Urban Exploration in Miami …

Posted in Urban Exploration with tags , , , , on December 22, 2009 by Mario A.

After a two-year absence I have decided to start exploring the unknown areas of South Florida again. If you know of any great places you’d like me to visit, explore, and photograph like I did for the Haunted Mafia Mansion or Abandoned Nursing Home (check the archives), hit me up through e-mail or on Facebook.

As of now, the two places on my list of must-see locations is the historic Pinewood Cemetery in Coral Gables, which has been around since the 1800s and the long abandoned, covered in graffiti Miami Marine Stadium.

If you’d like to tag along or have some advice, you can find me on Facebook HERE. As for the photo below, it comes courtesy of Google Images when searching for the forgotten stadium, which was wrecked during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.


Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial

Posted in Tourist Traps, Urban Exploration with tags , , on May 10, 2009 by Mario A.

I discovered the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial completely by accident. While on a visit to a botanical garden, I found a giant hand sculpture in view just behind a large wall at the garden.

I spent the next hour in complete shock at the gruesome images of mothers losing their babies, dead bodies all around, and a sick, defining silence I just could not escape.

The memorial opened in 1990 after six years of construction and is free to enter. It is a must-visit if you are in Miami Beach but be warned that I witnessed many men and women breaking down in tears after just a few minutes spent in the memorial.

Click here for Google Maps directions.

Miami Graffiti

Posted in Urban Exploration with tags , , , , on July 5, 2008 by Mario A.

These pictures were taken in early 2007. I have driven by a few of them recently and some, if not all have been destroyed by weather and/or idiots who think they have talent.

If you know of any good places to find works like this in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach, drop me a comment and I will take my camera to document it.

Miami Graffiti

The Mysterious Coral Castle

Posted in Tourist Traps with tags , , , , on October 14, 2007 by Mario A.

Edward Leedskalnin was a romantic man. That, if nothing else is perfectly clear. After getting stood up by his love and bride to-be, he fled his homeland of Latvia and took an airplane to the United States, with nothing more than the clothes on his back, and a broken heart that would be the inspiration of an amazing work of art.

It took Ed almost 30 years but little by little, without the help of sophisticated tools or extra manpower, Ed built a castle for his love, made of nothing but giant coral stones. What Ed did is amazing on its own but how he did it is a secret he took to his grave.

There are urban legends about Ed being able to lift the stones with some sort of mysterious magnetic power only he knew how to used; a bunch of local kids from the 50’s claim they witnessed Ed singing to the stones as they levitated through the air. Thankfully, no one really knows how Ed did it, but I am grateful that I was able to tour such a historic piece of Americana.

Below are some of the pictures I took from my visit. If you live in Florida or are planning on visiting soon, stop by the amazing Coral Castle. For a measly $10 entrance, you just can’t go wrong.

The Abandoned Nursing Home

Posted in Urban Exploration with tags , , , on August 22, 2007 by Mario A.

Having worked in the funeral industry I can tell you that nursing homes are already creepy to begin with. You are placed in a room where, depending on how old the building is, has seen death hundreds of times.

Most times you are left to die alone, without any friends and family to visit you, until it is time for them to sign a release for a funeral home to come pick you up.

Manor Care are the big boys of nursing homes, at least in Florida. They are known to buy up nursing homes left and right at any chance they get. When the Elysium opened its doors in the late 90’s it was a state of the art facility on a very trendy Boca Raton property.

For some reason, unknown to many—just four years after it’s grand opening, they shut their doors for good. Nurses in the business say Manor Care inspected the property once and NEVER returned. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with the property and that was the end of it.

What really adds to the haunted vibe of the home is that everything remains untouched. It’s as if all the residents went out for a day of shopping at the local swap meet and just vanished into the thin air. It’s been years and everything is the same, from photos on the walls, to clothing and shoes left behind.

One thing is for sure, the vibe of that building, even with my trusted colleague…was absolutely dreaded. I would never in a million years tour that facility alone. In fact, as I write this…I am sitting alone in my house terrified. It was that scary.

Update – May 2009

The Elysium has been demolished.

The Abandoned Nursing Home

The Haunted Mafia Mansion

Posted in Urban Exploration with tags , , , on August 22, 2007 by Mario A.

Back in early 2007 I discovered a true hidden gem in my own backyard. It seems that back in the late 80’s there was a notorious mafia Don that lived and worked out of a huge mansion in Davie, Florida. By the time 1990 rolled around the Feds had enough evidence to capture the Don and he was sent away to prison.

Legend goes that more than a few spent their final moments at the hands of the Don in that mansion. There were even rumors of blood stains in the bathroom. Our first trip was a bit of a letdown but we did manage to get a few great pictures.

It was another five months before we decided to return and boy were we glad. We spoke to a neighbor who told us that the owner wasn’t involved in the mafia, as far as she knew, but was actually an “arms dealer” and very prominent drug dealer. He spent almost 15 long years in prison but was released in 2005. That very same year, his daughter bought up the land and began restoring the heavily damaged property. Sometime in 2006 she vanished and no one knows where she went. The Old Mafia Haunting, by name only…sits alone and for the most part, undisturbed.

Update – May 2009

The Haunted Mafia Mansion has burned to the ground.