Hurricane Matthew is churning toward Florida. The Weather Channel calls it "a potentially catastrophic Category 4 or 5 strike," and Gov. Rick Scott is saying straight out that the storm will "kill people."
All along Miami's Biscayne corridor, people were furiously preparing for the storm — gassing up their cars and shopping for last-minute ice and wine.
A cherry picker was sidled up to Ms. Cheezious, where Jim Winters and his team from Bulldog Neon carefully took down the iconic signage for the sandwich restaurant. As his team disassembled neon tube by neon tube from the pinup girl that lights the way to the shop's cheesy goodness, Winters explained the decision to remove the sign was based on the fact that it stuck out too far from the building.
Winters spent the morning taking down the neon from the Sputnik-like signage at Wynwood's Miami Ad School before working on Ms. Cheezious' neon gal, but he decided to leave some of his other creations intact: the Phuc Yea mascot and Ball & Chain's signage. He explains that the Ball & Chain sign, on chains, is designed to be much more than attractive and that the slight swing will work to allow the heavy glass structure to move with the wind, much like a suspension bridge.
Down the street, the Chevron station on Biscayne Boulevard at NE 61st Street was doing a brisk business. Not only was it one of the few stations that still had gas (as of noon, it had regular-grade only), it also houses Europa Café.
Customers stopped in for gas and left with bottles of red wine and six-packs of beer. The coffee shop also attracted walk-ins in need of a java fix. The Starbucks just north on Biscayne was closed, so Europe filled in, serving sandwiches and pumpkin lattes.
Starbucks wasn't the only fast-food chain to close. McDonald's also shuttered, but the drive-thrus of Burger King, Wendy's, and Taco Bell were open. The Subway on 79th Street and Biscayne was also open — at least until 3 p.m. — and was doing a brisk business.
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Finally, Big Daddy's Liquors, where customers were snatching up everything from wine to rolling papers, was open and planned to remain open as long as the weather allowed. The most precious commodity of all? Ice. One woman nabbed seven ten-pound bags of cubes. "I have the wine and the beer already. I just need to keep it cold."