Photos by : Francois Adrien for pikliz.com
East Artist/Home Showcase and Pineapple Festival
Buena Vista East celebrates its past
The Buena Vista East's historic association celebrated Art Basel with exhibits in old homes and an homage to their neighborhood's logo, the pineapple.
BY LAURA MORALES
A century ago, visitors traveling south into Miami had to trek past acres of spiky pineapple plants. In the 1920s, those fields became Biltmore and Shadowlawn, two of Miami's first -- and toniest -- suburbs.
By the 1980s and '90s, the beauty of Buena Vista East gave way to blight -- abandoned buildings along with faded, crumbling houses.
But in recent years those old homes jump-started the area's rebirth, drawing people who value historic preservation.
This weekend, members of the Buena Vista East Historic Neighborhood Association will celebrate the area's agrarian past -- and current renaissance -- during their first Artist/Home Showcase and Pineapple Festival. It kicks off Friday with a tour of those houses.
For Saturday's main event, several local restaurants including Pasha's, Sheba, One-Ninety and Grass will be offering creative cuisine incorporating the pineapple in some way.
Artists will set up tents to sell their work and live bands, including the Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Troubadours, will perform on First Avenue.
The festival, which members of the neighborhood association and officials from the city's Little Haiti NET office have been planning for months, also includes a walking tour of eight homes built in the 1920s -- and one from the '50s -- featuring the barrel-vaulted chimneys of Mission and Pueblo, the porte-cochères of Bungalow and the simple geometric lines of Art Deco architecture.
While the houses are works of art in their own right, festivalgoers also can see the works of local artists such as Maria Aquilar, Sophia Lacroix and Jay Lonewolf Morales during the tour, which premieres Friday.
Schiller Jerome, who joined the association's board in March, came up with the idea for the festival.
''With Art Basel coming up, I said, we need to do something art-related,'' he said. ``I checked some books and came up with the pineapple, which is our logo.''
In the 1920s, T.V. Moore, son of an agriculturally inclined North Carolina clergyman, helped develop the Biltmore and Shadowlawn subdivisions, two of the city's first suburbs, where once he had owned acres of pineapple fields.
The Moore family also helped pave the way for the Design District, said historian Paul George, who often has led Dade Heritage Days tours into Buena Vista East.
''They started the Moore Furniture Company in the Moore Building on 40th Street,'' George said. ``That was the beginning of Decorator's Row.''
Susana Baker, who bought T.V. Moore's old Mediterranean Revival manse on First Avenue, said that when she arrived in 1995, the area was ``dirty and gray, lots of poor families, and people just overlooked it.''
''But when I looked at this house, I saw the potential for something right out of The Great Gatsby,'' she said.