Tag Archives: The Standard

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 www.omiami.org 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 omiami.org, 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.

Three-story home proposed for tiny Farrey Lane on Belle Isle

The vacant property at 7 Farrey Lane is next to the Standard.

The vacant property at 7 Farrey Lane is next to the Standard.

A prominent Miami Beach architect wants to build a three-story glass and concrete home on the Biscayne Bay end of Belle Isle’s Farrey Lane, just east of The Standard spa resort.

IMG_4589The bayfront site is small, as are all the lots on Farrey Lane, one of two Belle Isle streets developed in the early 1940s with one-story villas. The property is almost 4,300 square feet, tiny by single-family home standards, though the among the largest on Farrey Lane.

The owner is architect Rene Gonzalez, noted for his contemporary glass and stone designs for homes and buildings. One home he designed, a 30,000-square-foot mansion in Indian Creek Village, sold for $47 million in 2012, then the most expensive home sale in Miami-Dade County.

The Farrey Lane home obviously is much smaller than that — proposed to be 2,700 square feet. Gonzalez bought the vacant lot in March 2014 for $1,435,000.

Gonzalez’s proposal may be smaller than his other projects, but it’s big for Farrey Lane, where property records show most homes are two-bedroom, one-bath, and about 1,200 square feet. There are two three bedroom homes on the street, one 1,500 square feet, and the other 2,400, and they also front the bay. All are one story.

The 3-story home would go here.

The 3-story home would go here.

The 40-foot height of the home is driven in part by elevating it for flood protection.

Miami Beach’s Design Review Board is scheduled to consider the project on Tuesday. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

Gonzalez is seeking three variances, all driven by the small size of the lot. They would waive minimum setbacks for a dock, for side property lines and for parking in front of the home.

City staff has recommended approving the variances, noting that the actual square footage of the home doesn’t require a variance, nor does the building height.

The bungalows on Farrey.

The bungalows on Farrey.

The Belle Isle Residents Association wants the Design Board to delay its decision. In a email to homeowners, BIRA president Scott Diffenderfer advised that neighbors are concerned about the scale of the project, and Gonzalez has not responded to a request that he meet with the association to give an overview of his plans.

“We have asked that this presentation be deferred until the neighborhood has a chance to review, but it appears the developer is not willing to do that,” he wrote. 

Gonzalez’s designs have drawn international praise. He was featured in a  July 2013 Wall Street Journal profile,  which said he  “is interested in how homes reflect and interact with their environments, making glass and reflective surfaces his favorite materials. In one apartment he designed in South Beach, he used reflective latex panels on the ceiling to reflect the view outside, giving the room the impression of being surrounded by the outside scenery.”

Setting the Standard: another Belle Isle sunset

IMAG0896Our friend Herb Frank shared this weekend shot of sunset from paradise, in this case the deck over at The Standard.


Belle Isle boil water advisory still in place, could end today

Venetian Way still must be repaired at site of water main break.

Venetian Way still must be repaired at site of water main break.

There is still a boil water advisory in effect for some 2000 Belle Isle households Thursday morning, resulting from the water main break that happened Monday around noon.

And Venetian Way still has a gaping hole in front of The Standard, where workers excavated to get to the pipes and make the fix.

The boil water advisory will be lifted once water bacteria tests are clear; that typically takes at least 48 hours after water service is restored. Service was restored at about 9:45 p.m. Monday.

Belle Isle Blog will update as soon as we get the word.


Get ready for continuing construction at Belle Isle’s doorstep

Rendering of proposed Marriott hotel

Rendering of proposed Marriott hotel

A Marriott Residence Inn on 17th Street. A West Avenue bridge over the Collins Canal. A streetscape project in Sunset Harbour.

If you think the maze of detours and clamor of construction equipment just east of Belle Isle will end with the completion of the Alton Road project  (and the Venetian Isles streetscape), think again.

There’s a series of new projects in the queue, Belle Isle residents learned  Wednesday night at a meeting at the Belle Plaza condominium.  Belle Isle Residents Association President Scott Diffenderfer gave this overview:


The lot is the triangle shape northwest of the A

The Marriott Residence Inn the city approved last spring for the pie-shaped property at West Avenue between 17th Street and the Collins Canal is in the process of being permitted by the city, and work could begin in a month or two. The city approved a 116-room hotel designed by architect Kobi Karp for the site.

Commissioners chose this configuration for the bridge.

The city chose this configuration for the bridge.

— Design work on the proposed West Avenue Bridge, which would cross the Collins Canal and link Sunset Harbour with the West Avenue area near Epicure, is moving forward, though construction won’t begin until the Alton Road project is complete.

The city commission approved construction of the bridge in April 2012. The bridge will include one northbound lane and two southbound lanes, one of them for cars turning left on to 17th Street from Sunset Harbour. There will be a sidewalk and bike path in each direction.

— The city is preparing documents to enable bidding for a streetscape  project in Sunset Harbour that will include solving the flooding problem and installing new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping. Bids will be sought this summer.

Belle Isle residents received updates on a variety of other issues:

— Alton Road reconstruction. The city and the Florida Department of Transportation are trying to get the project finished by December 2014, seven months earlier than projected, by working longer hours Belle Isle residents will get updates on a variety of public and private construction projects on and around our island when the Residents Association meets Tuesday night.
Among the items on the agenda:
— We’ll learn the latest timetable for switching the toll collection on the Veneitan Causeway to Sunpass, and how that may affect annual pass renewals, which happen each May.
— The Florida Department of Transportation will provide an update on the Alton Road construction project, which has disrupted traffic throught the east side of Miami Beach.
— The city will report on the sulphur odor on Belle Isle and around the park, as well as the park landscaping.
— The city will explain the delays on the Collins Canal bikepath, a partially completed project that was due to be complete last year. The pathway is mostly done, but lighting and landscaping are not.
— We’re get a report on the Sunset Harbour pumping station project, designed to reduce flooding in that neighborhood.
— The Belle Isle Residents Association will update several development projects near us — the 17th Street Marriott Residence Inn, proposed apartment on Belle Isle at the Belle Isle Key apartment location and a proposed parking expansion and renovation at The Standard.

The meeting happens at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave. There is a meet and greet at 6 p.m. and the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Sent from my iPad on construction. FDOT representative Enrique Tamayo told homeowners that FDOT will try to minimize the impact on neighborhoods, but a major project like this is very disruptive.

Venetian Causeway conversion to SunPass. This is expected to happen in late summer. Venetian Island property owners with C-Pass transponders will be contacted so they can register their SunPass devices to work properly on at the toll plaza. We’ll still pay an annual $24 fee; other causeway users will be charged a toll each time on their SunPass. There will no longer be toll takers at the plaza.

The city has switched from iPark devices to a PaybyPhone, a smartphone app to allows you to charge metered parking to a credit card. The new app will be in service in a month or so.

— Proposed Standard Hotel renovation and new parking structure. This idea, floated by the hotel in January 2013, isn’t being pushed by the owners. They received a lukewarm reception from the neighborhood last year, and haven’t submitted a formal proposal to the city.

Another Belle Isle post card memory: The Lido Spa

Touting the Lido as "Miami Beach's only spa."

Touting the Lido as “Miami Beach’s only spa.”

As we wait for updates on the next step for The Standard’s proposed renovation, our crack research team cranked up the Wayback Machine for a look at the Lido Spa in its second coming.

A new way to vacation...

A new way to vacation…

Remember, the Belle Isle motel/spa/hotel launched in 1953 as the Monterrey Hotel, designed by noted Miami Modern architect Norman Giller. Second Gen was the Lido Spa, in 1960, when the new owner added the three-story lobby and spa building with the classic sign and gold grille panels.

Out latest postcard find dates back to the early 1960s. The only high-rises visible on Belle Isle in the postcard are Belle Tower, the island’s first high-rise (1958) at 16 Island Ave., and behind it, Belle Plaza, at 20 Island Ave., Belle Plaza was completed in 1962.