‘Early bird’ dinners and bathing caps: Miami Beach’s previous generation of Jewish snowbirds remembered

Naomi Harris now and then
Award-winning Toronto photographer Naomi Harris (left) was the caregiver for her late parents during the pandemic. It gave her a new appreciation for an early-career photo project—photographing Miami Beach’s feisty snowbird pensioners during the late 1990s.(Photos courtesy of Naomi Harris)

Before it became the glamorous playground of rich celebrities—and before Lincoln Road Mall’s humble shops were replaced by designer boutiques—Miami Beach was a popular and affordable winter destination for low-income Jewish snowbirds, who flocked from Canada and the northern U.S. to escape the winter months to fill up the low-budget Art Deco hotels. It’s a world that’s long since disappeared.

Toronto-based photographer Naomi Harris is now paying tribute to that time—and to a group of feisty seniors whose lives she documented while she lived among them in a hotel from 1999 to 2002. Haddon Hall is her new book, named for the South Beach lodgings where she snapped portraits of the Holocaust survivors, pensioners and widows.

She joins The CJN Daily to explain why too many people overlook senior citizens because of ageism, and why her photos capture their joy.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. Subscribe to this podcast: please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.