How You Can Save $5000 by Visiting Miami Beach

How You Can Save $5000 by Visiting Miami Beach

It’s the way I see it. Maybe I’m wrong, but usually not. When this writer first visited Miami in the early 1970s, Surfside, FL was a lovely beach-side sparse neighborhood at the north end of Miami Beach. It was a casual ocean front community of sun bathers, swimmers and surfers. That is not so much the case today, though the beach is still rather sparsely populated owing to the predominance of its ubiquitous hotel and condominium culture. It’s their beach. And a lovely beach it is with boardwalk accessibility for both joggers and bike riders. South of Surfside, Miami Beach is Manhattan South as far as I’m concerned. It is incredibly crowded, traffic filled with high rises up and down Collins Avenue. A mess. Guess it’s your decision of what kind of vacation you are looking for.

Today, Surfside is a town of about 6,000. It has a predominantly Jewish and Hispanic population. Its main thoroughfare is named Isaac Singer Boulevard, thus named after famed Yiddish author Isaac Bashevis Singer. It is also the home of Jared Kushner, son-in-law of former President Trump. Surfside was the filming location of the popular 60s TV-Show ‘Surfside 6’, a surfer mecca on the east coast.

But let’s get back to how you can save $5000 by visiting Miami Beach. You can save $5000 by visiting Surfside, the northern section of Miami Beach, which spans from 188th to approximately 198th Street. Even though considered upscale with its fashionable Bal Harbour Shops and canine restaurants, this also is probably the most highly concentrated Jewish community in Florida. And this is where I am leading. We were in Israel, as I saw it. And it would probably cost us $5000 to take a trip to Israel for a short journey. We no longer had to travel there and spend that money. This timeshare in ‘Little Israel’ was only $40 and that was for valet parking. We ate in.

While strolling around 92nd to 95th streets on Collins Avenue, we were struck by the preponderance of Jews. These were not American Jews. I am not unfamiliar with the Jewish culture. I was brought up in New York City in a mostly Jewish community. I went to Hebrew school with my Jewish friends in preparation for my bar mitzvah until Rabbi Lehrman at Temple Emanuel kicked me out. He didn’t fall for the Baglinowitz name back in 1956. Anyway, these were Israelis and they frequented all the hot spots, mostly restaurants, and all Kosher. Well, except for Flannigans. There was Rustiko, The Harbour Bistro, Cine Citta and one Publix. These residents and tourists were Israelis according to my eyes and brief conversations, not Americans. I just had to ask. Some 20 years previous I performed at a popular North Miami Beach hotel and night spot to an entire crowd of Israeli tourists, flown in for the week on a package tour. So, I was aware. “Great!” I said to my wife. “We don’t have to visit Israel and spend all that money for the trip. This is ‘Little Israel’. “My primary doctor, an Israeli in Wellington, FL once explained to me what Israel was like. “America,” she said.

Next door to the resort where we were staying was an empty lot. It appeared the workers there were either cleaning it up or getting it ready for a new construction project. What’d’ya think? Yes, it was the remnant of Champlain Towers, the 12 story condominium at 8777 Collins Avenue. This condo collapsed at 3 AM on June 24, 2021 killing [murdering?] 98 people. The cause of the collapse has not been determined yet or at least no one has explained it all. Only God knows what happened and He ain’t talkin’. Next door is a duplicate condo that still stands with people living there. How’s that? Across the street is a memorial of that tragedy. Each of the unfortunate victims were listed, name and age. One child was 1 years old. One family of 6 – 2 of parental age, and 2 grandchildren apparently visiting their 2 grandparents. All this again at 3 AM with no explanations given. Given that this is mostly a condominium and community of Jewish and Israeli residents, I thought nothing less than a situation of terrorism. And it was heartbreaking to read that list of victims etched upon this memorial. It brought us to tears.

I don’t know about you and your background, but again I was raised Italian in a Jewish neighborhood. We all interacted, played, ate, laughed and cried together in that neighborhood. Parents and children both. We loved each other. I may not be an expert on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict with Hamas and all that, but I support the Jewish people and I support their religion. I will always be loyal to Jews and the cause of Jews worldwide. As an Octogenarian, I have come to learn from my Catholic religion that Jews are our elder brothers and fathers in faith. We have to support them; they are part of our tradition too.

Suggested Readings:
Baglino, Michael J. Europe Meets Florida: Encounters with Psychology, Culture and Religion. New York: LT Publishers, 2023.

Baglino, Michael J. The Dr. B. Reader on the Ologies: Psychology, Sociology Anthropology. San Francisco: Penguin Writer. 2023.

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Written by
Michael Baglino