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Jury Citations For Miami Best Block Contest Winners

 

The Goldman Prize for South Florida’s Best Block:

The Spanish Village block of Miami Beach’s Española Way, located between Washington Avenue and Drexel Avenue.

This “very special place,’’ as one juror put it, leapt to the top of the competition as the most complete and polished block in South Florida. Designed as an artists’ district at the height of the land boom of the 1920s, this splendidly renovated block today boasts a dense confluence of walkability, first-rate Mediterranean Revival architecture, hotels and apartments, and cafes, shops, art galleries and entertainment that is unmatched by any other street in the region. The narrow street, the intricately decorated building facades, their consistent yet varied street frontages, and shady awnings and street trees provide an intimate atmosphere and a richness of experience that draws crowds of tourists and locals alike to Española Way both at night and by day – the ultimate proof of an urban block’s success.

Video:

First prize to Jared Robins for the Spanish Village block of Espanola Way in Miami Beach

The homespun video and accompanying voice narration capture the enduring popular appeal of the Spanish Village block of this historic Miami Beach street. The camera relishes the richly decorated Mediterranean Revival architecture as it walks the viewer down the narrow lane and its sidewalk cafes, pausing to show how visitors can’t resist stopping to snap self-portraits amid the picturesque scene. The video astutely shows how Espanola Way morphs from quiet lane at day to bustling scene after dark.

Second prize to Mitch Koch for the 1400 and 1500 blocks of Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street) in Miami’s East Little Havana

Reverent fun. This jazzy video jump-cuts its way along two revitalized blocks of Little Havana’s signature street to the rhythm of a Latin hip-hop jam by Pitbull. Although it lacks narration, the video manages to convey the essence of the street and its recent reanimation through a frenetic freeze-frame tour of landmarks like the renovated Art Deco Tower Theater, the crowded tables at Domino Park, long-lived restaurants like El Pub, guayabera and Cuban memorabilia shops, and newcomers like the Azucar ice cream shop and its colorful, oversized ice-cream-cone frieze. The irresistible beat of the soundtrack “makes it vibrant,’’ one juror said.

Third prize to Jesse Bailey and Aaron Wormus for the 200 block of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach.

The narrated video packs a lot of information and observation into a brief time frame as it traverses an iconic and resurgent South Florida block richly varied in its uses and urbanism. The voiceover and the camera efficiently spotlight the block’s walkability and available transportation options, such as a trolley line and a car-share program, while exploring a lively streetscape that in time-tested fashion encompasses cafes, bars, restaurants, apartments and offices over the shops, a regional theater and a popular park overlooking Clematis Street's terminus at the Intracoastal Waterway.

** Special Honorable Mention:

Emerge Miami for five videos of emerging blocks in Little Haiti, the Design District, Wynwood, Allapattah and Midtown Miami

Straddling bicycles, members of the grassroots group documented vibrant streets in five inner-city Miami neighborhoods with sharp commentary and images. The videos range all the way from the stable, working-class heart of Allapattah and its neighborhood shops to the massive, brand-new Midtown Miami development and the ongoing makeover of the Design District, both of which embrace pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use urbanism. In Wynwood, the activists pause to admire the street-graffiti murals and new cafes that have made the once-forlorn warehouse zone into a unique, budding arts district along Northwest Second Avenue. Jurors were especially intrigued by the unusual, and promising, urban alchemy on display in Emerge Miami’s video on the block of Northeast Second Avenue in Little Haiti that’s shared by brightly hued immigrant shopfronts, a community garden and two Miami counter-cultural, rock’n’roll stalwarts, Churchill’s Pub and the Sweat Records store.

Photo:

First prize to Shop Coral Gables for the 200 block of Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables

The photograph artfully frames the pedestrian-friendly urbanism of Coral Gables’ main commercial street. On the right, the multi-colored figure of a painted flamingo – from a recent statue-decorating contest – peers out beguilingly from behind an empty sidewalk café table under the expansive shade of an awning. On the left, a receding line of street trees draws the viewer’s eye to a pair of women strolling casually by a bike locked to a parking meter along the broad sidewalk, which is separated from busy traffic by parked cars. One juror said the photograph demonstrates how sidewalk dining, simple techniques and street furnishings can transform a once-sterile, car-oriented 1940s shopping street.

Second prize to Jesse Bailey for the 300 block of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach

This in-the-moment shot, taken from a rooftop bar, captures an unusual, panoramic view of the activity in a quintessential night-time urban scene on one of South Florida’s liveliest downtown streets. A vintage white convertible pulls up to the corner where a gaggle gathers at the entrance to a club in a red neon glow. At the same time, the shot, almost slyly, captures the features that give the street its urban appeal. On the left, the restored, illuminated facades of low-rise historic buildings provide an elegant, consistent street wall, and street trees provide a sheltering canopy. Sidewalk planters shelter pedestrians, slow traffic and create bays for on-street parking.

Third prize to Barry Miller for the Spanish Village block of Espanola Way in Miami Beach

This serene view at dusk of the Spanish Village’s intricately decorated Mediterranean façades and sidewalk cafes captures the romance, intimate scale and pedestrian allure of the narrow street. The warm lighting and the street palms and trees complete the sense of comfortable enclosure. The blurred pedestrians and the waiting café tables create the incipient expectation of a lively evening of dining, music and companionship in the open air.

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