Park Slope residents worry a flashy new “cash for gold” shop will bring a Las Vegas look and feel to Ninth Street — but its owner promises the business is good as, well, gold.
The shop — which is hard to miss with its bright “We Buy Gold” sign — opened last week near Sixth Avenue, irking some neighbors, who say the gaudy biz is a soon-to-be hub for slingers of stolen jewelry.
“It reeks of desperate people,” said Josh Levy, a member of the Park Slope Civic Council who was not speaking on the group’s behalf. “I’m outraged.”
Critics have been complaining to Community Board 6 about the shop’s eye-catching signage, which features golden arches, a money symbol, and a scrolling ticker urging would-be customers to part with their gold.
“What are they thinking?” said longtime resident John Casson. “If they don’t care about the way the neighborhood looks, why should we care about them?”
But owner Danny Chanukah contends his shop “caters to everyone” and that the store has a policy against buying stolen items.
“A lot of high-end customers are interested in gold,” said Chanukah, who buys gold for $1,700 per ounce from behind a sheet of bulletproof glass.
“Plenty of people have stuff lying around they want to sell — we’re not trying to attract bad people.”
Chanukah said he hung the huge sign to convey “what we do.”
But Chanukah has not yet acquired a city permit for the sign, according to the Department of Buildings. The violation could yield hundreds of dollars in city fines.
Oversized blinking signs are rare in Park Slope — even on busy avenues and truck routes, such as Ninth Street.
Chanukah isn’t the only bling buyer in the neighborhood, either. A similar store, aptly titled Cash for Gold, popped up on Flatbush and St. Marks avenues last spring.
The new joint is fine by Irene LoRe, who runs the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.
“The business will be successful if it’s the right market,” LoRe said. “If not, it will be gone soon anyway.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that Chanukah buys gold at $17 per ounce. He purchases it at $1,700 per ounce.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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