Miami Beach in the late 1930s beckoned tourists from the North with a new style. Dozens of architectural creations, with streamlined curves and distinctive finials, created the design trend dubbed Tropical Art Deco. Not everything about them was unique, however. Some, like the Tiffany, the St. Moritz, the Cadillac, and the Essex House, borrowed their names from other prestigious resorts and luxury brands, hoping that familiarity would breed reservations.
Over the decades, the area slipped into decline, and the famous neon-emblazoned names faded. The Senator Hotel, once a symbol of the district’s success, was razed more than a decade ago, despite protests by the area’s Art Deco enthusiasts. But in the 1990s, kitsch turned chic. Development dollars poured in, South Beach became hip, and its illustrious signs burned brightly again.
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