After Irma, North Miami Turned To Hardy Refuge Of Bagel Bar East

The day after Hurricane Irma impacted South Florida was a blur for many in the region.

Houses were plunged into darkness, almost all street lights were off and many streets were left impassable.

But after a stressful week, many people needed to get out of their homes and feel a sense of normalcy.

That’s what Bagel Bar East (1990 NE 123rd St) specializes in.

On a typical day, Bagel Bar East is a local eatery that people go to find interesting characters in North Miami and traditional New York style fair.

But over the years, it has also become known for being open almost immediately after hurricanes.

People line up outside of Bagel Bar East in North Miami the day after Hurricane Irma struck the region and caused widespread damage.

The joint is owned by Steven Hochman, a Brooklyn native who has lived in South Florida for over 20 years.

He believes that the community needs his place to be open in times of stress.

And he takes that commitment to his customers seriously.

As Irma started to impact South Florida on September 9, Bagel Bar East remained open until conditions became too dangerous and it reopened at 6:30 AM on September 11, even before the curfew in Miami-Dade County was lifted at 7:00 AM.

” I do it for the community,” Hochman told RISE NEWS as he served food the day after Irma passed. “Everybody needs ice, water and food. People have been saying thank you all day.”

Few locals were surprised by this.

“They know Bagel Bar is going to be open,” Hochman said.

They have a generator that runs the lights and gas powers the cooking equipment.

Dozens of locals from all around Northern Miami-Dade County waited hours to be served.

Bacon, eggs and cheese sandwiches were the big sellers that day.

This isn’t the first time Bagel Bar East has served the community.

They were open soon after Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005 as well.

“As long as it’s safe, they are going to be open,” Tracey Heldenmuth a North Miami resident and Bagel Bar East regular said while cheerfully waiting in line. “Thank you Steve for pulling through.”

Thomas Alexander, a baker at Bagel Bar East and North Miami resident was proud of his work that day. He’s worked at the restaurant for over 20 years and understands what it means for the community.

“Without us, they won’t be eating,” Alexander said. “It makes me feel happy. I love to see people eat and be happy.”

While Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage across South Florida, it also exposed a level of human goodness.

It also taught some folks in Miami how important something as simple as a bagel can be in the face of crisis.

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Hurricane Irma May End Up Costing This Miami Dentist $100,000

For most in South Florida, Hurricane Irma will be remembered as a dodged bullet.

A storm that devastated other parts of the world and state managed to miss us on the mainland.

But for select pockets of people, Irma is the worst hurricane they’ve ever experienced.

One of those unlucky few is Mark Weiss.

Weiss is a Miami native who is no stranger to hurricanes.

A dentist, he lives on the inter-coastal waterway in the Keystone Point neighborhood of North Miami.

During Irma, he and his family evacuated about 20 minutes north to Davie, FL where they rode out the storm at his sister’s house.

When he finally was able to get home a few days after Irma hit Florida, Weiss was shocked by what he found.

The scope of the damage to Mark Weiss’ home. He estimates it could cost him around $100,000. Photo: RISE NEWS

Weiss’ boat was left intact during Irma, but the wooden dock was not as lucky. Photo: RISE NEWS.

The line of debris and seagrass shows how high the water came on his property during Hurricane Irma. Photo: RISE NEWS

A concrete slab was split in two during the storm. Photo: RISE NEWS

The seawall that protects his home from eroding away into the water was completely destroyed. His dock was destroyed and a large piece of concrete-painted like a basketball court, had buckled up into the air.

“It looks like someone dropped a bomb on my backyard,” a still stunned Weiss told RISE NEWS, a little over an hour after returning home. “I expected to lose the dock, but I did not expect this.”

His boat was still secured the way he had left and it had no damage.

But the destroyed seawall was what had his attention.

“This is the pice you pay for living here”, Weiss said. “We plan and God laughs and see’s how resilient we are.

Weiss said that the seawall is not covered by his insurance because it is technically not on his property.

Read More: Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma

He estimates that to rebuild the seawall, it will cost him around $100,000.

And if he doesn’t rebuild the seawall then the house would be in danger of eroding into the water.

In terms of personal cost, Irma will be the worst hurricane his family has ever faced.

A few blocks away from Weiss in the same area of Keystone Point, Edwin Birotte surveyed the damage to his property.

He and his wife Maria stayed at their home during Irma.

They regret staying.

“If I had a second opportunity, I would leave,” Birotte said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a few tornadoes came through here just because of the amount of damage.”

One of the more common damaged pieces of property in South Florida were wooden fences.

But Birotte’s fence damage was to an extreme level.

At over 100 feet long and six feet high, his fence was totally leveled in the storm.

Birotte was born in New Jersey and spent many years in Queens so Irma was a very strange experience.

“It’s fear for your life for about 20 hours in a row,” Birotte said. “Every 15 minutes or so, we ran to the bathroom to hide during the tornado warnings.”

He expects his insurance to cover the cost of the fence.

Hurricane Irma had special scorn for Edwin Birotte’s 100 foot fence. Photo: RISE NEWS

Edwin Birotte looks over Hurricane Irma damage in his front yard. Photo: RISE NEWS

What’s left of Edwin Birotte’s 100 foot fence. Photo: RISE NEWS


Watch More: Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma 

EXCLUSIVE: Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma

One day after Hurricane Irma hit South Florida, Sen. Daphne Campbell tried to use her connections to get power turned on for her family. Meanwhile, millions sat in the dark.

Miami’s Iconic Coppertone Girl Sign Lost The Top Of Her Head In Irma

Irma was such a jerk.

The MiMo Biscayne Association is turning to the community to help find the top of the head of the world famous Coppertone Girl sign.

She lost her head during Hurricane Irma.




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