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Ever since Miami Beach founder Carl Fisher cleared a snarled sea of mangroves to create Lincoln Road around 1912, the sandy strip has served as Main Street, melting pot and the place to be seen on a Sunday stroll. With the arrival of Latin Americans, those outings extended into the wee hours, as multigenerational families pack its signature black-and-white Mod walkways for late, al fresco dinners.
Its purpose and joie de vivre remain, while its stores and styles have changed. The former Fifth Avenue of the South’s designer destinations, like Bonwit Teller and Saks, have given way to the more democratic Victoria’s Secret, Guess and Diesel. Dress is more diverse and less formal with the exception of hats — from floppy to fedora — making a comeback. On a steamy evening not so long before the chill set in, it was the typical brew of international locals befitting a United Nations convention, models on go-sees and office workers and shop girls heading to happy hour. It’s amazing to think its worldwide attraction — a tropical pedestrian mall redesign by Morris Lapidus — was vehemently rejected by merchants in 1960 or that it was allowed to decline into dangerous ground until the late Nineties.