Category Archives: Events

To add parking and renovate, The Standard wants a zoning change

The Standard on Belle Isle is valet only -- today.

The Standard on Belle Isle is valet only — today.

The Standard Spa and hotel is moving forward with its effort to add on-site parking and renovate one of the wings of its property, but this time with a twist — it’s asking the city of Miami Beach to create a hotel overlay district for its property.

monterey brochureThat’s because the Miami Beach zoning code for Belle Isle doesn’t allow a hotel use; the Standard is grandfathered in because it was built (originally as the Monterrey Motel and later the DiLido Spa) before the current code was enacted.

The Standard will meet with Belle Isle residents on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at the hotel, 40 Island Ave.

It plans to go before the Miami Beach Planning Board on Sept. 27.

The Standard’s latest proposal is believed to involve knocking down the existing single-story east wing of rooms. It would be replaced with a two-story wing — with parking on the first floor. In preliminary discussions, no additional rooms were to be added to the property.

As proposed, the overlay district would only apply to the Standard property, not other sites on Belle Isle.




Town Hall meeting on Zika tonight at 6 p.m.

zikaThere’s a town hall meeting for Miami Beach residents on the Zika threat tonight at 6 p.m. that will include the state surgeon general and Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

The meeting, scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Waverly Condominium, 1330 West Avenue, is hosted by state Rep. David Richardson. There will be a presentation on protecting yourself and preventing the spread of Zika, as well as a question and answer session.

As you know, Miami Beach between Eight and 28th Streets has been designated by the Centers for Disease Control as a Zika zone.

Thinking of going north on Alton Road this afternoon or coming home on the Julia Tuttle?

You might want to reconsider. President Obama is coming to town, and he’s attending  a couple of fund-raisers on Miami Beach.

As a result, the city is warning commuters that between 4 and 7 p.m., “there will be periodic closures” on the Tuttle, Alton Road north, and the 41st Street corridor.

It might be a good time to sign up for Miami Beach traffic text alerts. They really do help. Or follow the city on Twitter.

Temporary playground in Belle Isle Park? Residents at meeting emphatically say no

The playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park

The playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park

The notion that the park on Belle Isle could host a playground while Maurice Gibb Memorial Park undergoes renovation received a mostly negative response from Belle Isle residents who attended a community meeting Thursday night.

The Miami Beach Parks Department posed the question to the Belle Isle Residents Association, which invited residents to give the city feedback during an association board meeting at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave.

“I wanted them to hear directly from residents” about the proposal, BIRA president Scott Diffenderfer told the roughly 30 residents who showed up. “This is literally to hear your input.”

What the two Miami Beach parks representatives heard was mostly against the idea. Some said the playground would be too noisy. Others said itt would attract too much traffic in an area that lacks parking. The dogs and the children would be a bad combination, one resident said.

Some of the concerns ventured into the bizarre. One resident said the playground would attract children, and the children would “attract sexual offenders.” (We are not making this up).

The one attendee who spoke out in favor of temporarily moving the equipment  pointed out that when Maurice Gibb Park closes for renovations, “people are going to come to the park with their kids anyway,” because it will be the closest available open space for parents in the Belle Isle/Sunset Harbour area.

Cindy Casanova, assistant director of Miami Beach’s Parks and Recreation Department, told residents: “We know there is no appetite for this from anyone here, which is something we needed to hear.”

(UPDATE: There is an effort on Facebook to encourage parents who couldn’t attend the meeting to let the city know they do support the playground move.Parents are urged to email Casanova at

She said the city has no plan to move the equipment to Belle Isle if residents don’t want it.

Diffenderfer said he had approached developer Bradley Colmer, whose company is seeking to build a mixed-use project across from Maurice Gibb park, so see if he would consider temporarily making his property available for the equipment until his development gets city approval and construction can begin. Right now, the proposal is stalled before the city commission.

Diffenderfer said Colmer is”open” to the idea. Casanova said the city would reach out to him.



O Miami brings restorative meditation and poetry to Belle Isle.. in the year 2100

Jillian Mayer leads participants to the Standard pool (Photos courtesy of O, Miami/Farah Diba Cristina Yamini)

Jillian Mayer leads participants to the Standard pool (Photo courtesy of O, Miami/Farah Diba Cristina Yamini)

Your Belle Isle was traveling last week, and missed the big O, Miami poetry event at the Standard.

But our correspondent (and Belle Isle Residents Association board member) Lisa Palley provided a report:

On April 6th, the standard at the The Standard was raised a few notches by O Miami’s poetry missionaries.
The mission of O, Miami Poetry Festival is to give every human existing in our city a poetic encounter. This particular encounter, Current, created by Miami based artist/filmmaker Jillian Mayer, and executed by her band of humanoids, gave Miami a glimpse of how restorative transcendental meditation will look like… in the year 2100.
So, this is underwater poetry?

So, this is underwater poetry? (Photo courtesy of O. Miami / Farah Diba Cristina Yamini)

(Photo courtesy of O, Miami/Farah Diba Cristina Yamini)

First thing you need to know–it happened underwater. Second, it was called the “art of virtual sight recognition,” amongst other things. For the techno-conservatives in the reading audience, please, rest assured, this meditation was a perfect marriage of  ancient wisdom and futuristic innovation.

Jillian’s vision anticipated all the challenges for a 2016 you–and the future “you”–living in the year 2100. Issues like social anxiety due to super-population, inability to focus due to super-stimulation (thank you, perpetual pinging gizmos) and other anxieties… like not being superhuman due to our inability to be productive and perfect 24/7. This interactive performance and site-specific sound piece Current assuaged us, causing all of our anxieties to float away, far away.
To help with social anxiety, Jillian used coaxing imperatives in a serene, half human, half borg voice “do not be disturbed if you come into contact with somebody.” For our compromised attention, those jumping monkeys in our brains, she used sensory isolation and had participants use black painted goggles, as waterproof blindfolds. That way we could focus on the poetic collage of instructions that successfully tapped into our greater imagination. One particular meditation stuck with me, even til now, were these words of poet Mary Oliver asking, imploring us to think.. “What is it you plan to do/ with your one/ wild and precious life?”
Hmmm… how about experience a brilliant poem first hand? Visit and engage with poetry in a variety of ways during the remaining days of April, Miami’s O poetry season.



O, Miami. We’re making underwater poetry at The Standard!

omiamiWe’re about to hit April, which means it’s poetry month. And that’s become a fun time in Miami, thanks to the Knight Foundation and, which puts on an annual poetry festival with great events to celebrate with verse.

O, Miami tries make an encounter with poetry the norm around town.

“We want people to find poetry on rooftops, or in a fortune cookie, on a cafecito cup, at a fashion show, on the sand, on prescription medicine bottles, on the lawn, in hair, on doorsteps, or even under water,” says O, Miami promoter (and Belle Isle Residents Association board member) Lisa Palley.

And this year, that’s where Belle Isle comes in. There’s an O, Miami event on our little island.

It happens April 6 at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at The Standard, 40 Island Ave., and it’s called Current.You have to RSVP to attend. Oh, and pay $6.09.

What is it? A guided virtual reality meditation under water led by  artist Jillian Mayer.

What will happen? We’re not sure, but here’s what the website advises for attire:


Please wear a bathing suit under your clothes.

Please be prepared to:
-Enter a body of water
-Place your head under water
-Relinquish your cell phone for an extended amount of time

Here’s a little more:

“The group will be quietly led into the pool and instructed to take distance from other members in the group. On an audio cue, they will be instructed to lower their heads into the water with their faces fully submerged…..A 15-minute musical/meditational composition will lead the group on a series of mental prompts, conceptual meditations and light movements….”

You get the idea.

Don’t forget — Critical Mass rides tonight and traffic snarls expected

6db2b906-7b08-4e3b-823f-49cef9f16c0fJust a reminder that the monthly Critical Mass Miami bike ride starts at 7:15 p.m., and should be working its way through Miami Beach after after 8 p.m.

The last last leg of the ride goes west down Dade Boulevard and across Venetian Way and our islands to mainland Miami.

Get ready: Critical Mass bike ride will cross Venetian Causeway Friday night


It’s been almost a year since Miami Critical Mass staged its monthly bike ride through the Venetian Islands.

Friday evening, it’s back. and Miami Beach police warn of the usual traffic snarls.

The ride starts at 7:15 p.m. at Government Center downtown, through Northeast Miami to the 79th Street Causeway, then across Normandy Isle to Collins Avenue.

The last leg of the ride will take riders west on Dade Boulevard to Venetian Way and through the Venetian Islands — likely some time after 8 p.m.

So plan to avoid the traffic if you can. If you get caught in it, be patient.

(NOTE: This is a corrected version of this post — an earlier version had the route reversed).


Update: Meeting with Belle Isle Key developer will be March 30 at 7 p.m.

The owners of the Belle Isle Key apartment complex, who want to knock down the current complex and build anew, will present their plans to Belle Isle Residents on Wednesday, March 30 at 7 p.m.

The presentation, which had been announced for Thursday, will happen in the card room at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave.

Venetian opens today at noon; ribbon cutting festivities, celebration run, ride delay driver high-fives

Yes, the Venetian Causeway reopens today after a nine-month rebuild of its westernmost bridge, and if the closed crossing to the mainland has mucked up you commute, that’s good news.

You might want to plan your first trip, though. The celebrations around the reopening may slow traffic.

There’s a ceremony (and ribbon cutting) at 11 a.m. The bridge is expected to be open to traffic around noon.  (Originally, the county said festivities would start at 10 a.m., but hey, we have been waiting this long, right?)

Then, starting at 6 p.m., several South Florida running organizations have encouraged their members to participate in a “United Venetian Run” run. The idea is for groups to run from the Lulemon store on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach and from the Omni Metromover station near the Adrienne Arscht Center and meet for a group photo at the Venetian toll booth on Biscayne Island.

The Miami Beach group is to start running at 6 p.m.; the Miami group at 6:30 p.m. Organizers are from local run clubs and the Miami Marathon, which features the Venetian in its event, but had to route around it last month. They expect about 400 runners.

Cyclists are celebrating, too. More than 600 people have RSVPed for an event that starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Miami Bike Shop (18th and Biscayne), crossing the Venetian and ends around 7 p.m. for a happy hour. in downtown

So…..maybe Tuesday, we return to the causeway to head home at rush hour.