Currently viewing the tag: "Macy’s"
  • CBS does a little math for us: Corruption + 11 City Workers = Miami.
  • MDT is looking into using hovercraft for the 18 month pilot water taxi program. The two water taxi routes (Haulover-Miami and Matheson Hammock-Miami) would operate the $1.2 Million boats with a maximum capacity of 30-50 passengers. The hovercraft are being considered due to their minimal impact on manatees and the delicate sea grass of Biscayne Bay, but would be limited to a 30 mph operation speed.
  • MIA is working on renewing an incentive program to gain new service to more destinations from Miami.
  • “Cities the airport would like to begin direct service to include Capetown and Johannesburg, South Africa; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Casablanca, Morocco; Brussels; Dublin; Helsinki; Moscow; Warsaw; Budapest; Tokyo; Seoul; Hong Kong; Shanghai; and New Delhi or Mumbai, formerly Bombay.”
  • The DDA may soon be granting Macy’s some financial incentives to stay downtown…I’d like to see Macy’s revamp their downtown store before we go head and hand them a handout. I couldn’t agree more with Mayor Diaz:
    • “The mayor has insisted the store has to be redone so that it is appealing and more open to the street…”

    Tagged with:
     

    Tagged with:
     
    With the attention garnered on the appalling state of our downtown by Macy’s Florida CEO Julie Greiner last week, it appears that rehabbing downtown (with that, many of our street wanderers) is the hot conversation topic these days. Downtown is deplorable. We all know it; we’ve stated it countless times. The question is does anyone know what should be done?

    Sometimes I get the feeling the Herald understands the problems which face our city, other times not. An article posted Saturday June 9, sought to address the issue, but instead began to paint a picture of how parking was the main reason why our downtown was in such a state of disarray.

    “Parking is scarce and expensive, and by many accounts, vulnerable to vandals.”

    Scarce and expensive parking also confounds turnaround efforts, limiting the appeal to upscale businesses. ”Parking is a headache,” said Carlos Narvaez, who works at the Radio Shack outlet on Flagler Street. “They broke into my car twice.”

    Decentralization of our city’s urban core brought upon by sprawl has lead to the demise of our (and nearly every city in the U.S.) downtown, a problem which was in part induced by our addiction to the automobile. Suburbanites fail to realize that abundant, cheap (free), and traffic free parking are not sustainable in any urban core and efforts to increase any of these would only make matters worse along the sidewalks. The article fails to note in its quest for parking solutions, that the city recently completed a streetscaping project which added valuable on street parking throughout the Flagler corridor.

    The more we isolate ourselves in our own “protective” vehicular cocoons, the worse the situation will become along the already desolate streets of downtown. A proven and successful method to combat downtown crime is to improve our street use, pedestrian activity, and with that public spaces/transportation. Radio shack and all downtown employees (especially lower wage workers) should reap the financial benefits that Metrorail and Metromover offer users compared to daily vehicular use.

    Things get worse when the only mention of transit includes an armed robbery incident:

    Nancy Blount, a family law attorney who was walking down Flagler near the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, recalled being ”robbed at gunpoint four or five years ago” when she took Metrorail.

    It was obviously a life changing experience for Nancy, she couldn’t even remember the year…It’s beside the point and contributed nothing to the quality of this article other than to reiterate a negative stance against public transit in the minds of the readers.

    How can we combat the Miami mentality if even our news stories are showing bias towards ineffective ways of thought? I believe the Herald should take it upon itself to not only inform readers of the problems downtown but should also offer well reasoned and educated solutions to the problems we face, instead of the typical half truths offered by everyday citizens…

    Key Word Use:

    • Business (6)
    • Parking (5)
    • Homeless (4)
    • Traffic (2)
    • Filthy (2)
    • Pedestrian (1)
    • Metrorail (1)
    • Planning (0)
    • Transit (0)
    • Metromover (0)

    I can’t resist publishing some of the more notable comments on the Herald’s site regarding the state of downtown Miami

    The Good:

    “All buildings downtown should be required to have awnings. The city needs to improve the condition and appearance of the streets and sidewalks, including landscaping where possible. Street lighting at night is horrendous. Businesses and people will not be attracted to downtown if it’s ugly and poorly lit at night. People don’t feel safe.”
    -David

    “It’s a MESS. Dingy, dirty, smelly and rat infested. Let’s take pride in our city and get it cleaned up now not wait for the usual red tape and politics.”
    -Katherine

    ” I enjoyed the Macy’s CEO’s comments and I am glad the Herald gave her some ink. I like downtown. True, it is a bit of a dump, relatively speaking, but it is Miami, and Miami is a poor city. What never ceases to amaze me is that city fathers know exactly what it takes to refurbish the area but they haven’t the will to act. Condo towers, performing art centers, new waterfront museums, you can choke the area with expensive, exclusive and garish embellishments but without investment in infrastructure it will continue to be poor, underemployed and at times unsightly. I frequent downtown often and love workday and weekend mornings when it is abuzz with work-a-day or tourist/local activity. But when I jump on the metrorail to the metromover and ride from Government Center to Omnistation for the occasional Carnival Center event, my spirit sinks. So much soul, so much potential, and so much waste. Gentrifying and more cops will not address the matter. We need to work with the beauty already there.”
    -305tillidie

    The Bad:

    “Last January I asked a police officer where the nearest public restroom was and he pointed to a Metro Bus and we both laughed for a minute or two and went on our different paths. After he turned a corner, I urinated on a New Times dispenser. I figured the officer was joking about the bus.”
    -Daniel Rothstein

    ” We need mor cats downtawn to eet all the ratz.”
    -Javier J

    The Absent Minded:

    “Thats what you get when you build up and not out. It creates a perminet shadowscape for pestilence and riff-raff. Let me put this way so Paris Hilton can understand it: “Like, no duh.””
    -Anonymous

    “Why are there homeless people still around Miami-Dade when we are paying a half penny of sales tax?It was just another socialist scam that produces nothing.”
    -JAV

    “Ever since Mayor Manny Diaz became mayor,we never hear negative criticism of his administration.He appears to be the darling of the Herald,etc.If Mayor Carollo were in office they would be wanting his head.This man has done nothing,but get richer.He is a dolittle that the media just loves.”
    -JAV

    Tagged with:
     
    Disclaimer: The following post, you’ll find, has little to do with Transit or recent development, but I’d like to take the time to address the apathetic attitude of our locals when it comes down to our city’s culture, history, and identity by discussing the re-branding of our local brand Burdines to Macy’s.

    On June 1, the behemoth corporation known as Federated Department Stores will officially become Macy’s Inc., a move which further unifies but isolates the national retailer in the eyes of many. Federated Department Stores, which itself only acquired Macy’s in the mid 90’s, was responsible for the re-branding of local retailers across the country including our very own Burdines stores (acquired by Federated in 1956.) Other local regional retailers affected by the name games include: Bon Marche (Washington), Goldsmith’s (Tennessee), Lazarus (Cincinnati), Kauffman’s (Pittsburgh), Filene’s (Boston), Foley’s (Houston), L.S. Ayers (Indianapolis), Hecht’s (Maryland), and Marshall Field’s (Chicago) among others. In 2005, Federated Department stores completed the renaming of these and several other department stores nationwide.

    Part of me can’t blame Federated for making a move to create a national brand image for their department stores. However, another part of me longs for the unique qualities of each retailer, the names, the history, and the traditions they instilled in the communities which fostered their growth.

    It’s the removal of a crucial piece of local history- and the public reaction since which really strikes a chord within me. In early 2004, when Burdines became Burdines-Macy’s I encountered many people who shared my same displeasure with the new moniker. I, like many people, had always associated the Macy’s name with New York, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and iconic store in Herald Square. Likewise, we had always associated Burdines with our hometown, the Downtown Christmas display (for those old enough to remember it), the tacky plastic palm trees, or the Art Deco Marquee on Meridan Avenue. Simply put, to see the two names combined was appalling if not downright confusing. What shocked me most (which with 20/20 hindsight really shouldn’t have) was the passive response of locals. It irked me to see the work of William M. Burdine, a pioneer in our community in 1898, just two years after Flagler’s FEC arrived, wash away so easily under a corporate renaming scheme. The History which built Burdines into “The Florida Store,” is nearly repeated and identical when looking at all the other stores listed above. Each city had its own distinctive flagship store located downtown and started by an entrepreneur in the mid to late 1800’s.

    Like Burdines, many of the department stores went down without major local opposition. There is one key exception, however: Marshall Fields. The citizens of Chicago have organized in opposition of the Macy’s re-branding in an effort to revert the Chicago Icon to its former glory and if not, at least preserve the history that Federated has consciously tried to erase. The Marshall Fields Supporters have held rallies, gathered thousands of signatures on petitions, and have been boycotting Macy’s since it removed the Chicago name. So far, it’s working. Macy’s sales at the once flagship store have dropped considerably. Federated’s sales are down nationwide and the chain missed analyst’s expectations. The same effect can be seen in the Ohio area where the Lazarus stores were re-branded and in Seattle where Bon-Marsh once thrived. As this article is careful to point out, sales have dropped nearly nationwide, except Miami:

    MIAMI
    At Burdines, another market where Macy’s has been around for two decades, the renaming appeared to have little effect. Of those shoppers surveyed, 47 percent said they shopped at Macy’s in 2006, unchanged from the 47 percent in 2004 that shopped at Burdines-Macy’s. In 2002, 57 percent surveyed shopped at either Burdines or Macy’s. When asked to break it out, 51 percent of shoppers frequented Burdines and 24 percent visited Macy’s.

    Coincidence? I think not, it seems like more of a lack of local identity to me…

    Former flagship Lazarus Department store in downtown Cincinnati compared to the bland, characterless new store introduced under the Macy’s name (Via Wikipedia)…

    Here is an interesting piece of information I just discovered. The site of the “iconic” Sears Tower, integrated with the struggling Carnival Center, was originally a Burdines store before Sears bought the land next door, built the tower, and bought them out…

    • Thanks to Magic City on SSC for the Historical Pictures…
    • This article was written in part due to an e-mail sent to me by the South Beach Hoosier, thanks for the contribution David…

    I continued my walking tour around the Citi Center and Wachovia towers and along the Intercontinental Hotel as I headed into Bayfront Park. I must begin by saying that Bayfront Park has incredible potential. It’s a beautiful public place which for the past decades has sadly been neglected. Efforts to promote the park as something other than a park, has led it to become cramped and paved over with too much cement. The attraction should be its’ natural beauty and the seaside serenity offered by Biscayne Bay. The park is direly underused, but as you’ll see, it also has incredible design flaws which detract from the experience of visiting an urban park. The picture below depicts what I’m talking about, just look at the width of the sidewalk. The walkways in the park are better suited handle a couple of 18 wheelers side-by-side than a few people strolling around. It was just after noon when I walked through here and there was a nice breeze coming in from the bay, however, the heat radiating upwards from the cement was nearly unbearable.

    In an apparent attempt to provide yet another use for the park, the city is constructing a children’s play area to accommodate some of the families moving into the downtown condos. I like the idea, most parks have places for kids to play but I am worried that the park has already become too cluttered.

    Looking back south along a slightly less wide path, we see from a different angle the proposed downtown station for commuter ferry service.

    I noticed something unusual. There were people in the park, mainly concentrated along the shore, but most of them were sitting in the grass or leaning up against the coconut palms. I was wondering why there wasn’t any suitable seating in the park when I came across the vast concrete bench apparently designed to fry anyone in the park who wanted sit. Nearly all the available seating in the park was in direct sunlight. The few shade trees in the park all had someone sitting below them on the grass…

    Looking back into downtown along Flagler St., we see 50 Biscayne topping off to the right. Once again notice the broad sidewalks.

    There is a big green fence swallowing up half the park and blue one obstructing another quarter of it. The green fence is part of what I assume is Miami’s newest tourist attraction in Bayfront Park: Miami Skylift. This contraption will lift visitors 500 ft into the air, providing the first observation-like platform in Miami. I first encountered this object when I visited Berlin. Rising outside my Hotel window in Potsdammer Platz was one of the first of these floating observation decks.

    The second major obstruction, surrounded by a large blue fence is that of the Sunset Cinemas, also known as Movies by the Bay. Movies by the Bay is an intriguing idea concocted by the Hertig Family of New Jersey which shows movies in an open air theater every night. Unfortunately, as the Riptide recently reported, the cinema is struggling to attract enough visitors. If it wasn’t for the huge blue fence, I’d be a little more receptive to the idea, but it leaves me wondering why the cinema couldn’t open up shop in the unused open air amphitheater just across the park.

    The other recent attraction to Bayfront Park is the Miami Trapeze course.

    Heading into the CBD along Flagler, I decided to check out the streetscape project and vibrancy of the emerging retail district. A café owner is attempting to create a sidewalk café type atmosphere:

    They just don’t build them like this anymore. This is the Alfred I. DuPont Building (Marsh & Saxelby, 1938) at 169 Flagler St. It is an example of Depression Moderne architecture, using a restrained Art Deco style. The lobby is allegedly one of the most spectacular in Miami, featuring bronze bas-relief elevator doors.

    The Olympia Theater (Gusman Center for the Performing Arts) built in 1925, was designed by John Eberson and was the first air-conditioned building in Miami. The beautiful theater inside features 246 twinkling stars in the ceiling, 12 foot long chandeliers, and a beautiful wood paneled lobby. The Theater is also home to the downtown tourism office, where I stopped by and obtained a self-guided walking tour and much of the background information on these buildings.

    The Historic Walgreens, now home to La Epoca Department store, was built in 1936 by Zimmerman, Saxe & MacBride, Ehmann. Designed in a streamline modern style, this building was home to Walgreens for over 50 years; it featured a popular cafeteria and was only the third Walgreen open outside of Chicago at the time. In a typical American fashion, Walgreens abandoned the location for the cookie cutter like store a couple blocks along Flagler. Lame. La Epoca is a jewel in Miami’s urban core. The original department store was founded in 1885 in Havana, Cuba. It was seized by the Castro administration in 1960, leaving then owner Diego Alonso no choice but to start over in Miami. The Miami store opened in 1965 and was located next to the aforementioned Alfred I Dupont Building until 2005, when the store relocated to the former Walgreens store.

    The First National Bank of Miami building still standing today was built in 1922 and was designed by Mowbray & Uffinger. When the market crashed in the 1920’s after the Florida land boom, Fist National Bank was the only bank in Miami that did not fail. The building is currently being restored and converted into the Flagler First Condominium project.

    The Downtown Burdines store (sorry Macy’s, I don’t care for the name games) was originally built in 1912; however it was remodeled in 1936 in the streamline art deco style. This store is the anchor of the downtown retail industry. The city is working closely with the store to clean up the surrounding area after Macy’s threatened to leave.

    The last couple of pictures below depict some of the urban decay and grit which still covers much of this area. I am glad to note that some new stores have started to move into the area including an upscale optical store as well as some chain shoe stores. The downtown American Apparel, located North of Flagler however recently closed. Revitalizing this area and creating a vibrant shopping district in the urban core needs to become a top priority for our city. With thousands of condos coming into the area, we need to have an area with easily accessible pedestrian oriented shops and cafes…

    Stick around for part three, where I was apprehended by a US Marshall for being normal…

    Tagged with:
     

    As if renaming the legendary downtown department store to “Macy’s” wasn’t bad enough, now Federated Department Stores is also considering closing the downtown store which opened originally in 1912.

    The move, from an economic standpoint, is the nuttiest idea I’ve heard come out Miami’s frenzied development boom. As people finally move into the downtown core, after decades of neglect and decay, the chain is looking to move elsewhere, away from the people. The Macy’s store, the recently opened La Epoca and American Apparel stores, are the basic backbone of worthy retailers in the downtown core (yes, I’m aware there is a Marshalls and Ross as well.) Rather than fiddling with plans to build big box retail with enough parking to house every car in the hood, our city should be rigorously acting to revitalize the Flagler corridor with something other than half-planned streetscapes and two-way streets! Flagler Street could and should be the most prominent pedestrian corridor within the downtown core, home to a variety of street-level retail and sidewalk cafes with offices and residences above. The street should be bustling with life and activity at all hours and should be an inviting district for all sorts of business seeing that it is the geographical spine and largest east-west boulevard in the city. The headline reads Macy’s is leaving, I see much deeper problems nestled within…

    Tagged with:
     
    This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.