The Endangered Miami Neighborhood Where "Everybody is Your Cousin"
After Mileyka Burgos-Flores moved to Miami in the 1990s, she addressed her longing for her native Dominican Republic by visiting the city’s Allapattah neighborhood. She realized that there, “everybody is your cousin,” she says. “You are welcome whether you are Dominican or not. That’s how I fell in love with Allapattah.”
This year, the National Trust named Allapattah’s main commercial corridor, Little Santo Domingo, to its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Burgos-Flores now leads The Allapattah Collaborative, CDC, a nonprofit devoted to preserving a local culture largely driven by small, Dominican-owned businesses that serve neighborhood residents. The group became a Main Street America community in 2021, in part to fight displacement caused by development pressures. The goal is to help existing businesses thrive in their low-rise storefronts and avoid the fate of the Dominican restaurant where Burgos-Flores dined her first time in Allapattah: It closed earlier this year.
But she remains hopeful. “I think people will really connect to our story,” she says. “This is the American story of entrepreneurship and empowerment, reflected in a small community in Miami.”