Plus, big changes for the University of Miami’s athletic department and a peek at overlooked 305 history.
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👃 Something smells rotten in the city of Miami

Plus, big changes for the University of Miami’s athletic department and a peek at overlooked 305 history.

By Zach Schlein

Welcome to Wednesday, Miami.

Before we get to the news, I have a question: What are you thankful for? It’s been an annual tradition for The New Tropic to ask readers to share the things they’re most grateful for around this time of year. 

Is it that barista who always remembers your hyper-specific order at one of Panther Coffee’s many locations?  Is it the pup or kitty you adopted — perhaps at The Cat's Meow Café — during the pandemic that’s changed your life furrever? Is it the Miami DJ who’s consistently brought the tunes and provided unforgettable soundtracks to your nights spent back among civilization?

Email me your responses by hitting reply to this newsletter or sending them to through Sunday, and by this time next week, we’ll have a list of all the things that make Miamians grateful to live in the Magic City.

Now, onto the many things to talk about in today’s newsletter...

💧 What Miami is talking about 


Ain’t she a beaut? | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag either #thenewtropic or @thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @coffeeeandcountries)

🗣 The City of Miami has signaled that it’ll be clearing out homeless encampments on SW 2nd Street between Miami Avenue and the Miami River this week. The notice has alarmed houseless residents and activists as the latest in a long series of aggressive moves by the city: As noted by the Miami Herald, “The notice comes about two weeks after the Miami City Commission passed a controversial ordinance that bans homeless encampments and says police can arrest violators, which has put Miami’s homeless population on edge.” No raids have taken place as of writing — you can read more about Miami’s history of addressing homelessness and why these latest actions are being decried at the link. ➡️ (Miami Herald)

🏈 The University of Miami has fired its athletic director just days after a devastating gridiron defeat. Blake James was let go from his position on Monday following the Miami Hurricanes’ last-minute loss to FSU over the weekend. Reports say the Hurricanes’ coach, Manny Diaz, is also facing renewed scrutiny. (ESPN / CBS Sports)

👃 Miami-Dade residents smell something foul. A kind of smelly smell — a smelly smell that smells... smelly. Unfortunately, it’s much worse than anchovies: locals are complaining that their morning routes on the Rickenbacker Causeway are being fouled up by trucks departing the Central District Wastewater Treatment Plant on Virginia Key. Miami New Times spoke with concerned citizens like bicyclist Ira Saferstein who worry that “the particles that he and other cyclists, runners, pedestrians, and high-school students at nearby MAST Academy are inhaling may pose a health risk.” (Miami New Times)

🌴 There’s a lot of ground to be covered when it comes to planting trees around the 305. No, literally: Miami-Dade County has fallen short of its goals to aggressively expand the area’s tree canopy. According to WLRN, “A study has found that the tree canopy cover for Miami-Dade County has ‘not significantly changed’ after five years of aggressive planting.” Officials are hoping to seed more greenery around town as a quality of life measure as well as a counter to climate change and rising temperatures. One county branch, Neat Streets Miami, is angling to lead the Million Trees Miami initiative by planning plantings with cities as well as giving trees away to residents. The Million Trees Miami program’s lofty goal is to provide at least 30% tree canopy cover across the county by 2030. (WLRN)

📖 Turning a new page on Miami’s hidden history


Mary and William Brickell were foundational in building Miami as we know it today. (📸: Courtesy photo)

📚 Miami Book Fair is fully underway, which means it’s time for another look at what this year’s celebration of the written word has in store. For the last two weeks, The New Tropic has shone a spotlight on the fair’s 2021 itinerary, specifically the panels for Hear Us: Writing from the Inside During the Time of Covid and Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, and Unlikely Family.

Now, before Miami Book Fair wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 21, the newsletter is ceding space to Cesar A. Becerra. The writer and historian recently shared his latest work, Orange Blossom 2.0, which was appropriately released on Miami’s 125th birthday on July 28, 2021. The book examines an overlooked chapter of Miami history, the details of which Becerra will be diving into on Sunday alongside Bea Brickell, the great-granddaughter of prominent Magic City figure Mary Brickell.

Becerra has provided a sneak peek of what the book and the panel have in store below:


Historian Cesar A. Becerra prepares to talk with Australian officials in San Francisco before his flight to Australia in 2019. (📸: Courtesy photo)

🔎 Historical stories have a way of repeating themselves, right or wrong. That is, until someone comes along to correct history’s inaccuracies. What if the centuries-old romantic story of how Miami was founded — namely through the will of Julia Tuttle, known as the Mother of Miami, gifting orange blossoms to railroad tycoon Henry Flagler — was not entirely true?  

In fact, there is another mother who has been largely left out of our city’s origin story. For 25 years, I have been on a mission to find the truth and the reasons why this important pioneer has been unaddressed in the city’s oft-told history. My research led me to write Orange Blossom 2.0, in which I tell the untold story of Miami's "Other Mother," Mary Bulmer Brickell, and her pivotal role in the city's founding. 

The book is an attempt to correct the record and finally give Mary the credit she deserves. In preparation to tell the full story of this pioneer, I had to travel to the very land where Mary met her husband William. Many people are surprised when they hear Miami’s earliest days have an Australian connection. This includes Don Slesnick, the former mayor of Coral Gables and now Honorary Consul for Miami's Australian office. He helped me get in contact with actual Australian officials who assisted me in digging deeper down under.


Becerra holding the only known photo of “The Manse,” the building where William and Mary got married. The structure preceded the Presbyterian Church now known as Scott’s Church in Melbourne. (📸: Courtesy photo)

💑 My first visit was to the town where William and Mary met, the border town of Albury. It is here where William Brickell chased the Australian Gold Rush. Later on, after becoming a commissary and coming to own a hotel and coach transportation company, he met seamstress Mary Bulmer in approximately 1856 or 1857. During my travels abroad I visited a building that William once owned as well as the Brickell family gravesite and the train station the couple walked through during a return visit to Australia in their early years. They went on to have a child out of wedlock and married in a Melbourne church in 1862 before setting off on an 85-day journey back to the United States.

Interested in learning more intriguing details on the power players who helped build Miami? Cesar A. Becerra and Bea Brickell will discuss Orange Blossom 2.0 during a panel at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 in Room 8106 at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. 

You can find even more information and cool events by checking out @miamibookfair on Twitter and Instagram as well as the official website.

Promotion from United Way Miami

🤝 This Giving Tuesday share the gift of warmth.

Help provide over 500 local children in low-income areas with basic protection from cold winter school days. Make a difference today.

Give now or pledge and be billed on November 30.
Promotion from The Rhythm Foundation

🎼 Win a pair of tickets

This Saturday, Roberto Carlos Lange – also known as Helado Negro – will grace the stage at the Bandshell with his enchanting tunes.

Giveaway ends tomorrow at noon – enter now!


💪 Take part in the Third Annual Pitch Competition by Ladies Empowerment & Action Program (LEAP), a Miami-based nonprofit empowering current and formerly incarcerated women through entrepreneurial classes and workforce readiness workshops (Online)

🌊 Learn about the “Impact of Sea Level Rise on Historic Places” with University of Miami professor and geology department chair Dr. Harold Wanless (Online)

🚴 Ride your bike on a Friendsgiving-themed route that starts at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (Coconut Grove)


🎶 Groove to R&B tunes and give to good causes during this celebration by the OLCDC (Opa-locka)

💜 It's Give Miami Day! Support your favorite nonprofit with a donation today (Online)

🏎️Enjoy a VIP Supercar Show, auction, and cocktail reception during the Together We CAN fundraiser benefitting the UF Health Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment (Wynwood)

🍳 Work up an appetite and watch Give Miami Day's Chefs Panel with Michelle Bernstein, Niven Patel and Tristen Epps (Online)

📸 Attend the opening of the photo exhibition "Female in Focus" at Green Space Miami (Little River)


📽 Watch "Critical Thinking," a Miami-made and John Leguizamo-directed film sharing the true story of Miami Jackson High School's winning chess team at Coral Gables Art Cinema (Coral Gables)

💃 Throw down with titans of techno as Richie Hawtin, ANNA, and Andres Line take over the decks at Space Park (Little Haiti)


🛍️ Shop for holiday gifts from local Miami artisans at THesis's After Market (Coral Gables)

🎨 Explore nature through interactive art, dance, music, and storytelling classes duringFamily Day at The Underline (Brickell)

🦃 Share the joy of cooking with the next generation and learn how to make delicious Thanksgiving leftover dumplings with cranberry dipping sauce during Kids Club at The Doral Yard (Doral)


🎁 Snag some holiday presents at Pop Up & Shop Up, The Lincoln Eatery's artisan market of local vendors (Miami Beach)

🛥️ Learn the real history of Biscayne Bay on a boat tour led by local historian Cesar Becerra and Bea Brickell, the great-granddaughter of Mary and William Brickell (Key Biscayne)

☝️ One more thing… 

💝 Yesterday, The New Tropic had the opportunity to chat on Instagram Live with The Miami Foundation President and CEO Rebecca Fishman Lipsey to hear all about this year’s Give Miami Day.

On the off chance you’re unfamiliar, Give Miami Day takes place tomorrow, and for 24 hours, everyone who lives, works, and plays in Miami joins together to give back, invest in the causes they care about, and show up for a stronger, more equitable community. You can learn more by visiting this charity celebration’s social media and official website to start thinking about what causes you’d like to give back to. 

Be kind out there,

Zach at The New Tropic

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