MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new twist in the heated battle in Westchester County over a popular ice cream shop.
After a showdown between the owner and authorities in Mamaroneck, the shop has been shut down.
But as CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reports, the owner says the fight isn’t over.
The normally packed parking lot was empty Monday at Ralph’s Italian Ices on Boston Post Road. Hand written signs in the window read “closed temporarily” and “see you soon,” atter the village revoked its certificate of occupancy and the Westchester County Health Department issued a violation for operating without a valid food service permit Saturday.
“I hope they hear us loud and clear that we’re not going to go away,” owner Scott Rosenberg said. “The fight is not over.”
Rosenberg kept the wildly popular store open for 24 hours after the village ordered it to close and staged a noisy protest Thursday night that pitted ice cream lovers against neighbors who have been voicing concerns about traffic, noise, and safety for more than a year.
“Words were exchanged, threats were made, and Mr. Rosenberg himself invited me to hit him first,” neighbor Anthony DeCioccio Jr. said.
Cell phone video shows DeCioccio shouting and waving his arms during a confrontation. He says protesters were loud, rude, and destructive, and lays the blame at the feet of the shop’s owner.
“He just doesn’t seem to care,” DeCioccio said, adding that he thinks the neighborhood is “100 percent safer due to the fact that they’re shut down.”
Rosenberg doesn’t seem to see it that way.
“The conflicts were caused by the neighbors standing in the middle of the street yelling at people for driving by in support,” he said. “We had a peaceful protest, there’s no reason for neighbors to get involved in a peaceful protest.”
Mayor Norman Rosenblum says he’s disheartened the debate over an ice cream shop has gotten so ugly.
“Neither side is one hundred percent correct, and those that have for it or against it they certainly have their opinions and they’re entitled to them because this is a democracy, but it’s an emotional issue,” Rosenblum said.
The owner is now starting a new application for a permit and vows to invest at least $100,000 in improvements, but if he isn’t allowed to reopen during that process he said he’ll sue the village.
A spokesperson for the health department says it will not issue a new food service permit for Ralph’s until the owner gets all his necessary approvals from the village.