© Maya Hayuk

The Neighborhood: Wynwood

It wasn’t so long ago that Wynwood was nothing but a rough pocket of the city known for gangs, grungy body shops and a faded garment industry. Today, the area (just south of the Design District) is ablaze with street art, galleries, funky shops, restaurants, microbreweries and start-ups of all kinds. Every day it seems there’s an audacious new mural to check out, or another watering hole worthy of the cool kids who, by day, maraud through the streets, smartphones and cameras in hand, trying to capture the ephemeral nature of the gentrifying district.

Meet the Guide

Joseph Furst is Goldman Properties’ managing director for Wynwood and chair of the Wynwood Business Improvement District, which means his job is to know the neighborhood like the back of his hand. The company he works for, founded by the late Tony Goldman, was not only a major force behind the evolution of SoHo and South Beach, but it has been a prime mover in the rebirth of Wynwood as an arts-centric destination. And it continues to lead the way as more and more investors and creative types jump in to turn the area into one of the most happening spots in the city.

What Makes Wynwood So [???]

The street art is a major component. It’s why the world has taken note. There’s an authenticity to Wynwood, an imperfection that’s attractive. Goldman Properties has been investing in the  neighborhood for almost 10 years and we are very cognizant of what it is that makes it so unique.

We don’t want it to start losing those qualities. The first question we contemplate before we think about putting someone in one of our buildings is not what they can pay per square foot, but what added value they can bring. We have been asked by other cities to come in and do for them what we did for Wynwood, but the truth is, street art is historic to this neighborhood. Wholesalers had been using hand-painted sings and graphics here for years. There has been graffiti for years. Purvis Young was hanging art from the old RC Cola plant facing I-95 a long time ago.

Top spot to host a business Lunch?

Joey’s is the original clubhouse. It was really the first sit-down restaurant in the area when it opened in 2008. It was the only place to go, so you saw the same people on a daily basis, the gallery owners, artists, investors. It’s still that way. And the pizza is great.

The margherita is one of the best in town and I love the dolce e piccante with figs, Gorgonzola, honey and hot peppers. The octopus and the lamb shank are also incredible. 2506 NW Second Avenue; 305-438-0488; joeyswynwood.com.

Original Article