However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Modern Day Colonialism and Trolleygate

To paraphrase Rene Margritte: This is not a trolly
At a lunch meeting yesterday with a Miami developer (who wishes to remain anonymous) I mentioned how my next blog post on Trolleygate would be called "Modern Day Colonialism." 

I started riffing -- kicking around the analogy -- and compared developers building in Coconut Grove to the original 13 Colonies. Those colonies were really only business charters, set up by the British Crown/Parliament, that allowed the corporations to plunder all they saw and send the bounty back to the home country. Simply replace "Crown/Parliament" with "Miami City Commission" -- and "colonial charters" with "building permits" awarded the Modern Day Colonists™ -- and the analogy is complete. Once Marc Sarnoff [allegedly] greases the wheels for them, rapacious developers are free to plunder the rich cultural heritage of West Coconut Grove, aka Black Coconut Grove.

The E.W.F. Stirrup House ► Before and After

Meeting announcement
Click to enlarge
It probably has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the next Charles Avenue Historic Preservation meeting is this Wednesday, but there were big doings afoot at the E.W.F. Stirrup House yesterday.

The meeting announcement (left) lists rapacious developer Gino Falsetto under the rubric "Historic Assets." Presumably that means the 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House, which his Aries Development controls through a 50-year lease. Falsetto claims he wants to preserve and renovate the house, turning it into a Bed and Breakfast. If that were truly the case, why has he been allowing it to undergo Demolition by Neglect for the better part of a decade? Why wouldn't Falsetto do the bare minimum to protect his asset by -- at the very least -- sealing the windows to keep out the weather? Wood, water, and Florida humidity don't mix very well and Gino's given them 8 years to work their moldy magic on this architectural gem.

However, lo and behold: Yesterday a crew was cleaning up the Stirrup property by removing the vines and bushes that had grown all over the back of the house. This blog has documented how the property becomes an unruly garbage dump between citations from the City of Miami. The property is always cleaned up before fines are levied. Then it's allowed to slowly fall into disarray until the next city inspector posts a citation on the property about all the garbage, weeds, and graffiti. Despite occasional landscaping, the vast Westerfield Archives has several year's worth of pictures that prove these bushes and vines have never been cleared away. This was not just another minor clean-up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Through The Gates Of Trolleygate

On Oak Avenue looking south towards Frow Avenue.
Yesterday I popped over to the construction site for the Coral Gables diesel bus maintenance garage, which is being foisted upon the residents of West Grove, to see how far along it's come since my last visit.

Noticing the gate was open, that's where I stood to take a series of pictures. Within a a few seconds a workman noticed me. He shouted to a foreman and gestured my way. The foreman started walking over, yelling at me in Spanish. When the message is "Get the fuck out of here" I don't need a translation. However, I stood my ground and continued to take pictures, but responded "No habla Español,"* which I find amusing for its internal contradiction.

"You have to leave! You can't stand there!"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Who's Got Geronimo's Skull?

Geronimo in 1887
Dateline February 17, 1909 - Apache Chief Geronimo dies from complications from pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. 

Geronimo surrendered in 1886 and spent his last years as a Prisoner of War of the 'Merkin government. Despite his imprisonment he was still able to appear as a celebrity at various fairs and even rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade. When he died at the age of 80, Geronimo was buried in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery at Fort Sill.

Skip ahead a few years. The First World War -- called the Great War until World War Two -- was just breaking out. Prescott Bush -- later a U.S. Senator and father of George Herbert Walker Bush, which makes him grandfather to George W. Bush -- was stationed at Fort Sill before shipping out overseas. According to legend, Prescott Bush was one of several "Bonesmen" who dug up Geronimo's bones and smuggled them to Yale University. They are said to have been at the Skull and Bones clubhouse ever since. G.H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush were later members of Skull and Bones, the secret society at Yale.