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From a sleepy, crime-infested retirement town to one of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet.

– Charles J. Kropke
Host/Author/Historian

In the documentary, “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke takes us through Miami’s transformative history, “from a sleepy, crime-infested retirement town to one of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet.”  Charles illustrates the history of Miami Beach through its early pioneers – John Collins, The Lummus Brothers, and Carl Fisher – who invested in the original infrastructure of Miami Beach.   Later, Mr. Kropke dives into the effect the Mariel Boatlift had on the retirement community, which was already rooted there.  Finally, Charles interviews the former mayor, developers, business owners and preservationists who fought to bring the city into a renaissance and won. Click here to watch the trailer.

We got the word out.

– Nancy Liebman
Historical Preservationist

In the documentary, “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke shines a light on the preservationists, like Nancy Liebman, “We marched on city hall…cheering, ‘save the Art Deco district'” said Leibman. “We packed the city commission chambers.  We got our word out.  You can’t have a great community unless you have built it on the roots of the past.  It has to have heart and soul.  It’s not all about how much money you can make from the buildings. I’m very proud to have been a part of the success in South Beach.  I am still ready to fight for the next stage.” Click here to watch the trailer.

It was that dangerous out here

– David Wallack
Owner of Mangos

In “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke informs us of Miami Beach’s history.  “In the spring of 1980, Fidel Castro releases 120,00 people,” says Kropke.  Told them they can leave Cuba.  And with that he sends a lot of the criminal element and a lot of them land right here.”  David Wallack, owner of Mangos on South Beach, explains how Ocean Drive became a seedy part of town. “All of Miami Beach was vacant, empty and so they could house everybody here cheaply.  They emptied not only the jails but their asylums for their criminally insane and everything else and put them on boats and they all came here.  I actually couldn’t let a person walk even right from the front door to a car parked right in front alone.”   Click here to watch the trailer.

“This is the most dramatic fight the preservation movement from all over the country has had for a long time and it’s far from over.”

– Barbara Capitman
Historic Preservationist

In “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke interviews Nancy Liebman about the role Barbara Capitman played in Miami Beach preservation, “Anything happens to one of her buildings she would feign a heart attack,” said Liebman of Capitman.  “She was a master at promotion.  She was the smoke and mirrors queen.  Without that kind of PR all would have been lost.”  Originally, a New Yorker, Barbara and her husband were familiar with preservation and sought out commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce for preservation, but to no avail. Finally, they went to the state for support and found it.  Barbara founded an army of preservationists in writers, designers, and gay communities who helped protect over a thousand buildings.  Click here to watch the trailer.

“They were right.”

–Craig Robins
Developer, DACRA Realty

In the documentary, “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke introduces us to Craig Robins, a developer of South Beach who was once on the fence between development and preservation.  “The real turning point for me was the Senator Hotel. On the one hand, the Senator was an important building.  On the other hand they were developing all these buildings on Ocean Drive.  I thought why not let them develop their property and make it functional.  But when the Senator Hotel came down I was changed forever. I realized how horrible it was to lose that asset and how right the preservationists were. It was at that moment that I became a much more ardent preservationist myself.”  Click here to watch the trailer.

“At night it becomes a land of the walking dead.”

–Alex Daoud
Former Mayor of Miami Beach

In the documentary “MIAMI BEACH: A Hundred Years of Making Waves” Charles J. Kropke takes a ride with Alex Daoud, the former three term mayor and city commissioner of Miami Beach. Daoud describes Miami Beach of the 1980s after the influx of the Marielitos, the criminal element of the Mariel Boatlift:  “The elderly could not come out. They were murdered in sprees that had never been seen before,” says Daoud. “We started to take the law into our own hands.  We started to use the term, ‘attitude adjustment sessions.’  We would mace them.  We would take their pants, their money, and we would take them to the worst, most dangerous sections of our community and leave them there.  And the really worst ones, we would throw over bridges – and I’m talking about very high bridges.”  Click here to watch the trailer.

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