...or tries to...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coral Gables


On Sunday my friend Amy and I drove south to Coral Gables in her new red car to see the play Red. And after a week of laboring on a piece consisting of thirty red fiber objects, it's been a decidedly red week, completed by a jarring sight, in the play, of artist Mark Rothko asleep in his studio with his arms immersed in a bucket of bright red paint. After the play the world outside was mercifully green and yellow and blue. The rows of trees, ficus and banyans, formed wonderful tunnels through all that low blue Miami light. The street I grew up on, on Long Island, was not nearly as dramatic or grand, but our maples were decades old and linked branches over the road this way. They weren't as large or embracing, but this is how I remember them, and I love the trees here as if I grew up under them.


The buildings are beautiful, iced like cakes...








with The Biltmore Hotel  at the neighborhood's center, with all its Di Chirico angles and shadows,






its swimming-pool-blue tilework,


and twilight interior.




The chandeliers are like brooches, and the ceilings as intricate as if they were embroidered.








It's a mix of Italian and Moorish and Spanish architecture, collaged together with the "why not?" that Americans have always been so good at. It shouldn't make sense, though it does, because it's here. You can't quite place the hotel, each corner recalls someplace else, but it still manages to be recognizable as itself somehow, a South Florida design buffet. It fits my adopted state perfectly.


4 comments:

rosanna said...

A mix and match but definitely gorgeous!

Daydreamer said...

A Feast for the Senses, Amy! I LOVE the ornate, exotic and Grand feel of the interior.... the Dusky blue ceiling is DIVINE! The Medieval flavor is there too.... A Palace of the Imagined Mediterranean world... transplanted to those shady Groves... Yes, we Americans have no Antiquity so we create it's semblance from every imaginable style!
I had relatives living in Coral Gables.... a cousin and his wife... but never got there to visit until his funeral a couple of years ago. And my Aunt and Uncle lived in Coconut Grove. I am sure we drove down that very tree arched road..... or one so similar as to make no difference..... I had never imagined it was truly a GROVE!
I have always LOVED those roads where the trees make their own Cathedral Archway of interlaced branches, up here it is the Maples and Oaks... so BEAUTIFUL!
Thank you for transporting me...

Amy said...

I agree, Rosanna-and it's also comfortable, for a fancy hotel, not intimidating at all...

Betsey, thank you for transporting me to New England, which I miss so much, especially at this time of year. I'm so happy you've been here-albeit for a sad reason-it's unique even for Florida, so much so that the trees and the light and the green lizards still manage to surprise me...

Sans! said...

I was admiring what I thought were quite decidedly Moorish features when I came to the quite definitely Gothic Gargoyle?! Only in America?

I am the last person to criticise mishmash coming from a country where "rojak" (malay word meaning mixture) is a national dish. I remember how shy I was touring Singapore with Rosanna showing her what we called an ancient church when it was still under 200 years old, built and rebuilt (after it was struck by lightning twice!)first in the Palladian style and then Neo-Gothic. This is after we have just seen Genoa where frescoes are a dime a dozen and almost every building is an architectural marvel, where old means the middle ages and ancient really means ancient!

Like you, I still love our old buildings though, many of them conserved now. I live in one and work in another. Despite the leaky roofs and their unremarkable style, their significance is undeniable. These distinctively Singaporean houses with a uniquely Singaporean history. And that's why they all tend to make perfect sense, after a while.