Some South Beach History

There is a lot of history spread out all over South Beach, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Miami Design Prevention League. Be sure to walk along Ocean Drive and take in its former splendor and history. If you are a movie buff like myself, you have probably watched the 1983 film, “Scarface”, at some time or other. Scripted by Oliver Stone, this Brian de Palma updating of the old gangster story is now regarded as a classic. An old English teacher of mine referred to it as basically RICHARD III with a lot of coke. When Fidel Castro opened up the harbour at Mariel in May 1980 to allow 125,000 Cubans to join relatives in the US, he took the opportunity to export some of the country’s toughest criminals. Al Pacino’s character, Tony Montana’s arrival in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach was shot on Ocean Drive at 7th Street. The ‘Sun Ray Apartments’, where Montana’s brother is dismembered by chainsaw, has been revamped to become Johnny Rocket’s, 728 Ocean Drive between the Beacon and Colony hotels near 7th street. Go ahead and walk up the stairs and maybe knock on the door where the scene took place in ’83. Don’t be scarred, the chainsaw wielding Columbians are long gone, and at the writing of this post the apartments above Johnny Rockets were up for lease, so I don’t think anyone will answer.

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