Little Habana • Calle Ocho
December | 2015
December 8, 2015 — My next stop is to Little Havana or Calle Ocho (so called because it's on 8th Street). Calle Ocho is noted as a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami.
Little Habana is the best known neighborhood for Cuban exiles in the world. It is characterized by its street life, with restaurants, music and other cultural activities, mom and pop enterprises, political passion, and great warmth amongst its residents.
It is also known for its landmarks, including a Walk of Fame, celebrating famous artists and Latin personalities, including José Luis "El Puma" Rodríguez, Celia Cruz, Willy Chirino, and Gloria Estefan,
Local celebrities also get a star, including the owner of the local MacDonald's on Calle Ocho.
On Calle Ocho one can find the Cuban Memorial Boulevard, with an eternal flame remembering fallen Cubans.
La Plaza de la Cubanidad and lively music.
It is the location of Domino Park, a major meeting places in Little Habana. Almost any time of the day it is filled with elder Cubans and residents of Calle Ocho neighborhood playing dominoes or chess.
The historic Tower Theater, one of Miami's oldest cultural landmarks. It's particularly significant in Cuban-Miami history during the late 50s and throughout the 60s, when large numbers of Cuban refugees fled to Miami. Calle Ocho became a place of new beginnings and for many Cuban families, films at the Tower Theater were an introduction to American culture. Eventually, the Tower Theater altered its programming to include English-language films with Spanish subtitles, and eventually Spanish-language films.
Up and down the street, I find a rooster standing on each corner or looking out a storefront window. They are part of Roosterwalk art installation, created and installed in 2002 by local artist, Pedro Damian.
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