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‘Blue’ note! Ice cream parlor to close in rent dispute

for The Brooklyn Paper
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One of the engines of gentrification in Boerum Hill has decided to close its doors — because of, well, gentrification.

Blue Marble Ice Cream, which opened three years ago along then-hardscrabble Atlantic Avenue and helped usher in a new era of chi-chi coffee, shops, fashions, and cocktails, will close in October.

Dairy darlings Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen cited a rent hike by landlord Manuel Fernandez as the reason for the closure of the flagship location, which led to other freestanding parlors in Cobble Hill and Prospect Heights.

“It didn’t seem fair,” Dundas said. “He wants almost double the market value. We couldn’t sustain ourselves. Landlords are charging too much. In a two block radius, there is empty storefront after empty storefront. That’s not gentrification, that’s charging more than what businesses can afford.”

That said, the arch of Dundas and Miesen’s business is as common a story in New York as a late subway. Entrepreneurs have long opened in “sketchy” neighborhoods only to be priced out once the neighborhoods they built become attractive to more-established competition.

“When rent goes up, businesses like Trader Joe’s come in,” said Sarah Michelson, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation. “[Big stores like that] can drive away small businesses.”

It’s especially difficult in difficult times, said Sue Wolfe, president of the Boerum Hill Association.

“Landlords don’t understand that this is going to be a tough time for retail stores,” Wolfe said. “In my opinion, if the landlord was smart, he would consider keeping a good tenant at a lower price rather than having an empty store for a year or more.”

Of course, it’s hardest on the fans.

“This is my granddaugh­ter’s favorite place to have ice cream. And mine, too,” said Sarah Lamstein, a regular. “This makes me so sad.”

Notes left on the landlord Fernandez’s door were not answered.

For now, there are two freestanding Blue Marble locations and carts that are deployed to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, and the Brooklyn Flea.

Blue Marble’s demise was first blogged by Brownstoner, which got an e-mail from Dundas.

Blue Marble Ice Cream [186 Underhill Ave. between Sterling and St. Johns places in Prospect Heights, (718) 399-6926]; [196 Court St. between Congress and Warren streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 858-0408]; [420 Atlantic Ave. between Nevins and Bond streets in Boerum Hill, (718) 858-1100] (for now!).

Updated 12:56 pm, August 25, 2010: Includes more information.
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Well aint this funny! The very people who with their "chi-chi coffee, shops, fashions, and cocktails" who in esscense remived minorities from the neighborhood, are now the minority! Funny stuff!
Aug. 29, 2010, 5:10 pm
Andrea from Ah...Candler Park says:
Yeah, Brooklyn sucks.
Sept. 5, 2015, 9:39 pm
Clara from Vegan Highlands says:
Okay, it's like, those landlords have been waiting their entire lives for these piece of trash properties, in these piece of trash neighborhoods to appreciate in value. They been renting them out for less than the mortgage on them for fifty years. They are greedy opportunists. That is America. Why, you gonna write about it now like it is news? The reason that we are in Brooklyn is to bring the property values up. If you want to open up an ice cream parlor in a ——ty neighborhood in anticipation of it becoming hip, and cool, and a cool up-and-coming location with foot traffic and a hip, electric, atmosphere with like minded business' catering to hip, and cool like minded customers than buy the building. And if you can't afford it, than it is not as ——ty as you thought it was. The gentrification process has already started. Find somewhere else to open your ice cream parlor.
Sept. 5, 2015, 10:07 pm

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