I lived in South Florida for a number of years. I went to high school and graduate school there. I did a lot of driving up and down A1A over the years, since 1991 onward. During a stay in South Florida in 2010, we were returning home after a visit to Vizcaya, and we thought we’d drive up A1A from Miami Beach, to see how things had changed.
They had changed. Things have always been in constant change along the coast, at least to my knowledge. When I arrived in Florida and started going to the beach in Hollywood and Hallandale, there were a few multi-story apartment buildings here and there, with a few larger ones down the road toward North Miami, but the rest of A1A was quiet, with nice, Art Deco beach houses tucked away between large palm and mangrove trees and private beaches. Then, sometime in the mid 90s, larger apartment buildings began to rise. The invasion had begun. The traffic began. Whereas A1A had been a leisurely cruise down the coast, it eventually turned into one long traffic jam. People who’d lived in quiet little beach houses for years and years, saw to their dismay the rise of monstrously tall apartment buildings, right next door, obliterating their privacy. There must have been zoning law disputes and lawsuits, but eventually the large real estate developers won, because more and more apartment buildings rose on the beach.
I have to wonder how those things are anchored to the ground, because Florida has no bedrock. Underneath a fairly thin slice of topsoil, Florida is made of coral bed, which is porous and soft. The engineering knowhow required to build a proper foundation for a 40-50 story building right next to the beach, where it’s subject to high winds and hurricanes and the concrete is eaten away by salty water, must be fairly complicated and tremendously risky. But people want to live “the dream”, and for the people clamoring for a beachside apartment in South Florida, the real estate developers are happy to provide it.
The photos you’ll see here were taken from the car, as we drove up A1A toward Hallandale Beach. It was the spring of 2010. Side note: I do like the way they painted the Hallandale Beach Water Tower.
5 thoughts on “A drive on A1A”
Raoul, this article and some of the places you mentioned reminded me of the time I lived in Miami, from 2002 to 2009. I remember driving on the A1A during that time and depending on the time of the day it could be a pleasurable drive or a stressful one. But the sights were definitely changing, or had already changed, by that time with all the tall apartment buildings. People couldn’t get enough of the oceanfront properties in Miami and parts of South Florida.
By the way, how are you and Ligia? Hello to both of you!
We’re good, thank you. We’ve begun work on restoring a Saxon medieval church and parochial house, the details are here: http://asociatiapatru.ro
That’s very nice. When do you expect to complete the work? I will be coming to Romania this summer (June-July) and will probably be headed to Medias, if my schedule works out (I have a friend there I’d like to see again). If you will be around, we can meet up for coffee.
The restoration work on the medieval church is expected to take about ten years and we hope to finish restoring the parochial house within the next two years. I’m fairly sure we can arrange a meet-up, just get in touch with me via email when you get in the country and know your schedule a little better.
Thanks Raoul. After reading your thoughts, I immediately thought of today’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle’s business section, “When condo boards, residents clash”. I hadn’t realized some vast assessments that can be levied by the HOA’s to repair and improve evolving issues and problems. I’ve visited the Gulf Coast and have relatives in Ocala I’ve not visited yet. Relocated Snow Birds from Chicago. We’re sticking to the west coast (California) where we’re enjoying a fabulous Mediterranean climate on this beautiful day. Thanks for you blog today. It was quite interesting Raoul George Coe (Monterey County, Ca.) Regards, George Coe
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