IMPACCT Brooklyn and Equality for Flatbush Advocate to Protect Local Businesses, Reported by Patch

Posted on May 21, 2019

Brooklyn Rallies To Save Ice Cream Shop Facing Eviction

Originally Published in Patch on May 20, 2019
Written by Kathleen Culliton

Tony Fongyit, of Scoops And Plates on Flatbush Avenue and Fenimore Street, was given until May 31 to pack up his vegan ice creams and leave the storefront that has been the home of his business for 34 years, he said. Fongyit received his eviction notice in early May, six months after his lease with building owners Jeremy Properties expired, when a man walked up to his counter and lay the notice in front of him without offering further information, according to Fongyit. The ice cream parlor owner tried to contact his landlord and request a new lease, noting he’d never failed to pay his $1,600-a-month rent on time, but without success, Fongyit said.

City records show Jeremy Properties bought the six-story mixed-use building in 2015. Fongyit said communication became a problem almost immediately, and even told local organizers Equality For Flatbush he feared for his lease in a 2017 video. Even as Fongyit prepares to leave the storefront where he has served ice cream and vegan fare to generations of Brooklyn families, locals and housing rights advocates are rallying to save him. IMPACCT Brooklyn, a community development corporation that supports local businesses, has helped Fongyit organize an online petition that had been signed more than 1,000 times as of Monday and a rally slated for outside the shop this Saturday.

“We’re asking [the landlord] to have compassion,” said IMPCACT Brooklyn economic director Dale Charles. “It won’t cost them anything to renew.” But legally there is little else the group can do, said Charles, because commercial businesses are not protected by the same city laws that secure residential tenants’ rights and the lease has lapsed. Fongyit has also seen the neighborhood change, it’s why he’s brokenhearted to leave. As a vegan, he’s loved providing healthy food to children who have grown up and now bring their own children into his shop. “I want to be part of it,” Fongyit said. “I am part of it.”

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