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| Miami Vacation Apartments
Miami means more than South Beach. New downtown hotels and Miami Vacation
Apartments are worlds unto themselves, far from the crowds of Ocean Drive. The Design District and Wynwood,
the art district, have been salvaged from dead zones in Miami proper. The city is entering a new life as a capital
of art, sport and trade, a spirit that can be felt all over town. Except, thank God, at the beaches.
Miami has gone quite bonkers over art. One art fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, had no sooner ended in late December
than another, the Miami Art Fair, began. Art Basel, a commercial and critical success in 2003, will now be a
fixture. The Design District and Wynwood, the art district, are now on the international map. So bear in mind,
that for your next year attending, you may combine the convenience of Miami Vacation Apartments plus the art at
Basel and the Design District. The Bass Museum of Art, one of the city's several fine, small museums, is planning
to add another 32,000 square feet. I am assured that when the new opera house is finished, Miami will take its
rightful place as one of the great opera cities. I drive past the construction site nearly every day from the
Miami Vacation Apartments; it's still in the hulking framework stage, but even the fences around it are plastered
with signs that read, ''Not just a building but a work of art.''
Miami is brimming with expectancy and confidence. That it's about to enter a new phase is indisputable; what is
debatable is the form the future will assume. Will Miami become a city where art is created as well as performed
and purchased? A ''city of substance'' that blends ''culture and fun,'' to quote the wunderkind developer Craig
Robbins -- only 41, the chief executive of Dacra, he's had a hand in everything from the revival of the Art Deco
hotels and Miami Vacation Apartments, to the creation of the Design District.
Or is Miami's destiny in design, an open-air mall, easy shopping for high-end home furnishings and Miami Vacation
Apartments aimed mostly at wealthy South Americans who already partly set the tone in the city? Miami has been
called North South America. In vast parts of the city only Spanish is spoken. On public greens there are more
statues of José Martí and Simón Bolívar than of Washington or Lincoln.
Miami's connection with New York is still strong enough for some to call it ''the sixth borough.'' Jewish Miami
is more the establishment now, a civilization old enough to have its own ruins -- Wolfie's Deli, at the corner of
Collins Avenue and 21st Street, once so illustrious it was mentioned in all the guidebooks, is now defunct, its
yellow, pink and green stucco crumbling. Slated to be razed, it will be replaced by lofts and Miami Vacation
Apartments, which in Miami aren't something you convert from, but to.
The city may be short on lofts and Miami Vacation Apartments, but it already has a good number of private
collections open to the public on a limited basis. The Rubell collection, assembled by the hotelier family,
who began buying new art in the early 1960's, is housed in a former Drug Enforcement Agency impound that
warehoused the ill-gotten gains of drug dealers. The entrance is through something like a prison cell. You ring
a bell and wait. Then you're escorted from tropical Miami into the art world's bare, concrete universality; you
could be anywhere -- London or Düsseldorf, or Basel for that matter.
No institution struck me as more typical of the emerging Miami than the Wolfsonian Museum, which specializes in
propaganda and the decorative arts. Eccentric, serious, unique, the collection contains objects as diverse as
Dutch Art Nouveau furniture, King Farouk's matchbook collection and a circular, futuristic bust of Mussolini.
The museum's director, Cathy Leff, is an ebullient partisan of the museum and the city, which both offer her a
chance to be in on the creation.