Goodbye, Wynwood: From Chris Brown to Clive's, Miami's Hottest Neighborhood Is Marching Toward Irrelevancy

Categories: Opinion

The_Dissident.jpg
As The Dissident, J.J. Colagrande turns his critical eye on Miami culture. This week: Mourning the death of Wynwood as a locals' scene.

Wynwood, long considered Miami's hippest, trendiest, coolest neighborhood, is no longer that hip or trendy; in fact, burgeoning Wynwood might officially be risky business.

Dozens of out-of-town media outlets have heralded the neighborhood lately. In December, The New York Times noted how "the newfound allure of Wynwood is the latest testament to how art... can sprinkle its metaphysical magic and transform even the bleakest places."

Newfound allure? That's rich.

Locals know Wynwood has been alluring for years; in fact, many locals will tell you Wynwood's decline is already apparent. Indulge me two examples.

See also:
- The Dissident: How Ultra Music Festival and WMC Are Hurting Miami
- "What's Next For Wynwood" Panel Devolves Into Petty Fighting and Personal Attacks
- Where Is the Next Wynwood? Miami Gallerists Predict the Next Gritty Art Scene

clives-cafe-1.7171656.131.jpg
The first example: Clive's. After 38 years in the neighborhood, the Jamaican eatery on North Miami Avenue, next to the Electric Pickle, closed its doors forever last Saturday. The Miami Herald reports a prominent Miami Beach group has rented the space with the intention of opening a restaurant.

This might appear to be a good thing -- even an upgrade, some may argue. But on the contrary, Clive's is just another example of the gentrification occurring throughout the neighborhood as rents are tripling, even quadrupling in some instances. It may be business, but it's cruel. A business like Clive's provided the neighborhood authenticity, reliability, consistency, and comfort. Clive's felt like home. You can't erase 38 years.

Now the Wynwood institution has joined the other businesses and locals that have put their blood, sweat, and tears into the neighborhood and are now leaving en masse to the tune of Bob Marley's "Exodus."

Those who've given to Wynwood are not being rewarded. The neighborhood, once a stellar representation of Miami's growth, pulsing and teeming with street art and spirit, is quickly evolving into a haute real-estate-driven Babylonian artistic Ponzi scheme.


My Voice Nation Help
24 comments
strangewaysmiami
strangewaysmiami

i liked wynwood when (midtown) was the seaboard truck yard, and wynwood meant being afraid of going to wynwood.

strangewaysmiami
strangewaysmiami

i liked wynwood when (midtown) was the FEC truck yard, and wynwood meant being afraid of going to wynwood.

heynastie
heynastie

clives is gone ? I've eaten there 500 times . goodbye chicken with brown gravy and all that good stuff for around 7 bucks . i guess ill just have to  pride and joy and eat a half bbq chicken for 14 bucks and support the hipsters who wait tables there . 

federico61
federico61

The Area is getting BETTER not WORSE,be happy is changing,hopefully it will be totally clean in a year or two.Become another great area in Miami.New business,more decscent people with education,not the trash that use to live there,hopefully they are all gone sooner than later,Progress is coming

mikemoskos
mikemoskos

Just as happened in the Grove, South Beach, the Upper Eastside, the Design District, etc. 

brayrotten
brayrotten

One thing: This is Miami, Bro. Did you really expect anything different to happen? The spirit of this city is governed by money and trends (which in the end means money). It's embedded in the roots of the people of this city is to always want more money. When the elite, or mafia, of Miami chooses to experience culture and tradition, they travel to Europe, Asia, or elsewhere. To them, Miami means business. I wish it was different, but over the years I've seen that it just ain't. Much love to you for writing this article, though. And good luck finding paradise, it is out there.

Istilllikewynwood
Istilllikewynwood

I understand your point of view but, it suffers from the Hipster's mind set.  "Oh rent is tripling? Our night is getting popular?.... Fuck it,it's lost. "  You have to fight for it. Why wasn't anything organized to keep Clive's around? I'm starting to think that nothing was ruined.. it just became uncool to be seen at. 

rdeal
rdeal

Nice article JJ. The chris Brown Britto part was pretty funny.



stopmiami.danny
stopmiami.danny

JJ: I understand your dismay upon learning that Wynwood isn't the hip, sleepy artists' enclave it was 10 years ago. But to say, "But what about the people who made the neighborhood? Where are the locals going?", and then refer to the same old eight people, is mind-boggling in its short-sighted-ness and perhaps even worse. Unless, by "locals", you meant the usual tribe of coke-sniffing dildos that ruin everything they touch, and not the families who have lived in Wynwood for the 38 or more years that Clives has been there. Everyone knows who ruined Wynwood, and until the artists and the gallerists can face down the developers, they will continue to lose. Downtown is just the next step.

shanegregory30
shanegregory30

I feel you JJ.  But I have to ask...  What are the numbers?

dudeyouknowme
dudeyouknowme

I had to go back to September 2012 of your articles to find ONE that is not talking shit about wynwood. Do everybody a favor and talk shit about doral, aventura, midtown, downtown, coral gables, medley, miramor, miami lakes, OVERTOWN, but for everybody's sake STFU.

dudeyouknowme
dudeyouknowme

I had to create this account to point out some irony here.

Miami New Times moved to Wynwood.

Quit moaning about gentrification! You are not making it better... Promote what you want promoted instead.

stopmiami.danny
stopmiami.danny

To be clear, I was not referring to the artists you mentioned as coke-sniffing dildos, but to the usual suspect/hangers-on. They are all great artists and wonderful people. Also,  BFI, and DV were not Wynwood based, and they will be located in another developer's corrupt wet dream.  Good luck with that.

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande

@dudeyouknowme notice how this hateful commentator has created an account and then doesn't put his or her name on it. There's nothing in the world worse than a troll who hides behind anonymity. Rather than telling me to STFU, why not debate the content, which asks some real, interesting questions. 

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande

@stopmiami.danny  the simple two points i'm trying to convey here (and I don't think this is my best work, it actually feels a little trite) is that Wynwood is shifting its focus from art to cheap celebrity culture. Also, it is unjust that those who put their blood, sweat and tears into the neighborhood are being pushed out. But, you're right. Downtown is just the next step...

dudeyouknowme
dudeyouknowme

@jjcolagrande @dudeyouknowme

The title of your article is: "Goodbye Wynwood ..." What are you promoting by this? Do you miss your golden years between 2005-2011 when life in wynwood was so great, nay so much better? You should have been here for the 90's!!! Let's welcome back the 90's to wynwood everybody! Grab your AK's.

 There is no debate here. It really doesn't matter who I am or what my name is either, gentrification is happening, you can call me Sir. Gentri if you like. In theory I would be your side on this, I would love to see Clives stay in Wynwood, bars not being restricted and closed early etc due to its increasing popularity. What I pointed out was that the company which you work for, Miami New Times is renting an office in wynwood for $30+ a square foot. Miami New Times is equally responsible for Clive's moving out, hence you also bought into Goldman's vision. Could there be another purpose for wynwood than just a hipster "local" hangout where restaurant's stay open for a century, and even stay true to it's original purpose of promoting all that is the arts? Maybe that's what we should focus on. Yet, I think we both know that in general miamian's lack the ambition to take part in something that lasts longer than one evening.

The street art murals that made wynwood what it is today were mostly not made by "local" artists. In fact, they were invited from everywhere and together created something perceived as a cool local setting for people to enjoy and gather. Guess who follows people? Businesses, that's who. It's an old tired discussion we will have about gentrification.

"Now the Wynwood institution has joined the other businesses and locals that have put their blood, sweat, and tears into the neighborhood and are now leaving en masse to the tune of Bob Marley's "Exodus." 

Who are we talking about here? Construction workers? Electricians?  Plumbing suppliers? Korean Clothiers? Cement producers? Teachers? 

You are using your loud voice in the wrong way. Promote what you wan't promoted. Don't be so sentimental about a neighborhood that was only created in recent years, which clive's pre-dates by many. Clive's could have opened two blocks north in Midtown 38 years ago... What about north of 29th street on NW 2nd? Right behind the gates to "wynwood". Why didn't you complain about the goldsmith who was forced to close because warehouses are popping up in that area now? Please, please, keep that area full of crackheads and prostitutes  for the love of wynwood!!!

OR IS THAT NOT WYNWOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU BIG GUY?

stopmiami.danny
stopmiami.danny

@jjcolagrande @stopmiami.danny JJ, the important thing is to have the discussion, or at least to start the discussion, so thank you for putting it out there. When Britto moved in, holy shit was that depressing.  But now, at least to me, it makes perfect sense. And that is sad. 

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande

"I want you off the wall if you're playin' the wall..
I said whatcha whatcha whatcha want..." 

Adam Horowitz

Go sell some mortgages-- Grant Stern--- and stop twisting my words...

dudeyouknowme
dudeyouknowme

@jjcolagrande It would be great if people visiting or planning to visit miami, casually reading articles about wynwood in NY Times and think, "hey, awesome there is actually something worth visiting Miami for. No, JJ Colagrande wouldn't have any of it. People should instead read about a place that was once great, and which currently is dying. 

Dying so hard that it is actually growing into a live and work community in Miami that doesn't require a car? And its walls are still being painted. 

Would love for you to write this article a week before Art Basel. You could really hammer in your point of wynwood dying.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Clubs

Loading...