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A Miami Transformed by Wealth Braces for the Storm

  • Rapid development created a seaside hub of business and art
  • ‘You’ve secured everything and now you can only pray’
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Hurricane Irma on a Collision Course With Florida

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Beyond the bar and the palm-fringed pool, past the gold-leafed columns and floor-to-ceiling murals, workers at the grand Faena Hotel Miami Beach prepared for Hurricane Irma’s fury.

Their unusual assignment: fortify the four layers of bullet-proof glass encasing a gilded, 24-karat mammoth skeleton sculpture that cost a cool $17 million. Like the fantasy-world Faena, the life-size Damien Hirst work, now sheathed in a protective cocoon of materials including steel pylons, is a monument to the wealth that enveloped Miami as it grew into what someone once dubbed New York’s sixth borough.