Miami Life: Skyscraper, Thrift Shops, Personal Invites

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There’s a 100-story building coming to downtown Miami —the tallest building south of Manhattan. We also have some of the best thrift shops in the county. I have personal invites for you today. The first is for an opening night exhibit at The Miami Art Fairs and Art Basil. Another big Miami Art Fair event is BIG LAWN, by artist  John DeFaro that highlights environmental self-identity and garden-based healing

The Tallest Building South of Manhattan   

I am not sure why anyone would want to live so high up that everything on the ground looks like ants walking around.  I guess that the latest trend for billionaires buying condos in New York is now to do so in Miami as well. Miami is definitely becoming New York with good weather. You are not going to believe this but the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Residences, owned by Hilton Hotels, is building a 100-story tower in downtown Miami. Rising 1,049 feet above Biscayne Bay, the unique looking high rise will be the tallest building south of Manhattan.

The ads for the new construction say the building offers breathtaking views. Have you ever been 100 stories up? I have and you can barely see anything. Most of the time you are living above the clouds with complete fog around you. I have a client, Al Kahn, who lived on the 60th floor of the Deutsche Bank Center in New York City  (also One Columbus Circle, formerly Time Warner Center and AOL). He told me that he felt like he was living in a faraway environment. He could never see civilization.

I live on the 36th floor of a luxury building on South Beach. While my views are stunning, it’s still very high up. It can get scary up here during lightning and thunderstorms or very windy weather. I can’t even imagine living though that on the 50 to 100th floor. Shake, rattle and roll.

The famous architect Carlos Ott, with the help of Sieger Suarez, designed the building to resemble a pile of unevenly stacked glass cubes. At 1,049 feet tall, Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Residences Miami is Miami’s tallest tower and Miami’s first super tall skyscraper. Residences have dramatic views of Biscayne Bay, the Port of Miami, Brickell Avenue, Downtown Miami, Key Biscayne, and South Beach. Carlos Ott is the mastermind behind the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and amazing residential buildings in Miami like Echo BrickellEcho Aventura and Muse Sunny Isles.


  • 100 Stories
  • Fully finished private residences
  • Suites, 1,2,3 and 4-bedrooms
  • Penthouse Collection
  • Unobstructed views of downtown, Miami Beach and Atlantic Ocean
  • Immersive resort-style pool with outdoor cafe and private cabanas
  • Private residential pool deck overlooking Biscayne Bay
  • 24-hour doormen and concierge services
  • Signature Spa
  • Peacock Alley
  • Savant premium smart home technology
  • Kitchen and bathrooms feature custom cabinetry curated by BAMO
  • Sub-Zero and Wolf appliance package
  • Dornbracht and Duravit fixtures


Miami Has Some of The Best Thrift Shops in The Country 

As we all have been reading in the newspapers for months, lots of billionaires are moving to Miami because of the constant sunshine, the magnificent, wide beaches, the big city restaurants, the multitude of lakes, bays and rivers, and yes no personal state income tax. Yet, I just learned that more second hand, consignment, and thrift shops are moving to this area as well.

It didn’t make sense to me until I remembered how rich people shop. I should know better than most others. I live among them in South Beach. You can now call me South Bitch for reporting what I know. The fact is that rich folks want a bargain just as much as poorer ones. The truth is they even want it more. They feel it’s some kind of entitlement for being rich. If there is a bargain some place, they are first online.

I should learn from them because we tend to buy high and sell low. We give stuff away. We never sell through many of the online services. We are either lazy or just do not want to bother waiting for someone to bite.

I’m going to visit some of the thrift shops listed in the “Time Out” link below. A very wealthy girl friend said I should learn to mix and match my clothes and accessories. My shoes can be $1,000 and my clutch, $5.00. No one will ever know. I have a little secret. I would never buy a pair of shoes for a $1,000, $500, or even $250. I’m happy around the $100 price area. I like lots of shoes to pick from so I need many affordable pairs.

But I will start visiting the growing list of secondhand shops in Miami. I am told I might bump into Cher, Cindy Lauper, Gloria Estafan, JLo, or even Gisele Bündchen

That’s better than the bargains.

Your Personal Invite

The Miami Art Fairs and Art Basil start November 30th and end December 31st.  I want to share the most exciting events with you.  The opening reception is Wednesday, November 30th, where you can view Floating Garden, a solo painting exhibit by Visual Artist Flying Knight.

As part of her ongoing “Painting in the Stars” series; in these playful paintings, Flying Knight explores global warming through the narrative of a prospective astro journey into a world solely inhabited by lighthearted plants until mankind arrives and destruction begins.

The paintings are displayed within a whimsical landscape created by plant artist South Beach Farmer.

Jayda Knight, aka: Flying Knight, Is a Miami Beach visual artist. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and lived in New York prior to moving to Miami Beach in 2014. Knight is eminent for her uniquely playful street art displayed on Miami Beach and Lincoln Road. Her distinctive style, self-coined as “Pop Deco”, captures on point subjects with a nostalgic and often-Art Deco flair. RESERVE YOUR SPOT.

Opening reception: Wednesday, November 30th. Lincoln Center, 690 Lincoln Road, 2nd FL, Miami Beach

Another Big Miami Art Fair Event—Join In    

Artist/researcher, and choreographer Niurca Marquez with John DeFaro

John DeFaro is a queer, self-taught artist, environmentalist, and activist. He is deeply invested in celebrating his identity, love of gardening, and conservation. His project BIG LAWN links global warming to his earliest days of the HIV/AIDS crisis and his more recent substance addiction. John moved from fine art and home furnishing design in the 1980s and 1990s to work that emerged from the HIV/AIDS health crisis and now the urgency of climate change.

2020 began a period that forced individuals to confront and question their private environments, habits and relationships as house and garden domestic spaces became sites for healing, personal expression, and routine. For John DeFaro such confrontation and questioning began much sooner. At an early age, gardening was his desired household chore and later became the means of supporting himself. John’s out-of-doors conversation with nature inspired an unbroken chain of inspiration, self-healing, and unstructured experimentation.

His life is bracketed by two epidemics—first in his early 20s and now his early 60s. In 1987 John tested positive for the HIV virus. Years followed with severe medicine, some experimental with side effects that manifested into an unsettling, challenging, and confusing life well into the 90s. This later led to drug abuse that compounded his isolation and questioned hope. This past September John celebrated 35 years as a healthy HIV and drug abuse survivor. His powerful will to live, confrontation of stigma, and ‘garden-based healing’ are linked to his art practice.

BIG LAWN involves looking at art from his early career to present day. Works on paper, paintings, and video will be displayed at his studio at Peekaboo Studios, 690 Lincoln Road, Suite 300, Miami Beach. At Peekaboo Studios his dreamlike landscape images and childish heart imagery depict comforting natural settings that investigate the boundaries of desire, sexuality, and loneliness. In addition, as an ephemeral art performance to the studio exhibition, John will push his ‘Greenworks’ battery-powered lawn mower (blade removed) on public sidewalks and roads interacting with dancer Niurca Marquez during Miami Art Week/Art Basel, 11/28 – 12/04.

Through his battery-powered lawn mower John addresses the fact that gas and oil powered lawn mowers contribute to climate change as they account for more air pollution than automobiles. In American culture, plush, green lawns are intertwined with status, ego, family, personal agency and more. Lawns are indicative of success. They are a physical manifestation of the American Dream of home ownership. John’s activist project exposes the harsh environmental negative impact of everyday lawn care and maintenance.

BIG LAWN emphasizes the fragility and complexity of living on our shared planet, promoting the discussion of how everything can be taken away vs. what can be saved. BIG LAWN collaborators include artist/researcher, and choreographer Niurca Marquez, clothing designer Karelle Levy, founder and owner of KRELwear  tropical knitwear, Maker Juan ‘Erman’ Gonzales, video designer and sound editor Daniel Russo, and photographers Meg Pukel and James Mann.

November 25-January 5. BIG LAWN.  Artist John DeFaro Highlights Environmental Self-Identity and Garden-Based Healing.  Free Outdoor Live Performance. November 30, 2022, 6:30 PM. Peekaboo Studios outdoor entrance area. 690 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach (Lincoln Center Building).


  • Lois Whitman-Hess

    As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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