Posts tagged “Palm Beach

Ferraris and Swamp Buggies

Posted on August 20, 2012

Mention Naples, Florida, and images of ostentatious wealth quickly come to mind. On any given day, driving its residential streets requires dodging landscape company trailers for the hundreds whose buzzing equipment grooms banyan-lined, palm-studded green carpets of St. Augustine. Surely few places its size have more golf courses, gated “communities,” palatial homes, in-ground swimming pools, posh boutiques, and high-luxury cars (The town’s Ferrari Club is one of several local enthusiasts’ organizations). A trip down Fifth Avenue South conjures a vision that is one part Mediterranean seaside town and one part lifestyle center. It was not always so. For much of the twentieth century, as American Tourism contributor Aaron Cowan of Slippery Rock University argues, Naples mixed downscale “old Florida” with upscale nods to Palm…

5th Ave. to Worth Ave. to 5th Ave. South

Posted on May 13, 2012

This 1946 scene of Palm Beach, Florida, shows the resort town’s main retail street, Worth Avenue. Sometimes called the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” the street became home to many upscale retailers. Worth Avenue in turn offered a fitting model for a later Mediterranean-themed makeover of Naples, Florida’s Fifth Avenue South, where a similarly affluent northern tourist clientele wintered.

Tourist Fantasies Loom Large in AIA Florida Top 100

Posted on April 20, 2012

Innovative developers have long made dramatic use of architectural expression to appeal to travelers’ search for extraordinary pleasure grounds. Walt Disney’s theme parks, for example, trade on their embodiment of childlike whimsy.  Whole towns from Pueblo-inspired Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the 18th-century fantasy of Colonial Williamsburg offer coherent landscapes for tourists.  Likewise, Florida has a long history of creating iconic structures that set the tone in many of its resort areas. The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, a massive, 1950s modern resort, recently garnered the #1 vote among a list of the top 100 buildings in Florida identified by the Florida division of the American Institute of Architects.  The Fontainebleau launched an entire style called “Miami Modern” that proved highly influential in both…