28 thoughts on “Hialeah”

  1. One caveat for those considering relocating/ visiting the area. Learn Spanish first.
    Hialeah is the least diverse city in the country. (Not hyperbole. Google it.)
    Young adults born and raised in Hialeah speak English as their second language. It is a cultural tradition to speak Spanish at home.
    It results in a population in which Hispanic newcomers ,those with minimal education , and those who do not work outside of the city do not speak English with proficiency. The rest of the population habitually speaks Spanish, although they will speak English when not in Miami or when English-only speaking people are present.
    My non-Hispanic husband (I am half Cuban) and children have tried to drive-through for burgers and shop at CVS there and were shocked when the workers did not understand them, and the workers seemed irritated by this.
    Much of Miami-Dade County is now primarily Spanish-speaking, but Hialeah in particular is exclusively for Hispanics. Whites, African-Americans, and other people of color who do not speak Spanish may not find it easy to navigate and may not feel welcome unless they speak Spanish.

    1. Personally I like Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc. If I chose to live in Hialeah I would be willing to use my bad white guy Spanish if it meant getting along with the neighbors.

  2. This brings back many memories I’m 56 and I went to kindergarten at Saint Johns which is the church and school you showed there in East Hialeah. We moved from New Jersey in 1967 which is where my parents went when they left Cuba and I was born there since my mom left the island being pregnant with me. I was only four when I arrived in Hialeah. But as I read your piece I noticed one thing, Hialeah did have a downtown it was in the area of Hialeah Drive by where the City Hall is now. That area was known as Hialeah‘s downtown where the Dairy Queen & KFC still are but of course that area has long changed. The Canastilla Cubana started there and then grew to be an empire. I moved from the area to go away to school and finally came back in 1989 and a lot had changed. I live in West Hialeah now by I-75 and yes the prices of homes have gone up to the low to mid $300K range in this area but I love my city. Anything you need you could find in a 1 mile area. Therefore I will always be a Hialeah girl through and through. Thanks for taking me down memory lane and reminding everyone how Hialeah was built by a diverse group and is still a thriving place of business and to live in, at least I love the west side!!!

  3. I always appreciate these case studies – when it comes to discussion of urban topics, complex, concrete examples are in short supply while theories and opinions abound.

  4. I also enjoyed reading someone else’s perspective on a place where I grew up my folks and sister still live there and if not for forming a family myself and moving on I would have still lived there. I had the opportunity to work for the local government years ago and happily remember my time working there. I just came across your blog and I will visit it more often. Gracias

  5. There is a before-and-after-7-ft.-sea-level-rise map for the Miami area in “The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell (2017), page 99. Hialeah is mostly underwater.

    1. This article does not capture the current state of Hialeah. Affordable housing is laughable. Medium home price (of those houses pictured) are $350k and up. Most are in dire need of updating, illegal additions, no front lawn, etc. I agree that the working class is a crutch for the county, however there is little to no appeal compared to neighboring cities just north of Hialeah. Comparing it to Levittown though….no, id compare it to Hempstead at best.

      1. You and I may have different definitions of working class affordability.

        Florida’s minimum wage is $8.46. Tipped workers have a legal minimum wage of $5.44 per hour. In order to survive on that income (I know because I did it most of my life until fairly recently) a worker must live reasonably close to work to keep transportation costs down. And housing is about having a roof over your head, not about pristine front lawns. Living with relatives, friends, room mates, and/or coworkers is the most likely scenario. Some version of rent or sharing is the norm. Hialeah is the better location and price point for the working class.

        The homes you describe in suburbs farther to the north are middle class accommodations for people at a somewhat higher income level – or perhaps more accurately, people who have access to slightly more credit so they can buy homes and cars they might not truly be able to afford without leverage. They’re also farther from the economic center of the metroplex.

        Apples and oranges.

  6. “to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to genuinely affordable market rate housing in Miami”
    Why are inner-ring suburbs not described this way more often? They may not always be pretty (though Hialeah is) and they get the job done. They also shorten the commute, compared to the alternative.

    1. As I pointed out, there’s a gap between our image of what a comfortable middle class life should look like, and what the working class can truly afford. Rather than acknowledge and accommodate that reality we push relentlessly to get things to conform to our aspirations – with poor results.

      1. In all these housing debates, the unspoken addition is, “given a standard of living I accept.”

        “There’s a housing crisis… in cities I want to live in.”

        “Homes (that have a master bedroom suite) are too expensive.”

        “It’s too expensive… to live in direct proximity to the amenities I desire.”

        High-paying job market, mild winter, affordable housing. Pick 2? (Probably a few other variables that could be added in as well.)

        1. You’re right about some people and some places (I’ve noticed this as well) but I can tell you have only spoken and listened to those obnoxious people trying to recreate a set of circumstances of prior decades and not listened to young people who don’t even dream of owning a home but would be fine renting an apartment and don’t even have down payment for condo or co-op (certainly not looking for a house or “master bedroom”) …

          The criteria for many young people is pretty much anywhere in continental US ( weather really isn’t a consideration… Just google “Minneapolis” and “millennials”) w/ a decent job market and scenes (not just “cities that I want to live” but even smaller cities and towns);

          Please get out more! Talk to people.. The fact is that people aren’t all the same.

          1. Totally agree. Different people, different circumstances. Good advice to always expand the social circle.

            I think my comments came off meaner than I meant. These are (slightly strawmanned) versions of comments I hear all the time in my circle, and I’m only 31, which, I think in the modern US, is a fairly young “head of household.”

            My wife and I live in an inner-ring neighborhood of a mid-size east coast metro. 250k gets you the classic brick colonial on a 1/4-acre lot. 180k gets you a twin or rowhome. The job market is solid (although it’s not Boston/NY/DC or even Philly) and there’s definitely a “scene”- although again, it’s not Philly or NYC.

            Almost nobody my age is moving into neighborhoods like these. There’s plenty of growth, but it’s in housing pods on the edge and the occasional tower downtown. This doesn’t bother me by the way, it’s just interesting that I hear so much about a housing crisis when the two areas that are in demand (in my area) are both more expensive, not less.

            But your comment was a great reminder to me to check myself from getting too grumpy, Thank you for the reminder!

            1. Ya ya; I figured it’s just the crowd you’re dealing with bcuz it’s not the same when you’re not already in major metro w/ a decent job market… Just wondering where are you talking about tho?? 🤔

                1. Oh I thought I already sent something back.. Thanks for the response. Leigh Valley seems nice sometimes (I think Johnny has said a lot of good things about PA over the yrs and you must understand the rest of US isn’t exactly in the same position) but Allentown (pockmarked w/ parking lots ) seems kinda disappointing/depressing but I’m glad to hear about all the new development (despite the bad) and glad to hear from somebody making it there.

                  Anyway, Johnny?? I’m really looking forward to your next post on Miami so please post whenever you can✌️✌️✌️

                  1. Hah I could hijack this blog way too much with lots of thoughts on urbanism in this area. The West End of Allentown (between 19th on the east and Cedar Crest Blvd on the west and between Cedar Beach Park in the south and US-22 on the north) is a gem for the area.

                    It’s got a nice commercial piece over on 19th, with denser lots (rowhomes and some small multi-units) gradually becoming 1/4-acre SFHs as you move west. The college adds some vitality, the Allentown Fairgrounds has a farmers market and there’s a pretty typical strip mall shopping center on the west side (Tilghman and Cedar Crest), but at least it mostly fits in the grid and you can technically walk to it, although I’m probably one of the only people who “chooses” to.

                    Some of it is pre-WW2, but most was built out between 1945-1960, just before we lost the ability to build gridded, connected neighborhoods.

                    The sad thing is you can stand on (or via view satellite) 19th and Tilghman and see the transition between human-scale development for those of “us” (the west end, which used to be a wealthier part of the city) and the inner-city neighborhoods where “we” are supposed to drive through and the shift to auto-accomodating building patterns.

                    1. Hmm… Feel free to go on and on lol! Ya i did find the town sad too. I never been and I barley know anything but I kinda get what you’re saying when I saw it all on Street View awhile ago (Looked up a few PA towns that way after reading about the stuff going on) but I was mostly interested in development going on now (not post-WW2) that seem to be making all that worse (google seemed to have multiple snapshots over recent yrs). It seemed to show these new/overpriced buildings (not just the parking lots but garage parking now) replacing the existing historic structures (all this stuff you won’t see in Reading, PA) but I assumed it’s something that residents probably applaud (progress?) so I didn’t mention it. People seem to be excited talking about “rejuvenation” online so am I just missing something or out of touch?? Or is TX just new standard or something (bcuz I would prefer Easton/Philipsberg and maybe even Reading to what I saw)??

        2. What about Raleigh, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Charlotte? That combination of high-paying job market, mild winters, and affordable housing could explain why all of those metros have such high population growth.

          1. The sunbelt is more smoke and mirrors than you would think…

            You’re on to something but it’s not simple at all (Houston doesn’t even attract people anymore and increases pop by annexation while a lot new buildings have high vacancy rates);

            I feel like there’s almost different regions in the southeastern sunbelt like Gulf Coast (Petroleum, Military and Cheap Flights for Snowbirds/Retirees) vs Piedmont Atlantic (Former Industry, Universities and more Services) but idk… Just try to keep the complexities in mind

  7. Brings to mind Metairie, LA, much of which was created out of cypress swamps post WWII, has no ‘center’ as such, is laced with strip-malled thoroughfares and is, by and large, working-class.

Leave a Reply to Ted L Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.