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Park Honors Bee Gee Brother PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
October 2017

Maurice Gibb Memorial Park has got some view, too 

JParkPatrol_1anuary 2018 will mark a sad anniversary: 15 years ago, Miami Beach lost one of its most beloved citizens. Maurice Gibb, who was a member of the seven-time Grammy-winning Bee Gees, passed away suddenly at the age of 53 after suffering cardiac arrest and undergoing emergency surgery for a twisted intestine.

Both he and his brother Barry were longtime residents of South Florida; along with Maurice’s twin brother, Robin (who died in 2012), they recorded hit albums at North Miami’s Criteria Studios in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their 1975 album, Main Course, offered “Jive Talkin” and the song “Nights on Broadway,” on which Maurice shared songwriter credits with his brothers. Their 1979 album, Spirits Having Flown, which included the No. 1 singles “Too Much Heaven” and “Tragedy,” is considered one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, with some 30 million copies worldwide.

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Four years after his death, the City of Miami Beach honored the musician by renaming Island View Park, located on Purdy Avenue and 18th Street, to Maurice Gibb Memorial Park. Gibb often relaxed at the park, which is right around the corner from the group’s Middle Ear Studios, where they also recorded and mixed songs. During those “Jive Talkin’” years, Gibb struggled with alcohol addiction, and his subsequent recovery and assistance to others was an important part of his community outreach.

Before the rededication ceremonies, held in March 2007, the city made $75,000 worth of improvements to the park, including landscaping and a permanent mosaic sculpture placed adjacent to Biscayne Bay. The tri-colored glass-tile artwork was installed by Mariel Hautoux and created by landscape artist Dale Bryant. A center plaque quotes lyrics from the well-known standard written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal: “I’ll be seeing you/ in all the old familiar places/ that this heart of mine embraces/ all day through.” A nod to AA, the phrase “One Day at a Time,” was included and signed by Gibb’s widow and two children, “In loving memory, Yvonne, Adam, and Sam.”

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A stone park sign was erected near the entrance, along with a plaque near the playground.

The ceremony was attended by Maurice’s family: surviving Bee Gees brothers Barry and Robin Gibb; his mother, Barbara (who passed away in August 2016 in Miami); and a slew of politicians and city officials.

Barry Gibb spoke to the crowd of 500: “Hearing our voices in his praise, this place now becomes sacred to all of us, somewhere to come to meditate, somewhere to quietly remember our brother Mo.”

Today the park is still a place for peaceful moments away from the city’s hubbub. One can drive up and easily find a spot in the parking lot built to accommodate about 30 vehicles. Pay-by-App meters also accept cash and credit cards, and parking is two dollars an hour. Follow the paved path through the three-acre linear park, and grab a metal bench to rest a while with a great view of Biscayne Bay.

Mega yachts are fun to watch there, as are kayakers and weekend boaters who use the nearby Barry Kutan Public Boat Ramp, which no longer bears a sign with his name. The two-story police Marine Patrol building to the north is not part of the park but offers public bathrooms and a view of the waterway from its second-story staircase.

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Construction is going on to rebuild a concrete sea wall that, according to regular park visitor Jeffery Lieberman, “was crumbling into the water.” Lieberman lives nearby and brings his own beach chair, which he plops down in front of the Gibb mosaic, and ponders the boats nearby. Sunsets at this spot must be spectacular.

At the Dr. Leo Grossman Playground, at the opposite end of the park, there are spring riders, arch climbers, upper-body equipment, a tot swing, and a youth swing. It is open 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and has a huge shade cover over play structures with slides -- one for kids two to five years old and one for youngsters five to twelve years old.

The entire tot lot is fenced in, and has safety flooring surfaces, a water fountain, a picnic table, and three metal benches for grownups. On a recent BT visit, very polite children gleefully shouted, “Good afternoon!” as they waved to parkgoers and skipped their way to the playground.

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All throughout Gibb’s favorite South Beach park are benches, metal trash bins, picnic tables, and nighttime lighting -- but no litter. Lots of greenery can be enjoyed: royal poinciana, silver dollar, sea grape, oak, coconut palms, and gumbo limbo. Poop bag dispensers are full for on-leash dog walkers.

On the southern end of the park is a wooden boardwalk maintained by Miami-Dade County. It offers a good look at nearby Venetian Causeway, which leads to Belle Isle. A sun-faded county sign remains: Island View Park Shoreline Enhancement Project. This mangrove restoration along the walk is still covered for protection.

At the southernmost tip of MGMP lies a small field dotted with young poincianas, a perfect place for a game of catch or Frisbee. This park is available for private events and parties. For Biscayne corridor folks, it’s just five miles east of Biscayne Boulevard and I-195.

One sad note: the Gibb memorial mosaic is in disrepair. It has already been replaced once since its installation. Fans and souvenir hunters had chopped away at the glass tiles then, and it appears to be the case again. Several red and yellow loosened tiles are scattered about, longing to be glued in, and a few dozen more are AWOL.

 

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Park_map

Maurice Gibb Memorial Park


1700 Purdy Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-673-7730


Park Rating

palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-0


Hours: 
Sunrise to sunset
Picnic Tables: Yes
Barbecues: No
Picnic pavilions: No
Tennis Courts: No
Athletic Fields: No
Night lighting: Yes
Swimming Pool: No
Playground: Yes

 

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