If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does this say to you?
As a photographer, I’m told that I notice things that other people miss.
Since moving to Coconut Grove from South Beach four months ago, I ride my bicycle nearly every day by the waterfront including City Hall, Dinner Key Marina, Scotty’s Landing and the Chart House. During my rides I have consistently noticed, week-after-week, how much the Scotty’s site is used versus how little the Chart House patio is used.
I’ve also become aware of the debate about who will be awarded the new long-term lease for the current Scotty’s Landing restaurant and bar site on the city of Miami-owned land.
The photo above was taken at 2:11pm on Sunday, Sept 2, Labor Day weekend.
Nearly every seat was filled at Scotty’s (despite The Grove Bed Race, which was taking place at that very moment) while the patio at the Chart House, as always, is empty despite having at least three times the waterfront footage that the Scotty’s site has.
When you line the photos up side-by-side, it becomes exceedingly evident that the beautiful waterfront area leased to the Chart House is consistently underutilized. The stunning view is appreciated by almost no one.
Miamians clearly “vote with their wallets” and will frequent a reasonably-priced, casual, family-friendly locally-owned, independent restaurant and bar while rarely going to an expensive, formal, corporate, chain restaurant.
As a relative newcomer to the Grove, I have no vested interest in the Scotty’s site selection debate other than being a civic-oriented, Miami resident — one who loves a reasonably-priced beer and burger on the waterfront.
The selection panel committee, the city commissioners and Mayor Tomás Regalado should ask themselves, how best do we want to use this property?
If the goal is accessibility and to have as many city residents enjoy the use of this beautiful waterfront property, then look at my photos and the decision is crystal clear.
Liam Crotty is a professional photographer.