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.
As thousands streamed northward along Interstate 95 Thursday to escape Irma, the city was confronting a reckoning after an era of rapid development that transformed it into an international center of business and culture. The massive flow of money that first began to pour in during the 1990s, the Madonna era of South Beach, came with a dearth of proper