Brooklyn residents were quick to rally behind a beloved bagel shop after a trio of masked men went on a violent rampage inside the delicatessen over the weekend, causing more than $13,000 worth of damage during a pandemic already economically-devastating to small businesses.
On Saturday, July 25, the owners of The Brothers’ Bagels, a family-owned bagel shop near the corner of 71st Street and Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge, say two masked vandals trashed the place after being told the eatery was closed for the night.
Co-owner Edgar Morales told CBS2 that he was behind the counter at the time of the attack, watching in horror as the masked perpetrators — eventually joined by a third perp with a mask and jacket up over his face — kicked in glass counters, tossed tables, and hurled the establishment’s meat slicer to the ground.
When their frenzy of destruction was finished, the scofflaws had caused upwards of $13,000 in damage to the bagel shop — which has become a staple in both Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights for close to a decade.
“We did nothing to invite this attack,” wrote Edgar and his brother Hector on an online crowdfunding campaign. “Now, during this global pandemic, we have to fight even harder to keep our small business alive. We are asking for anyone who can, to help us.”
The brothers’ GoFundMe had amassed nearly $3,500 in just one day, and totaled close to $6,000 by Tuesday morning.
But, in a testament to how dearly the nearby community holds the eatery, one longtime patron had seen social media reports about the attack, and rushed to set up a second online fundraiser to pay for the damage.
The kind-hearted neighbor has since suspended the fundraiser, so to not draw funds from the one created by the Morales family — but not before her effort had raked in close to $3,000, which she says is reflective of The Brothers’ Bagels’ impact on the community.
“There wasn’t a lot of thinking behind my decision to start the GoFundMe page,” said the creator, who asked to remain anonymous because this “isn’t about [her] — it’s about The Brothers’ Bagels.
“[They’re] a great business that serves the community and has built a relationship with it as well,” she said. “I just wanted to do something to help immediately, so I started it and people responded. I am thrilled that people responded the way they did because it shows the best of humanity.”
After learning the brothers had created their own GoFundMe, she said, she called hers off — but after bringing in a significant amount of funds for the eatery on her own accord, which she will now transfer to The Brothers’ Bagels.
“When we come together, great things can happen,” she said. “Raising the amount of money we did in 24 hours is a testament to the amazing caring people that make up our communities.”
“We have been proud community members of Bay Ridge for 18 years. Our children attend the neighborhood schools. Our restaurant is a place where local school staff, children and families gather before and after school. We have catered countless events for our neighbors and their families,” the Morales brothers wrote online. “We know that times are tough for everyone, and we greatly appreciate any support you are able to offer us at this time. Thank you in advance for being there for us as we have been there for so many of you.”