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How Miami Neighborhoods Got Their Names

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Compared to many American cities, Miami has a relatively short history. Much of that history involves real-estate development booms and busts. The result is that many of the area’s city and neighborhood names are either shockingly obvious, highly descriptive, or simply pretty and marketable. (Buena Vista, for example, doesn’t have a view any more beautiful than many other neighborhoods, but it sure sounds good.)

Some others, however, have a more interesting backstory. Here are a few:

Though some locals have tried to rebrand the area as Little Santo Domingo, the Miami neighborhood wedged between Little Havana and Liberty City takes its name from the Seminole word for “alligator.” Which is appropriate considering that in 2013 a man in the neighborhood made headlines for trying to trade a live alligator for beer.

Some people oddly assume the city’s name comes from the mall, but that’s not the case.


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