, Tropical Storm Katrin is located 70 miles east of Fort Lauderdale with winds of 50 mph. It is moving west at 8 mph.

The system is forecasted to intensify to hurricane strength before landfall sometime late tonight/early Friday. Hurricane warnings are posted from Florida City to Vero Beach along Florida's east coast. Tropical storm warnings remain posted across the Northwestern Bahamas and tropical storm watches are posted across southwestern portions of Florida. The primary threat from Katrina is from heavy rainfall.

Street flooding is expected and will be enhanced by the fact that Katrina will be moving slowly across southern Florida. The storm is expected to take 24 to 36 hours to move from the east coast to the west coast.

Note: MDCC will be closed today and tomorrow.

Additional Links:
Katrina satellite view
Hurricane local statement
Miami weather
Tropical Storm Katrina

Posted by Michelle at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005
Katrina Tropical Storm Advisory

The City of Miami Beach has issued a Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch for the southeast coast of Florida. No evacuation order has been issued at this time. However, based on current forecasts, the weather is expected to begin to deteriorate by mid afternoon Thursday. Residents are urged to prepare their homes and take necessary precautions to prevent possible wind damage. Secure all loose objects outside of your residence including trash cans, patio furniture, boats and so on.

Please do not cut or trim trees prior to the forecasted storm arrival. This will result in debris piles which could become missile hazards. The City does not plan to provide complimentary debris collections. Residents must call Waste Management at (305) 471-4444 to schedule a bulk pick-up after the storm.

Please continue to monitor the storm throughout the next 48 hours. We will continue to follow Tropical Storm Katrina and will be providing updates as needed. Residents and visitors may contact the Miami-Dade County Answer Center at (305) 468-5900 for more information.

Posted by Gus at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005
Miami singles scene

Each year, Forbes Magazine ranks the best cities for singles. Miami ranks 23rd out of 40 cities.

Here are the guidlines that the editors used to rate the cities and how Miami fared on each count:

Number of Singles - Each city is evaluated based upon the percentage of its adult population that has never been married. Miami ranks 23 on this attribute.

Nightlife - Forbes editors count the number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs in a city and use this strictly numerical rating to assess the city's nightlife. Miami came in a surprising number 15 on this attribute.

Culture - The cultural index is calculated in a similar manner. In this case, Forbes editors track the number of museums, sports teams and entertainment venues. Miami scored 24th out of 40.

Coolness - Several University professors used data on the number of creative jobs and amount of diversity in each city to come up with a coolness ranking. I'm not sure how they did their math, but Miami only came out number 15 on this ranking.

Job Growth - Projected job growth is important to young singles looking to advance their careers. Economic data placed Miami as number 19 on this attribute.

Cost of Living - Miami's cost of living was the third worst in the study. The only cities studied that were more expensive than Miami were Austin and San Antonio.

Miami is a great town to be single in. Obviously, the Forbes list was put together by someone who has never partied here.

Last night, my friend George gave me a tip on where to meet girls. He says go to SoFi Lounge on Friday or Saturday night at around 1am. His words were:

"... the place is overflowing with hos beautiful women"

What is the Miami singles scene like for you? Where is your favorite place to meet girls/guys? Drop us a comment.

Posted by Gus at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2005
Shaq feuds with neighbors over bright lights

Neighbors are complaining that the floodlights from Shaq's Star Island home are ruining their views.

"My problem is I've got this beautiful condo with a great view and I've lost my view thanks to Shaquille O'Neal. It feels like I'm living across from a baseball stadium and that's not what I paid for. I paid a lot of money for this property" says Miami Beach condo owner Kim Suereth.

"I got a spotlight myself and shined it on him last night and today knocking on my door was code enforcement from the city of Miami and the city of Miami Beach, threatening to cite me and that I would be fined $5,000 if I did it again,"

For weeks, Shaq's neighbors have asked him to dim the floodlights, but this is not possible do to the fact that flood lights do not have a dimmer switch ;-)

NBC 6 television reporter, Tom Llamas, stopped by Shaq's house unannounced to ask him about the lights. Shaq wasn't too excited to see him.

"Get away from my house. What do you want?" Shaq responded through an intercom outside the gate of his home. "Of course, I've been told about the lights. If they don't like it, tell them to pull the shades."

The response angered Shaq's neighbors, who said that if Miami Beach doesn't fix the problem they would take matters into their own hands.

But don’t worry, it’s not what you think, the condo owners are just going to buy flood lights too.

"I'm going to buy the same lights that Shaq has and since they're in code I'll have no problem," neighbor Alain Toto said. "I'm going to put them on my balcony and others will do the same and we’ll make Star Island light up."

Come on millionaires neighbors. Let's all be neighborly and find a solution.

Maybe you can find a hardware store in Miami that sells a flood light with a dimmer switch, or at least a smaller wattage bulb.

Both sides should lighten.

Lighten up, get it? heh heh

Update: Shaq has dimmed the floodlights. Thursday night, he came outside his house and waved from across the bay to make sure neighbors were OK with the new lights.

Posted by Gus at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005
What to do if you lost you're pet

The wrongful euthanasia of Cowboy the golden retriever, has got us thinking about what to do if you've lost your pet.

First, report it missing by calling the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. Their phone number is (305) 884-1101, ext. 241.

You can visit the Animal Shelter which is located at 7401 NW 74th Street. The shelter is open to the public from 11am to 4:30pm.

If your pet is not at the shelter, ask to fill out a form and return every two days to check.

You can also view animals that have recently been impounded at, an independent website not run by the county. I did a Zip Code search, and was impressed with the results, but sadly saw no picture of Cowboy.

Posted by Gus at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Baggage handlers caught stealing mail

U.S. postal inspectors have arrested three American Airlines baggage handlers on charges they stole mail headed to Haiti.

In the mail bags, the men found cash, possibly being sent from local residents to their relatives in that impoverished country, where many people rely on money sent to them from Miami.

Bryan Riley, of Homestead, Nelson Rodriguez, of Miami, and Sidney Jimenez, of Pembroke Pines, were all charged with grand theft after inspectors staked out the plane they were loading.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Miami Wiki

CriticalMiami has statrted a Miami Wiki.

What is a Wiki you ask? A Wiki is a web application that allows users to add and edit content, as on an Internet forum. The term Wiki also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website.

Wikis are collaborative in nature. What's great about them is they put the power of Web publishing in everyone's hands.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, began in 2001 and has almost 700,000 user submitted articles in many different languages.

For CriticalMiami, the idea began as an experiment to document Miami's local bands, but they hope to grow the idea to document everything.

I added some content to the Cafeteria restaurant page. It was fun and easy to go back and re-edit until I got it right.

If you're in a band, have a local interest, or know about somthing special, go to the Miami Wiki and create a page.

Posted by Gus at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005
Swap Shop Circus ordered to leave

The Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop Circus, featuring elephants, acrobats and clowns has closed. The last performance was Tuesday afternoon. Swap Shop owner Preston Henn apparently ordered the performers to leave but it's not clear why.

Posted by Gus at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005
Manatee released back into the wild

After two failed attempts, the Miami Seaquarium sent Mo the manatee back into the wild.

Workers from the Miami Seaquarium drove the 1,155-pound manatee to Kings Bay in Citrus County on Tuesday for one more try at freedom.

Mo is well known throughout the state for having lived at nearly every Florida manatee-rehabilitation facility at one time or another.

The Miami Seaquarium has been Mo's home for most of the past year. There, animal keepers worked hard to teach him what he needs to survive in the wild.

See pics of Mo's release at nbc6.

Posted by Gus at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005
Google Maps Miami Hotels

Google has released it's Maps API; we have integrated it into our site to create a map of hotels in Miami, Florida.

Implementing a Google Map was important to us because it helps connect Miami hotels, and travelers researching local products and services in a more valuable way.

Users can browse over 100 different hotels in and around Miami, searching a street-map, satellite image, or a hybrid of the two.

The navigation is easy to use--just drag the map with your mouse, and use the slider to zoom in and out.

Hotels benefit greatly from online mapping. Linking a map to a business profile will allow each hotel to maximize it's visibility. Recent studies have shown that more consumers are researching local businesses online before heading out to make a purchase. By using MiamiBeach411's map, potential customers can pinpoint the exact location of a hotel in seconds.

By providing un-biased local coverage, competitive hotel rates, and a unique approach to displaying hotels in a visual format, has become a major stop for Miami travelers seeking hotel information.

Posted by Gus at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2005
Miami Beach wireless project

Miami Beach is poised to join a growing list of local governments nationwide that are providing free wireless Internet access in parts of their cities.

The Wireless Miami Beach project would create a network providing free wireless Internet access throughout the city by mid-2006.

City Manager Jorge Gonzalez has announced plans to launch the Wireless Miami Beach project, with the intention of creating a wireless broadband network in Miami Beach by mid-2006.

The project's primary goal is to hook up city employees such as police officers and building officials to a secure citywide wireless network.

The dozens of wireless nodes that would be installed across Miami Beach to build the network for city employees would also be used to create about 25 hot spots -- places where anyone with a computer and a wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) card installed could get online for free.

Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and city schools would be in that first wave of hot spots, with the goal of providing wireless access citywide.

"I've always been concerned about the digital divide, where the affluent have access, but those less fortunate don't, and the divide is becoming bigger and bigger,'' Gonzalez said.


"As a nation we are falling behind on the connectivity issue, and if I can make Wi-Fi access cheap or free to all residents, I certainly want to do that."

Other Florida cities, such as Hollywood and St. Cloud, already have some form of wireless network.

Also see: Miami Wi-Fi Hotels, Miami Internet Cafes

Posted by Gus at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Miami's worst public schools

Here are the 16 schools in Miami that received an "F" grade from the Florida Department of Education for 2005:

• Academy For Community Ed
• Alternative Outreach Program
• Cope Ctr North Alternative Ed
• Corporate Academy North
• D. M. Wallace C.O.P.E. Ctr Alt
• Holmes Elementary School
• Homestead Senior High School
• J.R.E. Lee Opp. Schl Alt Ed
• Jan Mann Opportunity Schl Alt
• Merrick Ed. Center Special Ed.
• Miami Central Senior High Schl
• Miami D. Macarthur Sr High, N.
• Miami Douglas Macarthur S.H.,S
• Miami Edison Senior High Schl
• Northeast Academy
• 500 Role Model Academy

Miami's teacher's pets best public schools are here.

Posted by Gus at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Miami's best public schools

The Florida Department of Education released its 2005 school report cards. Miami parrents should be pleased to know that 153 of our 334 public schools received an “A” grade for student achievement.

• Air Base Elementary
• Amelia Earhart Elementary
• Archimedean Academy
• Arvida Middle School
• Aventura Charter
• Banyan Elementary
• Ben Sheppard Elementary
• Bent Tree Elementary
• Blue Lakes Elementary
• Bob Graham Educational
• Bowman Foster Ashe Elementary
• Calusa Elementary
• Charles D. Wyche, Jr. Elementary
• Charles R Drew Elementary
• Charles R Hadley Elementary
• Christina M. Eve Elementary
• Coconut Grove Elementary
• Colonial Drive Elementary
• Coral Gables Elementary
• Coral Park Elementary
• Coral Reef Elementary
• Coral Reef Senior High School
• Coral Way Elementary
• Crestview Elementary
• Cutler Ridge Elementary
• Cypress Elementary
• Dante B. Fascell Elementary
• David Fairchild Elementary
• Design & Architectural Sr High
• Devon Aire Elementary
• Doral Acad. Charter Middle School
• Doral Academy
• Doral Middle School
• Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary
• Dr. Gilbert L. Porter Elementary
• E.W.F. Stirrup Elementary
• Emerson Elementary
• Ernest R. Graham Elementary
• Ethel F. Beckford/Richmond Elementary
• Ethel Koger Beckham Elementary
• Eugenia B. Thomas Elementary
• Everglades K-8 Center
• Fairlawn Elementary
• Fienberg-Fisher Elementary
• Flagami Elementary
• Flamingo Elementary
• Frank C. Martin Elementary
• Fulford Elementary
• G. W. Carver Middle School
• George W. Carver Elementary
• Gertrude K. Edleman/Sabal Palm
• Glades Middle School
• Greenglade Elementary
• Greynolds Park Elementary
• Hammocks Middle School
• Herbert A. Ammons Middle School
• Hialeah Gardens Elem.
• Highland Oaks Middle School
• Howard Drive Elementary
• International Studies Charter
• Irving & Beatrice Peskoe Elementary
• Jack David Gordon Elementary
• Jane S. Roberts Elementary
• Joe Hall Elementary
• John A. Ferguson Sr High
• John G. Dupuis Elementary
• John I. Smith Elementary
• Kendale Elementary
• Kendale Lakes Elementary
• Kenwood K-8 Center
• Key Biscayne K-8 Center
• Kinloch Park Elementary
• Lakeview Elementary
• Lamar Louise Curry Middle
• Leewood Elementary
• Lorah Park Elementary
• Ludlam Elementary
• Madie Ives Elementary
• Mae M. Walters Elementary
• Marjory Stoneman Douglas Elementary
• Mast Academy
• Mater Academy
• Mater Academy Charter Middle
• Mater Academy East Charter
• Meadowlane Elementary
• Miami Heights Elementary
• Miami Lakes Elementary
• Miami Palmetto Sr. High
• Miami Shores/Barry Uni Charter
• Miami Springs Elementary
• N Dade Ctr For Modern Language
• Nathan B. Young Elem.
• New World School Of The Arts
• North Beach Elementary
• North Glade Elementary
• North Hialeah Elementary
• North Twin Lakes Elem.
• Oak Grove Elementary
• Ojus Elementary
• Olinda Elementary
• Oliver Hoover Elementary
• Olympia Heights Elementary
• Palm Lakes Elementary
• Palm Springs Elementary
• Palm Springs North Elem.
• Palmetto Elementary
• Palmetto Middle
• Parkway Elementary
• Paul W. Bell Middle School
• Perrine Elementary
• Phyllis R. Miller Elementary
• Pinecrest Academy Charter
• Pinecrest Elementary
• Pinecrest Preparatory Academy
• Redland Elementary
• Redondo Elementary
• Renaissance Elementary Charter
• Rockway Elementary
• Rockway Middle
• Royal Green Elementary
• Royal Palm Elementary
• Ruth K. Broad-Bay Harbor Elementary
• Scott Lake Elementary
• Seminole Elementary
• Skyway Elementary School
• Snapper Creek Elementary
• South Hialeah Elementary
• South Miami Elementary
• South Miami Heights
• South Miami Middle School
• South Pointe Elementary
• Southside Elementary
• Southwood Middle
• Springview Elementary
• Sunset Elementary
• Sunset Park Elementary
• Sweetwater Elementary
• Sylvania Heights Elementary
• Treasure Island Elem.
• Twin Lakes Elementary
• Van E. Blanton Elementary
• Village Green Elementary
• Vineland Elementary
• Virginia Boone-Highland Oaks
• Wesley Matthews Elementary
• West Laboratory Elem.
• Whispering Pines Elementary
• William Lehman Elementary
• Winston Park Elementary
• Youth Co-Op Charter
• Zora Neale Hurston Elementary

Unfortunately, Miami did have 16 schools receive an “F” grade this year.

Posted by Gus at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005
Traffic cameras in Miami on I-95

I had no idea there were so many traffic cameras along I-95. Below is a list of highway webcams in Miami, FL. The Hearld web cam pictures will automatically update every three minutes:

I-95 & NW 213th St.
I-95 & Ives Dairy Rd.
I-95 & NW 196th St.
I-95 & NW 176th St.
I-95 & NW 151 St.
I-95 & NW 135th St.
I-95 & NW 124th St.
I-95 & NW 119th St.
I-95 & NW 103 St.
I-95 & NW 93rd St.
I-95 & NW 79th St.
I-95 & NW 75th St.
I-95 & NW 62nd St.
I-95 & NW 52nd St.
I-95 & NW SR112
I-95 & NW 35th St.
I-95 & NW 29th St.
I-95 & NW 20th St.
I-95 & NW 17th St.
I-95 & NW 13th St.
I-95 & NW 4th St.
I-95 & NW 3rd St.
I-95 & SW 8th St.
I-95 & SW 18th Rd.
I-95 & SW 28th Rd.
US-1 & SW 17th Ave.

The highway and city traffic in Miami, Florida isn't the worst I've experienced, but it's getting more congested evryday. I'd definitly be checking these cameras out beofre I skipped out of the office and jumped on the freeway.

My favorite freeway web cam shot is I-95 & SW 8th St. What's your favorite traffic camera in Miami? Post a comment.

Update: I just noticed the webcam pictures are color during the day and turn black and white at night. Cool

Posted by Gus at 07:51 PM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2005
New bells and whistles are on the way

Sorry for the light posting these last few weeks. We're adding lot's of new bells, whistles, chutes, ladders, tools, and gizmos to the site.

The posting of local news will pick up shortly. Stay tuned :)

Posted by Gus at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005
Ricky Williams is back in Miami

The NFL has cleared running back Ricky Williams to return to the Miami Dolphins, in time for him to show up to the team's training camp that starts Sunday.

Williams abruptly retired last July, just before training camp, amid speculation of a failed drug test for marijuana. He took the year off, a move that triggered one of the worst seasons in Miami history.

If smoking marijuana is supposed to make you lazy, this sure wasn't the case with Ricky. I used to see him working out in the afteroon on the Beach. I've never seen anyone train that hard before.

He always trained by himself. Come to think of it, they say marijuana also makes you anti-social, so maybe there is some truth there, but Running Backs don't get paid to be the life of the party.

I'm happy he's back.

Source: nbc6

Posted by Gus at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005
Google Maps - Miami Fire/Rescue Incidents combines data from fire and rescue events across the country with the Google Map. The Miami-Dade County feed is refreshed every 10 minutes. Users can also search by street, and setup alerts, to be notified when incidents happen on streets they wish to monitor.

Future additions will include city-based RSS police/fire/911 feeds, and radius-searching.

Posted by Michelle at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005
Gerry Kelly resigns from State Nightclub

Gerry Kelly, a longtime veteran of the South Beach nightlife scene, has resigned from his partnership in the State nightclub on Lincoln Road.

In an email, Kelly, writes that he is resigning:

"to develop `SHINE' a new entertainment concept within the Shelborne Hotel."

Kelly said he would be a partner with Shelborne co-owner Jon Cowan, the former music director of Groove Jet and former owner of Nerve, in the venture.

Kelly also writes:

"I will keep you all posted as renovations are completed and we announce our opening dates in November."

Gerry's cool. We wish him best of luck with his new venture.

Posted by Gus at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

Rules for Hotels special events

The Miami Beach City Commission has approved new guidelines for special events. Among its provisions: a key clarification allowing hotels to host some types of events without requiring additional permits.

The new guidelines formally established that common events such as weddings, bar mitzvahs and proms were part of the normal functioning of a hotel and required no additional permits.

In addition, the revisions limit each hotel applicant to five events a year. The changes also impose immediate fines for permit violations and tighten the limitations on which organizations were eligible for waivers of the special events fees.

You can find out about fees and application requirements from the City if Miami Beach's Special Events Division.

For more information contact the Miami Beach Special Events Division at (305) 604-2489.


Posted by Gus at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

Events in Miami

Looking for somthing to do? We've recently added a number of upcoming events to our Miami events calendar. Be sure to check it out!

Posted by Gus at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005
Cuban migrants found near causeway

Officials said eight migrants, including a 4-year-old boy, were found sitting along the Rickenbacker Causeway at 6:30am Wednesday.

The migrants said they left from the east coast of Cuba Tuesday morning and arrived in Florida Wednesday.

The Coast Guard released statistics showing officers have made over 4,600 interceptions at sea this year. Of those, 1,331 were Cuban migrants.

The Coast Guard says in 2001, 777 Cubans were intercepted at sea. In 2004, nearly 1,500 were picked up before reaching the coast.

See pictures at nbc6.

Posted by Gus at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

America's fastest-growing cities

The US Census has released their list of America's fastest-growing cities and not surprisingly, a Florida city tops the list again. But now the attention has moved to the east coast: for years the fastest-growing city was on the west coast, places like Naples or Fort Myers. This year, the honor goes to Port St. Lucie, where the population increased 12 percent between July 1, 2003 and July 1, 2004.

Also making the top 10 list: Miramar, in Broward County, and Cape Coral. The full list of the 25 fastest growing cities is available for download at the Census site, as an Excel document.

Source: US Census

Posted by Gus at 05:32 AM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2005
SunPass Florida's toll roads

Traffic is bad and it's only getting worse.

If you're tired of waiting in line at toll booths, you can purchase a SunPass and fly through the fast lane of most of toll roads, saving time, money, and the hassle of digging for change.

Here's how to get a SunPass:

1. Decide how you will obtain your SunPass. If you can wait, purchase it online at You can also mail order one by calling 1-888-TOLL-FLA.

2. If you can't wait and need one right away, you can purchase a SunPass at any service center located on Florida's Turnpike.

3. If you want a SunPass before you even get on the Turnpike, you can purchase one at any Florida CVS or Publix store.

4. If you purchased a SunPass at a retail location, you'll need to activate it before use at -


1. SunPass users get discounts on tolls. Check the most recent discount offers at -

2. Remember to replenish your SunPass to avoid running out of money at the toll booth and risking a fine. You can set up automatic replenishment for your account if you prefer.

3. SunPass users actually pay less for tolls than those who have to wait in line.


Posted by Gus at 04:52 AM | Comments (1)

Miami Ink on TLC

The Learning Channel (TLC) has set up shop in Miami Beach to take viewers inside the world of tattoo artistry in Miami Ink.

"In the series, a motley crew of best friends open and run a custom tattoo parlor. The resident artists — Ami James, Chris Nunez, Chris Garver and Darren Brass — live and work together to promote the art of tattooing while running a new business."

In addition to spotlighting the artists at work, each tattoo in Miami Ink has a story to tell.

Many people get tattoos to signify some pivotal moment or event in their lives. The show will offer insight into each Miami Ink customer and the impetus behind his or her choice of artwork.

The show premieres on Tuesday, July 19, at 10pm on TLC.

Source: TLC, via CriticalMiami

Posted by Gus at 04:36 AM | Comments (89)

July 01, 2005 adds search by Google

Today I noticed added a search box at the top of their portal saying "Optimized by Google" in Spanish. I tried it out, and it's great. What I especially like about the new search engine is being able to switch between English and Spanish results on the fly.

If you chooses to do a search of the www then no matter what language the keyword you use it defaults to Spanish results pages as the first option. If you change a radio button to “Internet (Inglés)” then it searches the English pages on the web.

Recently, we translated much of Miami Beach 411 en Español. Our goal is to be the first bilingual search search engine in Miami.

It's exciting to see so many of our pages appearing in the spanish results by Google.


Posted by Gus at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2005
Miami night sky

Hella frisch posted his 7 Unatural wonders of South Beach. His list is good. He mentions Pizza Rustica and the Holocaust Memorial. I like # 7, and what he says about the view of the Miami skyline at night:

"Miami's skyline may not be the most classically majestic, but it takes on an enhanced beauty at night thanks to the lighting. There are many great places on South Beach to see the lights of downtown Miami, including the Venetian Causeway."

If you've been to Miami, you'll know what he's talking about. With the low flying clouds and bright orange city lights, there is somthing magical about the Miami night sky.

You can read all Seven Unatural Wonders (with pics) at hella frisch.

Posted by Gus at 06:45 AM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2005
Moon over Miami

Tonight, if you notice the moon over Miami looking particulary big, NASA says it's because of something called summer moon illusion and it is very obvious this week.

Source: Infomaniac

Posted by Gus at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005
Fourth of July, 2005

On Monday, July 4, the City of Miami Beach will hold a free symphony and fireworks display at 72nd Street in North Beach. The festivities begin at 7pm. Don't forget to bring a beach chair and blanket.


Posted by Gus at 03:20 PM | Comments (1)

Winning Lotto ticket bought in Miami

Last Saturday, someone in Miami bought a $6 million winning Lotto ticket, but has not shown up at an airport gas station to claim their prize. The winning ticket was sold at the Airport Service Center, 8701 NW 13th Terrace, state lottery officials said.

"Everybody around this area knows that somebody won here, but the winner hasn't come yet,'' Luis Fajardo, the store's cashier, said Sunday. ''We are waiting for them. Maybe they don't know, or something weird.'' The winning Florida Lotto numbers selected Saturday: 2-7-9-12-20-23."

This was the only ticket to match all six numbers and win $6,000,000. A total of 253 tickets matched five numbers to win $1,508.50 each; 9,441 tickets matched four numbers for $32.50 each; and 133,708 tickets matched three numbers for $3.50 each.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2005
Smugglers caught moving drugs on cruise ships

An undercover operation has stopped several hundred pounds of cocaine and heroin from entering South Florida aboard cruise ships.

"Agents said those running the drug operation were recruiting passengers and employees on cruise ships to participate in the efforts to smuggle the cocaine. Drugs were found on ships docking at the Port of Miami, Key West and Port Everglades."

Source: nbc6

Posted by Gus at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

Google Maps - Florida Sexual Predators

This week, the Miami Beach City Commission passed a law that bars convicted sex offenders from living within a half mile of schools or other places where children gather. This City of Miami is voting on a similar law, next week.

Coincedently I came across this Google maps hack that tracks sexual preditors in Florida. Just type in your zip code and see who lives nearby.

Posted by Gus at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

College student dies after caught in rip tide

Sadly, a college exchange student drowned early Friday when she got caught in a rip tide off the coast of Miami Beach.

"Four college students from Russia were walking along Miami Beach when they decided to go into the water off 16th Street in Miami Beach. Three of the young women immediately came out because of the roughness of the surf. However, the fourth woman had ventured further into the water and was caught in the rip tide. One of her companions tried to rescue her only to be caught by the tide as well.

The women on the shore flagged down help. Miami-Dade County sea turtle observers and a Miami Beach police officer went in after the two women.

The officer was able to pull out the second women, but was unable to rescue the first.

Miami Beach Fire-Rescue arrived on the scene and pulled the woman out of the water. She was not breathing and had no heartbeat, officials said.

She was rushed to South Miami Beach Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005
Cubans try sailing car to Key West

The US Coast Guard intercepted a vintage blue taxicab, converted into a seagoing vessel, carrying several Cuban refugges on Tuesday off Key West.

Source: NBC6.

Update: U.S authorities on Thursday said they will allow the Cuban family (that tried to make it to the United States on a bright blue taxi-turned-boat) into the country, pending a successful review of their immigration documents.

The decision came after immigration officials determined that Rafael Diaz Rey, his wife Nivia Valdes Galves, 16-year-old stepson Pablo Alfonso Valdes and 10-year-old son David Diaz Valdes had documents for entry into the United States.

Posted by Gus at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Drunk pilots found guilty

Two former America West Airlines pilots were convicted Wednesday of operating an aircraft while drunk in the cockpit after an all-night drinking binge.

"Both men bowed their heads when the verdict was read after a two-week trial and deliberations over parts of two days. They face up to five years in state prison at sentencing."

Pilot Thomas Cloyd and co-pilot Christopher Hughes were arrested July 1, 2002, as their jet bound for Phoenix was being pushed back from its gate at Miami International Airport.

Police ordered the plane to turn back and arrested the pilots after security screeners smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Hughes and Cloyd got in an argument over his attempts to bring aboard a cup of coffee.

The pilots split 14 beers at a bar the night before the flight, ending their revelry about 4:40 a.m. — roughly six hours before their flight was to depart. Hours later, they registered blood-alcohol levels above Florida's 0.08 legal limit.

Source: USA Today

Posted by Gus at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Travel Tourism and Urban Growth

Webtracks just told me that we're quoted by Travel Tourism and Urban Growth. They're using parts of our History timeline on their site.

Posted by Gus at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005
Wyndham Hotel from $88. Expires 6/30/05

The Wyndham Oceanfront Resort in Miami Beach is offering rooms from $88 if you book by June 30th, 2005.

"Wyndham Resort Hotel has several shops, a full-service salon, four restaurants, and even a florist. Guests can rent a boat at the private dock. A self-serve business center and 40,000 square feet of meeting space cater to business travelers. The hotel’s quiet stretch of beach is more private than that of most Miami Beach hotels.

Wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi connections) is available in throughout the hotel and guest rooms for a charge of $10 per day."

For rates and availability, go here.

Posted by Gus at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Brett Ratner to direct "X-Men 3"

Miami Beach filmmaker Brett Ratner (director of "Rush Hour" and "Red Dragon") has been chosen to replace Matthew Vaughn at the helm of "X-Men 3".

Last week, British director Vaughn quit the third X-Men movie because of personal problems. The filmmaker, who is married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer, flew back to his home in London -- leaving the movie's pre-production in chaos. Enter Brett.

Posted by Gus at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

Cuban refugees caught on tape

Six Cubans made their way to Miami Beach this weekend, and their arrival was caught on tape. NBC6 has pictures and video of their landing. (download required)

Posted by Gus at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005
Local boy competes In National Spelling Bee

A North Miami Beach boy has made the finals of the 78th Annual Scripps Spelling Bee. Dovie Eisner, 13, beat out South Florida's best spellers to make it to the national contest in Washington, D.C.

To see the list of the words he had to spell, go here.

Posted by Gus at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

Shaquille O’Neal fattest player in the NBA

How rude, the Associated Press just called Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal the fattest player in the NBA.

"Only four players assessed using the body-mass index (BMI) by The Associated Press made it all the way to the “obese” range, most notably — you guessed it — Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal."

I guess he should lay off the computer a little.

Mr. O’Neal, don't let the Web take over your life. I know it's hard. I get sucked in myself, but you've got a job to do. Miami needs you.

Posted by Gus at 05:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005
Gator takes a swim

An 8-foot alligator turned a dip in the pool into a memorable Memorial Day experience for one Pembroke Pines family. See the story In Pictures: Gator takes a swim

Posted by Gus at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

444 arrests, and swimmer hit by boat

The Memorial Weekend party is over. Miami Beach police said 444 arrests were been made. Last year police made 207 arrests during the same period.

Also, a Hialeah man suffered serious injuries on Sunday after being struck in the head by a personal watercraft in Miami Beach.

Posted by Gus at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2005
10% chance Miami Beach hit by hurricane winds

A report by the Insurance Journal says that hurricane-force winds are likely in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Miami Beach and Naples, Florida.

"Cape Hatteras has a 10.31 percent chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds this year, followed by Miami Beach at 10.16 percent and Naples at 10.01 percent, based on an analysis of hurricane tracks during the past 154 years and of ocean and climate conditions for 2005."

That's a one-in-10 chance that your house will at least experience roof damage and that you could be sitting in the dark for several days. If you buy a lottery ticket every week for a one-in-several-million chance to get rich, doesn't it make sense to prepare for a one-in-10 or even a one-in-a-100 chance of something bad happening?

Don't forget about the Florida Hurricane Tax Holiday, June 1 - 12.

Posted by Gus at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005
Memorial Weekend Miami: 2005 Party Schedule

Tonight at Opium and Privé is the Def Jam Memorial Weekend Party hosted by DMX, Redman, Ludacris and Nore with DJs Khaled and Funkmaster Flex. Saturday night Opium's got the Summer in Miami party hosted by Cam'ron, Mike Jones, and Paul Wall among others.

Saturday at Mansion the hosts are Jadakiss and Fat Joe.

On Sunday, Mansion hosts Busta Rhymes' birthday party and at the Marlin Hotel, Twista and the Speedknot Mobstas will host the Memorial Weekend Jump-Off from 3pm -10pm featuring a kissing booth, cotton candy machine, and lemonade stands powered by sexy Miami girls for guests to indulge.

Not so far from Miami Beach is Michael Tronn's Anthem Downtown Marathon on Sunday, featuring DJ Tracy Young from 10pm -4am and Peter Rauhofer from 4am - 10am.

This marathon takes place at Warehouse, yet another all night space near Space, at 90 NE 11th Street

More than 2,000 people are expected to join in the kinky festivities at the Fetish Weekend hosted by Fetish Factory and Strut in Broward County.

Did I miss anyone? Add a party in the comments

Also see:
Hip-hop talent agency opens in Miami (Miami Hearld)
Urban Weekend' Event A Growing Commercial Enterprise (NBC6)
Miami is still the palce to party (

Posted by Gus at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Shaq tracks sexual predators on the internet

Injured Miami Heat star, Shaquille O'Neal was recently sworn in as a U.S. deputy marshal. He spent six hours on a Saturday afternoon with Miami Beach police investigators becoming familiar with the techniques and software that officers use to track down the predators, said Miami Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca. And he spends countless hours on his home computer, logging into the police network and learning the ropes.

This reminds me when Nixon made Elvis A Federal Agent.

Posted by Gus at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005
Nude realtor in South Florida

For all you Carl Hiassen fans out there, take a look at this Miami Hearld artilce about a nudist realtor working in South Florida:

"Nudist Realtor's hook: low clothing costs

Jen Roberts, nudist Realtor, drove fast with her top down.

You could see her hair -- blond, tied up -- and shoulders -- glossy and tan. She was rubbing on sunblock with her free hand and taking the long route to Haulover Beach, where clothes are optional.

She drove south along the train tracks for a while and crossed into East Hollywood. The houses were comfortable but not ostentatious. The yards were big and shaded, and some were fenced for privacy.

If you were a nudist -- and even if you weren't -- it would be a nice place to live, if you had a lot of money.

''You can't even look at a place for less than $300,000,'' she'd said earlier, back at her Hollywood office. ``Prices are shooting up and I don't know where it's going to end. I hate to say it, but if you're going to get in, you'd better do it now.''

In this, of course, she sounded like all Realtors. But not when she talked about the hateful roughness of cloth on her skin, and how three of her first 15 sales were to nudists she met via the Internet.

Last year, her first in the business, she sold a small home to a young family of nudists for slightly less than $400,000, a preconstruction condominium to a single nudist man for $369,000 and an older unit on the Intracoastal Waterway to a nudist couple from New Jersey for $250,000.

Those people were ''in their early 40s, very cool, very nice,'' she said.

Nudists in general are a Realtor's dream, demographically speaking.

''They tend to be a little older, probably a little more settled, at a stage in life where they're looking to buy a home,'' Roberts said. ``And, of course, they like sunshine and the beach.''


They especially like Haulover, where the northern tip is designated as the only clothing-optional beach in Miami-Dade County. She claims the beach gets one million visitors a year, many of them undoubtedly nudists tired of throwing rent money down the drain.

Her own nudism -- she slipped into the lifestyle when she was 24 and is now 37 -- has been helpful in this particular segment of the market, because there's always something to talk about.

So she visits the beach when she can and always takes business cards with her. Naked people do not, as a rule, have pockets to keep business cards, but they often have beach bags.

Roberts stepped out onto the sand, but she was not nude this time. She wore a denim skirt and tank top and kept them on, though the afternoon was hot.

The place was full of nudists -- strolling nudists, chatting nudists, sunbathing nudists. It was strangely quiet. Even the nudists chatting did so in hushed tones, as if the absence of cover demanded manners to compensate.

She approached one Larry Fleischman and gave him her card. Larry does a fair bit of modeling, he said -- nude, obviously, though just now he wore a feathery hat and a sarong. He agreed that these are great days for nudist real estate; he himself just bought a place.

''Prices are going crazy around this beach,'' he said. ``Absolutely. What you need to do is do some advertising.''

''I've been meaning to,'' Roberts said.


She's working on a logo to stick on Frisbees and beer cozies to give away at the beach. She was quiet about what it would look like, but did reveal some tag lines:

The Naked Truth about South Florida Real Estate -- wordy. The Realtor With Nothing Up Her Sleeve -- an improvement certainly, but still annoying.

The last one was South Florida, Naturally, which sounded just about right."

Jen, if you're reading contact me. I want to option your story. We'll take it to Hollywood and make a bundle!

To post a casting suggestion for "Jen Roberts, Nude Realtor" do so in the comments. I'll start the ball rollong and say Julia Roberts. Some might Julia is too 90's. I say no way.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2005
Vulture Capitalism: How to make money if the bubble pops

Yahoo has an interesting story about Vulture Capitalism in regards to the South Florida real estate market:

"Some investors are waiting for the real estate excesses in Florida to start imploding on itself and they're building up "vulture capital" funds to start picking off property on the cheap."

"He believes a market downturn beginning next year will leave some speculators unable to close, buyers in bankruptcy or foreclosure and developers out of business. That's when the vulture capitalists will swoop."

"Some of the greatest fortunes were made in down markets," he said. "A down market sorts out the really savvy from the naive. The savvy will understand what opportunities are out there and the naive will suffer the consequences."

It's a good time to start piggy bank. I predict in 18-months, the vultures will swoop in for a killing. When they do, I'll break open the bank and have a nice down payment for that (affordable) waterfront condo.

Read more Miami real estate news.

Source: Yahoo News

Posted by Gus at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2005
Florida Hurricane 'Tax Holiday'

NBC6 reports the state's 6 percent sales tax levied by local governments will be lifted on specified items such as: flashlights, batteries, radios, coolers, generators and gasoline cans from June 1, the first day of the 2004 hurricane season, through June 12.

I see no mention of chocolate or Blockbuster DVD's.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Catalina Hotel 25% discount. Expires 05/25/05

The Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach is offering a 25% discount on rooms throughout the summer if you book by May 25th, 2005.

"Complimentary airport transportation is available to and from Miami International Airport. A complimentary Continental breakfast is served each morning. Wireless Internet Access is available in public areas. Coffee is available in the lobby; also in the lobby is an Internet kiosk that provides access to the Web."

For rates and availability, go here.

Posted by Gus at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005
Hurricane Adrian projected path

Is it too early to be tracking Hurricane Adrian? The Flablog doesn't think so. Take a look at the map of Adrian's projected path.

Meanwhile, this juicy florida blog also says that that NOAA Hurricane website fans can chill about Sen. Santorum's bill threatening the site. It's still without a single co-sponsor.

Posted by Gus at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Miami Velvet , and the hottest escort of the week

Gridskipper, writes a first-hand account about Miami Velvet, and chooses the hottest Miami male escort of the week. Their excuse:

"it’s near the end of the week and we’re just lookin’ for cheap and easy ways to entertain y’all"

Posted by Gus at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005
Mandarin Oriental new sales and marketing director

The Mandarin Oriental in Miami has appointed Jill DeMone as director of sales and marketing for the luxury AAA Five Diamond city resort set on Brickell Key. DeMone joins Mandarin Oriental, Miami from The Drake Hotel in Chicago where she served as director of sales & marketing for six years.

Source: Hotel Interactive

Posted by Gus at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Beaten man sues Beach Towing, wins

A man who was left with a broken nose, a skull fracture and a broken leg after he was beaten at Beach Towing was awarded $975,000 in a lawsuit against the company.

The events that led up to the civil case occurred on February 21, 2003, after Nasseer Idrisi had gone to have a beer with some friends at the Abbey Brewing Co. on 16th Street in Miami Beach. When Idrisi went to find his car on Alton Road, it was missing from its parking spot.

A friend took him to Beach Towing on Dade Boulevard, where Idrisi argued with Manuel Cabrera who was behind the counter. The cursing match escalated when Cabrera came out from behind the counter and punched Idrisi. Cabrera then kicked Idrisi as he writhed on the ground.

The behavior of the Beach Towing employee doesn't surprise me at all. They have always operated their business like a mini-mafia.

I hope that this is a wake-up call to City officials to end their relationship with Beach Towing and find a better solution.

I understand that illegally parked cars need to be towed, but Miami Beach is an international destination, and everyone needs to be treated with respect.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

Palm Beach UFO

Is that a UFO over Palm Beach? Take a look at the Google Maps satellite view of ZIP code 33409 (West Palm Beach, FL) which shows something very strange. Google Sightseeing posted the image a few days ago, and it has provoked over 300 comments, many from people who suspect it's just a weather balloon. You be the judge.

Posted by Gus at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2005
Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel

A newly formed property group, the Fontainebleau Resorts, announced today that they will build a $1.5 billion, 4,000 room jumbo-resort on the Las Vegas Strip and it will be named after the famed Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

The Fontainebleau Vegas hotel will be built on the north end of the strip, tucked between an old water park and the Riviera hotel-casino.

The Vegas project will have a condo-hotle element, thanks to an alliance between Fontainebleau and Turnberry, which has sold more than $2 billion in condominium projects in Miami and Las Vegas in the last five years. Turnberry has been a leader of the high-rise condo-hotel craze in Las Vegas.

Former Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer has signed onto the Las Vegas-based company as chief executive and president.

The founder, Jeffrey Soffer is also a CEO for Turnberry Associates which just bought the Miami Fontainebleau in January.

The historic Miami Hotel will get a facelift. Plans are in development to turn the Miami hotel into a high-end contemporary resort featuring distinctive restaurants, swank clubs, live entertainment venues, a world-class spa and dramatic poolscaping.

Fontainebleau the company will eventually will go public, according to Schaeffer.

The project is scheduled to break ground next year and open in the second half of 2008.

Links: Las Vegas Sun, HotelChatter

Posted by Gus at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2005
Miami Beach online services

The City of Miami Beach's website offers several online services that assist residents, visitors, employees, and businesses from paying a utility bill to searching City codes. Check them out here.

Posted by Gus at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005
King Tut exhibit in Fort Lauderdale

Three forensic teams studying CAT scans of King Tutankhamen's mummy recently spent months creating images of what he might have looked like.

So, the Egyptian pharaoh is back in the spotlight, just before a blockbuster exhibition of relics from his tomb begins a tour of the United States. The exhibit will visit the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art in December.

The exhibition opens in Los Angeles next month, and already they've sold over 200,000 tickets in advance.

Broward County just authorized $500,000 in improvements to the museum in order to get ready for the more than 400,000 visitors that are expected for the exhibit, putting Fort Lauderdale on the cultural map.

Tickets will go on sale to the public in October. Museum members can purchase tickets in advance.


Posted by Gus at 07:54 PM | Comments (2)

Rolling Stones to play Miami, Tampa

The Rolling Stones announce a world tour that will bring them to Miami and Tampa.

Seats go on sale Saturday for a show October 17 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Tickets are available May 21 for the Tampa concert set October 19 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Posted by Gus at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005
Miami in Top 10 for traffic jams

If you drive in Miami and think you spend too much time stuck in traffic, a new study says you are right.

In the most recent statistics available, an Urban Mobility Study showed that Miami commuters sat through 53 hours of rush-hour traffic delays in 2003.

Below is the list of the number of hours the average motorist was delayed during rush hours in selected cities during 2003:

• Los Angeles: 98
• San Francisco: 75
• Washington, D.C.: 66
• Houston: 65
• Atlanta: 64
• Dallas: 61
• Chicago: 55
• Detroit: 54
• Miami: 53
• New York: 50
• Boston: 48
• Phoenix: 49
• Philadelphia: 40

Cities with the lowest congestion levels were: Bakersfield, CA; Laredo, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; and Corpus Christi, TX.

Posted by Gus at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005
Pawn Shop on the Hot List

Conde Nast Traveler's annual "Hot List." has hit the stands. The list of the magazine's picks for the world's hottest hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs appears in the May issue.

Among them are the Pawn Shop, 1222 N.E. Second Ave., in Miami, which has maintained the 1938 facade of the building's original incarnation as a pawn shop.

This is a super cool place. Inside the club, you can sip a cocktail while sitting in a vintage 1977 school bus, or the fuselage of a Boeing 727.

Posted by Gus at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005
Hotels in Downtown Miami

If you're looking for a hotel in South Beach during Memorial Weekend, serious ballers need only apply. I just did a hotel search for availabitly in South Beach from May 27 - May 29, and the rates have gone through the roof. 2-star hotels are charging over over $300 a night.

Here's a tip: You can save hundreds of dollars that weekend if you stay in Downtown Miami. The chain hotels are nice, and they're just 5 miles from South Beach. Here is a list of hotels in Downtown:

Clarion Hotel & Suites
Conrad Miami Hotel
Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay
Riande Continental Bayside
Radisson Miami Downtown

Links: Hotel Search, Miami Downtown Hotels

Posted by Gus at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005
Cinco de Mayo in South Beach

The holiday of Cinco de Mayo, the 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of a small, poorly armed Mexican militia over a well outfitted French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. This classic David versus Goliath story gives us all a perfect reason to celebrate at one of our local Mexican restaurants:

Señor Frog’s - 616 Collins Avenue
Señor Frog’s invites you to come and party like a Mexican at their Cinco de Mayo party, starting at 2pm, Thursday, May 5th and going on until the sunrise on the 6th! They'll be offering specials on drinks and Mexican beer with free prizes such as “I survived Cinco de Mayo” t-shirts, and a grand prize trip to Mexico. The music will be supplied by DJ’s & Mariachi bands.

El Rancho Grande - 1626 Pennsylvania Avenue
Come out to El Rancho Grande this Thursday from 2pm until 1am, for their annual block party on Pennsylvania Avenue, between Lincoln & 16th Street. The party features specials on Margaritas, Mexican beer, as well as live music and a DJ.

Paquito's - 16265 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach
All the standards---enchiladas, burritos, tortilla chips---are masterfully prepared. More ambitious cuisine includes tortilla soup with cheese and sour cream; a zesty mole verde with chicken, pork, or beef; turkey meatballs in chipotle (chile) sauce; and dolphinfish (mahimahi) with tomato, capers, and green olives. 305-947-5027

Thanks, MBCC

Posted by Gus at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

MTV Latin awards say adios, Miami

As the MTV's Video Music Awards head back to Miami, their Latin American sister awards are moving out, and taking the show to Mexico City.

MTV Latin America launched in 1993 from offices on Lincoln Road. Last year's Awards Show broadcast live to 14.1 million cable viewers in Latin America and on MTV2 in the United States, with subsequent showings on other Latin American channels and MTV in the United States.

But the channel's real audience is in Latin America -- except for the awards, it is not broadcast in the United States. And MTV Latin America executives have long said they would like to take the event to its home base. More than one-third of their viewers, or 4.9 million, are in Argentina, followed by Mexico with 3.9 million.

The Latin VMA's face a crowded field in Miami. The media and celebrity blitz that accompanied the mainstream VMAs' Miami debut at the AmericanAirlines Arena last August cast a shadow on the lower-key Latin version less than two months later. Two of Latin music's four major awards shows, Univision's Premio Lo Nuestro and Telemundo's Billboard Latin Music Awards, are held here. The Latin Grammys visited Miami in 2002, but have otherwise stuck to Los Angeles.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

Student diagnosed with tuberculosis

Students and teachers at Miami Beach Senior High School will be tested for possible exposure to tuberculosis after a 17-year-old sophomore was diagnosed with the disease.

Health officials will test 149 students and eight teachers who had prolonged, repeated contact with the infected student.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2005
Transportation portal to service Miami

Miami-Dade County has launched a new transportation web portal at The site features links to Metrobus and Metrorail schedules, information on road conditions, flights and public transportation, and live camera views of I-95 and the Dolphin and Palmetto expressways.

Posted by Gus at 09:34 AM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2005
Dog shit capital of the world

City and residents collaborate to launch "Pooper Scooper Pilot Program":

"Due to the increasing number of concerns expressed by residents, the City of Miami Beach is implementing a new pilot program to address this issue along West Avenue beginning on May 1. The six-month "Pooper Scooper" program will assist pet owners in curbing their pets while keeping the City's swales, sidewalks and green spaces clean and beautiful."

Awhile back, me and my band wrote a song that addressed the issue; it's called "Dog Shit Capital of the World - South Beach, FL USA". Here is a lo-fi mp3 of the funny tune.

Posted by Gus at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

2006 Broadway Across America series

The 2006 Broadway Across America series in Miami Beach has been announced. The Season includes:

Movin' Out playing January 24-29
Hairspray playing February 21-26
Mamma Mia! playing May 2-7

For tickets and showtimes contact the Jackie Gleason Theater.

Posted by Gus at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

Panhandlers must stay 20' away

Panhandlers on Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive must now stay 20 feet away from restaurants and outdoor cafes if they ask for money -- or face arrest.

Posted by Gus at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Miami Chefs in the news

Victoria Pesce Elliott from the Miami Hearld Dining Section reports:

First the fight, then the wedding
Sexy Miami chef Michelle Bernstein is gearing up for a fight and a wedding.

On Friday, Michelle will team with pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith ( Nemo, Big Pink, Shoji, Prime 112) to tape an installment of the Food Network's Iron Chef America in New York. Their celebrity opponent is TBA; it might be Bobby Flay. An air date hasn't been set.

While in the big city, Bernstein, 36, will have a chance to shop for a gown for her wedding to long-time, live-in boyfriend David Martinez, 30, formerly a manager at Mosaico.

The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Cancun, where Bernstein has been operating MB, her namesake restaurant in the Fiesta Americana Grand Aqua.

Boone is Back
Rob Boone formerly of Bambu and Metro Kitchen, is back on the Beach at Preston's, the hotel dining room at the Loew's Miami Beach.

One For The Books
Veteran New York Times reporter, R.W. ''Johnny'' Apple Jr. shares his takes on 40 U.S. cities including Milwaukee, Seattle, New Orleans, Savannah, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix and Honolulu.

In our own backyard, Apple delves singles out Norman Van Aken as ''the area's most gifted chef'' and gives nods to Joe's Stone Crab, Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Blue Door at the Delano and Pacific Time.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

2005 Florida Hurricane Season Blog

Blog of the day: 2005 Florida Hurricane Season Blog

"Hurricane season starts on Wednesday, June 1, for the Atlantic basin, and goes until Wednesday, November 30, 2005. We at 2005 Florida Hurricane Season cover these counties (Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia)for all hurricane watches and warnings, school and business closings, voluntary and mandatory evacuations and any other hurricane-relevant news."

Posted by Gus at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005
Jewish Pesach life

Avo explains the meaning of Pesach - Miami Beach style.

"We begin our seder by declaring "whoever is hungry, let him come in eat," but at the Miami hotels, there is an extra clause at the end: "as long as you have the bracelet that corresponds to this hotel -- blue for the Eden Roc, silver for the Fotainebleau, and flourescent for the Wyndham. I wonder what cause the bracelets of the Miami Pesach hotels represent. Gluttony, perhaps?"

Posted by Gus at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

City apporves 1,100 new parking spaces

The Miami Hearld reports:

"The Miami Beach City Commission has given preliminary approval to invest $9.5 million to create hundreds of city-owned parking spaces within a high-profile shopping center development.

The Fifth & Alton Shopping Center, which will straddle a city block at the foot of the MacArthur Causeway, will include a public transit facility, 179,000 square feet of retail, a supermarket and 1,081 parking spaces.

You can see pictures of the project at Berkowitz Development.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Fleet Week

The U.S. Navy began sailing in Monday as part of Fleet Week and also to gear up for the air and sea show.

The Navy will showcase its strength in various forms, including the Toledo nuclear submarine that it has brought to Miami.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005
Hotels with internet access

Miami Beach Hotels are adding free Wi-Fi high speed internet access as an amenity for their guests.

Many local hotels offer free Wi-Fi in guest rooms as well as public areas like lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants, and poolside. Other hotels may charge a fee, ranging from $10 to $15 per day. Check with the hotels for their policies.

Below is a list of hotels in Miami Beach that provide high speed internet access for hotel guests:

Casa Grande
Eden Roc
Ocean Five
Park Central
Ritz Carlton
RIU Floirda
Royal Palm
Shore Club
St. Augustine
The Hotel

You'll need to be a hotel guest to access the free internet access in the guest rooms, but the Wi-Fi in public areas may be available to non-guests. ;-)

Posted by Gus at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Female rappers duke it out

AllHipHop is reporting that female rappers Jacki O and Foxy Brown got into a fight in a recording studio in Miami:

"Miami rapper Jackie O confirmed that an altercation took place between her and Foxy Brown on April 24th at Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida.

According to Jacki O’s account, the altercation ensued after she invited the Brooklyn rapper into the studio, known for its amenities and opulence.

Jacki O said Brown entered the studio and had some words for Jacki O, which she overheard.

According to Jacki O, Brown returned to the studio, words were exchanged and a physical altercation broke out between the two women.

“This was not the way I wanted it to go down," Jacki O stated. "I was looking forward to working with her on a song. We are two women in hip-hop and should be able to come to the table together. She forced me to show her who is the madam of Miami.”

I thought Elaine Lancaster was the "madame of Miami".

Posted by Gus at 07:28 AM | Comments (2)

April 25, 2005
More refugees using Fort Jefferson

Natalie Salminen has commented on our post about Babalu's post about the Cuban Refugees Landing at Fort Jefferson. Natalie says...

"Another 14 refugess landed at Fort Jefferson April 21, 2005, a few hours before sunrise. I was camping, and awoke to the refugees looking for someone, anyone, to tell of their arrival."

I guess it's easier for refugees to reach Fort Jefferson than the United States. And since the Fort is a National Park, if a (Cuban) refugee sets foot there, they're granted diplomatic immunity.

Posted by Gus at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

To rent, or to buy: that is the question

After reading Kevin Wells post on the South Florida real estate market, maybe renting for another year is not such a bad idea. Kevin points out two recent articles in the Sun Sentinel:

If bubble bursts, 'vultures' ready to pick up scraps

"There are plenty of projects in Miami where 40 to 60 percent of the units were sold to investors," he said. "With 30,000 new units expected to come on the market, everyone will try to sell and rent at the same time, and it's going to be a disaster."

Profit and peril: Is S. Florida's housing market ready to stall?

"Knowing your market is crucial. Right now, real estate experts fear an oversupply of luxury condos, particularly in Miami-Dade, will drag down other sectors of the market throughout the region."

"Everyone is watching the Brickell [Avenue] market, and it's inevitable there will be a domino effect," said Marcia Snyder, executive vice president of Fort Lauderdale-based Bank Atlantic."

"Real estate consultants estimate investors make up about 70 percent of the new condo buyers in Miami. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, they make up between 20 percent and 40 percent of buyers."

"The market for condos has become flooded," said Orlando-area economist Hank Fishkind, who thinks the region's housing market has peaked already. "If you're an investor, you have probably missed the window by a year or so."

I feel bad for the people who bought pre construction high, and thought they could sell it before closing. It may not be that easy.

At a recent luncheon for Miami realtors, Jeff Moor from Majestic Realty was speaking about the market in regards to buying pre construction. Jeff said...

"If you want to see a strong return on your investment, don't think you can just buy a pre construction condo and then flip before closing. Plan on living there or renting it out for at least 18-months before trying to sell."

At the luncheon, another real estate insider told me...

"My advice is don't buy anything right now. Hang tight for another year. Cash is king. Soon, you're going to be able to snatch up some really good deals."

Posted by Gus at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2005
Hotel burglar arrested

Earlier this week, we got wind there was a burglar breaking into hotels on Miami Beach. A user from Indianapolis, IN contacted us about an incident at the Haddon Hall.

I am happy to say the Miami Beach Police have arrested a suspect.

Daniel Cordero, 44, was arrested Tuesday after an officer spotted him in the alley behind an Ocean Drive hotel.

After his arrest, police say Cordero confessed to burglaries at hotels such as the Chesterfield, the Blue Moon, the Crescent and the Fairway.

The burglar generally got into the rooms by going to the rear of hotels and either finding an open window or forcing one open.

Our user from Indianapolis says...

"on 4/17/05 our 3 rooms (along with at least 2 others) were broken into. The cause was faulty locks on the windows, of which the hotel knew about. The alleyway between the hotel and the building had no security whatsoever, not even a light. We also came to find that the exact same incident happened exactly one week prior, in the exact same rooms."

Police say...

"He stole thousands in money and property from the rooms, including laptop computers, jewelry, and cameras. He is a suspect in at least 15 other hotel burglaries."

It looks like the police got their man.

I see on their website, each month is dedicated to a specific area of local crime prevention. How about we dedicate May "Travel Safety Prevention Month"?

Source: User review | Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2005
Jai-Alai Miami: Staying alive

Gadling has a wonderful post urging us to keep Miami Jai-Alai alive:

"When I heard NPR’s report on the declining popularity of the Miami jai-alai scene, something Cestainside of me grew sad. I may not be a huge fan of the world’s fastest sport or even close, but it does have some special memories from my childhood. For me it was something to watch on simulcast when my mother dragged me to the horse races. Ugh! When I was bored with the horses I turned my attention to the players hurling pelota’s (hard rubber balls) against the wall from the cesta’s (a wicker basket) attached to their arms. I could have sworn it was all happening at the speed of light.

So what? Oops! It’s too late right? Well, even if you aren’t into gambling consider skipping South Beach for one day to check out the sport. It probably won’t vanish overnight, but without fan support or even a tourist or two to accidentally stumble in, it could just happen in the coming years. With all Miami has to offer, Jai Alai is a real spectator’s sport and cheap retreat for anyone looking for a day-trip quickie."

Ok, I promise to visit Miami Jai-Alai, but untill then, here are some links to the sports history, rules, and info on how to bet.

Posted by Gus at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005
Big Pink's blackened grouper sandwich

Jamey at for food lovers has a writen a nice review of Big Pink.

"We ordered a blackened grouper sandwich and the portobello goat cheese pizza. The grouper sandwich was to die for. Thick, juicy and spicy and it was a great portion. It was served with homemade chips. The pizza was baked with goat cheese, portobellos and sun-dried tomatoes."

I totally agree about the grouper sandwich. Some would call it "off the chain", which in South Beach means really, really good.

All this talk of food is making me hungary.

I'm feeling too lazy to walk to Big Pink. I'll make a tuna sandwich, instead.

Posted by Gus at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

Paul Mc Cartney at Amerian Airlines Arena

Paul McCartney will start his new North American tour on September 16 at Miami's Amerian Airlines Arena.

Tickets start at $52, and go on sale Saturday at 10am.

Posted by Gus at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

Florida population to pass New York by 2011

According to U.S. Census Bureau projections released today, Florida's population is set to pass New York by 2011.

Florida, now fourth, will edge New York by about 154,000 people to clinch third place behind California and Texas.

Florida is expected to have 19.6 million people by 2011, a gain of 2.2 million in six years.

Posted by Gus at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Bicentennial Park makeover

An architect has been chosen to begin a re-design of Bicentennial Park into a cultural center for Miami.

The park now sits in the shadow of the new Performing Arts Center to the north and the American Airline Arena to the south.

Set to open in 2009, the 30-acre park wiil include room for the new Miami Art Museum and the Miami Museum of Science. Each building is to get about four acres, with the rest of the land to be devoted open space.

Posted by Gus at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005
Sonesta going condo-hotel

The Sonesta Beach Resort in Key Biscayne has been sold to Fortune International, a Miami-based real estate development firm, for $120 million.

Time to add another one to the condo-hotel list.

Posted by Gus at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005
Miami Airport receives top safety rating

Miami International Airport has received a zero discrepancy rating after FAA regulators concluded a March 30-April 1 inspection.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) annual inspection measures compliance with federal aviation regulation which includes a visual inspection of:

-airport markings
-pavement (runways and taxiways)
-lighting systems
-fueling operations
-training programs
-clearance zones
-emergency procedures
-response time in a simulated emergency

The most recent inspection marked the ninth consecutive year MIA has completed the inspection with the highest mark.

Posted by Gus at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Pitbull at Billboard Latin Conference

Bilingual rapper, Pitbull, will be a featured panelist at the upcoming Billboard Latin Conference on April 27th (2pm-3:30pm at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami).

I like the title of his current album: M.I.A.M.I (Money Is A Major Issue).

Posted by Gus at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Alligator bites wildlife official

An alligator that was walking down the sidewalk in Pompano Beach bit a wildlife official on the hand.

A passer-by saw the wildlife offical in distress, and wrestled the alligator until it was under control. The man said he had experience in wrestling alligators.

See photos at NBC6.

Posted by Gus at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005
Miami biotechnology village

Research laboratories now under construction at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center are part of a plan to transform two gritty city neighborhoods into a biotechnology village — an urban version of the Scripps project under way in rural Palm Beach County.

Miami City Manager Joe Arriola says...

"it will be a live-work-play research community with high-rise space for health and biotech businesses. Plus, it will include accessible housing for the staff and scientists who will work there — all of it a few miles from Miami Beach, the city's downtown and Miami International Airport."

"We're acquiring some land east and west of I-95. Believe me, we're going to create a new city."

The City reports to be streamlining the permitting process, rewriting its zoning, and coordinating planning for the entire region through a process it's calling the Miami Partnership.

Source: Palm Beach Post

Posted by Gus at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Big fun under the sun

The Guardian Observer says Miami is Big Fun Under the Sun:

"A wave of sexy new hotels, galleries and restaurants has got this vibrant city buzzing and a new film of Miami Vice is the icing on the cake."

I couldn't agree more. I'm really excited about the Miami Vice movie. I read that Chinese-born actress Gong Li has joined the cast. She'll play Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of the leader of a transnational crime syndicate and Crockett's love interest.

Michael Mann is an great Director. For those of you who don't know, he created the Miami Vice TV series, and then went on to make some powerful, big budget movies. His films include "Heat", "The Insider", and "Last of the Mochaican", but my favorite movie he made was "Manhunter".

Posted by Gus at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

Miami hotel discounts expire April 28th

Colony Hotel from $122 per night.
The most photographed Art Deco Hotels on Ocean Drive.

Days Inn from $122 per night.
A pet friendly hotel with direct access to the beach.

South Seas from $122 per night.
Free breakfast, local calls, and wireless Internet access.

Posted by Gus at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Loud Mouth Kitten at Senor Frog's

My friend Brooke and her band Loud Mouth Kitten will perform tonight at Senor Frog's. Brooke can rock the house. She goes at Midnight, and pitchers of beer are only $3.

Posted by Gus at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Angler's condo-hotel

Despite my recent criticism against the condo-hotel formula, EWM has sold the rundown Angler's Hotel located at 634 Washington Avenue for a record $5 million to a group led by entrepreneurs Gregg Covin, Kevin Venger, and Michael Capponi.

Home to vagrants and shady figures, this old pink hotel has long been an unfriendly neighbor for local residents and business owners along the main drag in Miami Beach. As if that was not enough, in recent years the property was locked into a lengthy litigation, which all but prevented any possibility of restoring the buildings" says hotel broker Jeff Cohen of Esslinger • Wooten • Maxwell, who handled the transaction.

Miami architect, Alan Schulman, will design two new buildings to the complex, which will comprise 55 fully furnished resort residences, ranging in size from 460 to 1,070 square feet, including 15 two-story townhomes.

J. Wallace Tutt III, famous for turning Gianni Versace's mansion into a Miami landmark, is coming back from his retirement to attach his signature to the Anglers' interiors.

It's a good location for a condo-hotel. The Bentley Beach is nearby and they're making a strong go of it.

Here is a list of condo-hotels in Miami.

When the project materializes, these are my suggestions:

-Don't charge an arm and a leg
-Tie in promotions with local vendors
-Provide great customer service
-Provide free wireless Internet access.
-Provide free breakfast
-Think about repeat business.
-Think about word of mouth
-Make yourself accessible
-Be realistic about market conditions
-Create a community
-Start a blog

Gapingvoid says...

"There’s only one thing harder than starting a new business: Re-inventing an old one.

Angler's condo-hotel in Miami Beach 411's Real Estate News section.

Posted by Gus at 07:31 AM | Comments (3)

April 15, 2005
Regis and Kelly at Disney World

Regis and Kelly will broadcast live from Disney World in Orlando for three days during the week of May 9th - 13th.

Viewers who live in the Orlando area are invited to attend the tapings May 11th and 12th from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Information is available here.

Posted by Gus at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)

Surf report says 3 to 4-foot

Surfline is reporting the waves at Reef Road are 3 to 4-foot with the occasional 6-foot set.

Grab a board. We haven't had waves like this since Hurricane Frances. For those of you who missed it, it got big.

All this talk of surf makes me miss my home break.

The Beach Boys said it best...

"Catch a wave you'll be sittin' on top of the word"

Posted by Gus at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez has extended her vacation in Miami.

"I'm in no rush to get back to the desert. I love the desert, don't get me wrong. But LOOK at this beach!!! And that devlish gleam in my son's eye? This is the look he gets before he does something that makes mommy shriek "travieso!" He loves being ornery. Just like his mom."

Can you blame her?

Posted by Gus at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005
I got swampland in Florida to sell you

CNN reports:

"A man who fought for years to keep his home and businesses in the Everglades has accepted a $4.95 million buyout offer from the state, which plans to restore the wetlands ecosystem.

The deal, approved Wednesday by a Collier County judge allows Jesse Hardy to remain on his 160 acres until November 30.

Hardy paid $60,000 in 1976 for the land about 40 miles east of downtown Naples on the southwest coast, and built a small, corrugated metal-roofed house. He had no electricity and used propane for cooking and refrigeration."

This gives a whole new meaning to the expression "I got swampland in Florida to sell you".

Thanks, to Bark Bark Woof Woof for the tip.

Posted by Gus at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005
Free neutering and spaying

Talk about bad publicity, Wisconsin residents are considering a measure that could pave the way to allow hunting of feral cats in their state.

Miami Beach has a feral cat problem too, but we handle it more humanely.

Pet owners and prospective pert owners should know that the Animal Services Department offers free neutering and spaying for cats and dogs in Miami-Dade.

You can schedule an appointment by calling (305) 884-7729. Before the surgery, pet owners must provide proof that their animal has received a rabies shot and a license tag. If not, the rabies shot is $7 and the tag is $25. If the owner is on public assistance, then both can be purchased for $2. The license tag is optional for cats.

Update: Glad to see these cheeseheads might ban Internet hunting.

Posted by Gus at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

Naomi Harris photos

Boing Boing just turned me on to New York photographer, Naomi Harris, and her honest, beautiful photos of senior citizens living in Miami Beach. The essay is called Haddon Hall. I see so much life in the photos.

Posted by Gus at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005
Apprentice arrested at Hard Rock

These Florida Apprentice-stars can't stay out of the limelight. Following on the heals of the Katrina Campis runway incident, we just found out that Chris Shelton, a member of Donald Trump's "Street Smarts" team on the current season of "The Apprentice" was arrested on Sunday morning at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida for disorderly conduct.

Posted by Gus at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Delays at Lauderdale Airport

The Sun Sentinel reports Lauderdale airport tops flight-delay list.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport had to delay more than 5,700 commercial and private flights between October and March because the airport lacked the capacity to handle them.

"Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was so overwhelmed by the number of planes flying in and out this winter that it had almost as many delays unrelated to the weather as the nation's two busiest airports combined -- Chicago's O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield."

I frequently fly Delta Airlines in and out out of Ft. Lauderdale Airport, and have never experienced a delay. As a matter of fact, on the return flights, I usually arrive early. Go figure.

Posted by Gus at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005
Legal issues with condo-hotels

I found this article on condo-hotel investments a bit alarming. Apartenly, owning this new real estate hybrid comes with some risks.

"Prices tend to be about 25 percent higher than comparable units in standard condominiums."

"Another thorny aspect is the legal use of the condo-hotel unit. Often, zoning rules limit the number of days you can occupy your unit, even though you own it."

"Expenses, including mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance fees, typically outrun income from the units, which gets split with the developer of the project."

The article ends with an example of how an annual Expenses & Income statement might look for a one-bedroom South Florida condo-hotel unit purchased for $300,000.

Mortgage: $20,436 ($300k at 5.5% for 30 yrs.)
Property taxes: $9,750 (2.6% of value)
Insurance: $900
Maintenance: $7,860 ($642 monthly)
Total: $38,946

Available rental days: 305
Average annual occupancy: 61%
Average daily rate: $285
Subtotal: $53,024

Less operator 10% fee: $5,302

Less 50% split with developer: $23,861
Total: $23,861


It looks to me like it boils down to the occupancy rate. If the developer can keep the unit rented, you stand to make money. If not, there will be an extra expense.

Tax breaks can ease the bite, but the bottom line is buyers need to know what they are buying and who they are doing business with.

To learn more, here is a list of condo-hotels in Miami.

Legal issues with condo-hotels in Miami Beach 411's Real Estate News section.

Posted by Gus at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005
Ocean Blue

Christabel, a graduated student from Toronto Canada, has a lot to say about her Florida vacation on her blog, Ocean Blue.

She visited Miami...

What a city. So cool. I think I took like 245 pictures in the day. To save you reading about ALL of those things that I did I'll pick the top three and describe them to you otherwise you'd be reading an entire book.

And the Bahamas...

Tonight is the night! It is the last night of mine in the Bahamas. The moon is almost full and is creating a silver pathway on the water. It is beautiful. The plan is to be "on the road" tomorrow morning at 8am. So I'm going to get up early for one last swim.

Christabel also took some nice pictures of all the places she visited. My favorite photo is the Venetian Pool.

I recommend checking out Ocean Blue. You'll enjoy reading about Christabel's experience.

Posted by Gus at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005
MTV Music Awards returns to Miami

The MTV Video Music Awards will return to Miami's American Airlines Arena on August 28 for a live broadcast.

Carlos Alvarez, Mayor of Miami-Dade county, gave his approval, noting that the event is important to the region, since it promotes their beaches, hotels, restaurants, shopping, attractions, sports, and recreation to a worldwide audience, and "brings together artists and celebrities from around the globe.

Miami Today News talks about the economic impact the evetn will have on the City

Hosts, performers, nominees, and presenters will be announced in the coming months.

Posted by Gus at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005
Hurricane season starts June 1st

The hurricane season is just eight weeks away, and the forecast is calling for a "significantly above average" season.

"The long-term average is about 10 tropical storms that develop into six hurricanes, two of them with intense winds above 110 mph. Last year, the tropics produced 15 named storms that grew into nine hurricanes, six of them intense."

Here is a list of names that were chosen for the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season:

Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Phillipe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, Wilma

This year, if a hurricane does come close to Miami, local hotels have been asked to NOT send hotel guests to city shelters. Hotels have been asked to make arrangement in advance with inland hotels that can accommodate their guests.

In 2004, Miami Beach hotels were evacuated twice, and the conditions at city shelters got to be pretty smelly.

Posted by Gus at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005
Travel Reviews - March 2005

Michelle just uploaded last month's User Reviews. A total of 45 reviews were submitted by people from Miami to Moscow.

Her favorite review was submitted by a user from New York City about the Hotel titled "Classy, unassuming abode".

Thanks to everyone who sent us a review.

You can read all the reviews right here.

Posted by Gus at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Volunteers Needed To Help Dolphins

Volunteers are needed to help rehabilitate 13 rough-toothed dolphins that survived a massive stranding off the Florida Keys in early March.

According to the Marine Mammal Conservancy's, 26 dolphins were taken to the conservancy for rehabilitation but 13 have since died.

Officials said one dolphin that was born after the stranding is doing well and now weighs 18 pounds.

The conservancy is asking for volunteers to help in taking care of the dolphins. To volunteer, call (305) 451-4774.

For up-to-date information on the stranding and the 13 surviving dolphins, visit the Marine Mammal Conservancy.

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer to help the dolphins in Key Largo, visit the Marine Mammal Conservancy's donations page.

Posted by Gus at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

Katrina Campins Runway Show

No, this is not an April Fools joke. During the runway show at Miami's Funkshion Fashion Week, Coral Gables real estate diva and former "Apprentice" star, Katrina Campins, walked the entire length of the runway not realizing that her $250 Tommy Hilfiger's shirt had malfunctioned, and her breasts were exposed.

But don't sweat it, Katrina. You look hot. Plus, you get mad props for not breaking your stride.

Posted by Gus at 06:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2005
Hot Cars & Pretty Sights

Here's a nice post from Santosh Sankar at Confessions of a Dangerous Kind about the hot cars and pretty sights that he saw on his recent trip to Florida...IYKWIM

Posted by Gus at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

Sharks Close Delray Beaches

Lifeguards (70 miles north of Miami) in Delray, Deerfield, Boca Raton and Palm Beach had to close the beaches on Tuesday after hundreds of sharks gatherd offshore.

Experts believe the sharks off Deerfield beach were black tip and spinner sharks. Experts said the sharks came so close to shore because they were chasing baitfish. The spinner species is not known as man-eaters but they have been blamed for biting people.

Now, I don't mean to alarm you. I have never seen a shark in Miami Beach, but I did have a nasty run with a Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish.

See shark photos at NBC6.

Posted by Gus at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005
Record Year for Miami Tourism

William D. Talbert, President and CEO of the GMCVB recently announced that 2004 overnight visitors to Greater Miami grew 5 percent to nearly 11 million visitors, fueled by 5.7 million domestic visitors and strong growth in international markets.

The international market grew 7 percent, helped by an 11 percent growth in European visitors and a 6.8 percent increase from Latin America. This overall growth in overnight visitors resulted in a nearly 6 percent growth in occupancy year-round, proving that Miami is no longer a seasonal destination.

A Smith Travel Research study shows that Miami’s 7.8 percent growth in average daily room rate — now up to $114.48 — was second only to New York’s growth rate.

Mr. Talbert added that "the Bureau’s marketing efforts helped bring high profile events like the MTV Video Music Awards and Art Basel Miami Beach, which created an international buzz about the destination."

The GMCVB recently announced a new global event for July 16-20 — Sunglass Hut Swim Shows Miami.

Posted by Gus at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Jennifer Lopez is moving out

Jennifer Lopez is selling her $11 million Miami Beach mansion, because she does not want to be reminded of her ex-lover, Ben Affleck. The mansion contains eight bedrooms, eleven fireplaces (in Miami?), a pool, a dock - and apparently a host of bad memories of her failed engagement to Affleck. Lopez and her new husband, singer Marc Anthony, are planning to move to penthouse apartment in the same area.

Posted by Gus at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

Rescued manatees are going home

Here is local feel-good story to start off your day: Two manatees are going home and getting a new lease on life. Two years ago, a male manatee, Bo, and a female manatee, Daisy, were rescued in the Banana River in southwest Miami-Dade County. When Bo and Daisy were found, each weighed a little over 200 pounds and were sick and emaciated.

Now, they both are healthy weighing in at almost 800 pounds each. On Tuesday, Bo and Daisy were taken back to their home in the Banana River and released into the wild.

Vist NBC6 for photos of the release.

You can also track how Bo and Daisy are doing, at the

Posted by Gus at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005
Oceanfront Hotel is going condo

On April 18, 2005 the Oceanfront Hotel located at 6261 Collins Avenue will close it's doors to make way for the new Cabana Club condo-hotel. The Cabana Club on Collins will have a gourment restaurant, day spa, and a private beach club. The project is headed by BSG Development and will take 3 years to complete.

The Oceanfront follows a number of other condo-hotel conversions that are taking place on Miami Beach.

Posted by Gus at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005
33137 & 33138

CNN/Money has published a report tracking the hottest zip codes in the U.S. - with the largest five-year price increases - and their prospects for the coming year.

Miami's 33137 and 33138 zip codes top the list.

Posted by Gus at 06:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005
New Library for Miami Beach

The Miami Beach Regional Library has opened a new facility at 227 22nd Street. says...

"The Library serves residents and visitors from all over the world who come to obtain information, to read a paper, or to check out a book. There is a wide selection of U.S. and foreign newspapers and extensive periodical subscriptions. In addition, the library has more than 100 computers with flat screen monitors for accessing the Internet"

An official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, April 1, at 2pm. A free Family Festival Day will be held on Sunday, April 3.

Media inquires contact Marivi Prado at 305-375-5180.

Posted by Gus at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Biscayne Corridor Map

Our graphic designer, and good friend Atiosis Blanco, just finished revising the Biscayne Corridor map. This big, colorful map is part of our Biscayne Real Estate Report which highlights most of the developments along Biscayne Boulevard.

Michelle and I just moved off South Beach and into this neighborhood. We love the area, but it's confusing because it has so many names. We've heard it called: Midtown, the Design District, Edgewater, Uptown, Wynwood, Little Haiti, and the Biscayne Corridor. Whatever it's called, there's a lot of construction going on. Read the report to learn more about it.

Posted by Gus at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

March 25, 2005
Cuban Refugees Land at Fort Jefferson

Julio C. Zangroniz at Babalu has an exclusive story about a group of Cuban refugees arriving at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.

"On Wednesday, March 23 a group of 14 Cuban refugees, 13 men and one woman, walked quietly into the grounds surrounding historic Fort Jefferson, then sat meekly at a picnic table, just as if they were just another group of tourists exploring the remote outpost."

Michelle and I visited the Dry Tortugas, last February. We took a 90-minute ferry boat ride from Key West. It's a magical place.

In 2004, over 450 Cuban refugees made it to freedom there.

You can read Julio's full story, and see some touching photographs here.

Posted by Gus at 11:01 PM | Comments (1)
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