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Van Leeuwen Continues to Violate NYC’s Cashless Ban Despite Already Getting Fined

The ice cream purveyor was fined more than $12,000 for violating the law earlier this fall

A hand holding an ice cream cone with two scoops of Van Leeuwen ice cream
Van Leeuwen ice cream.
Sidney Bensimon/Van Leeuwen

Last month, Eater New York reported that New York City slapped Van Leeuwen with over $12,000 in fines for violating a recently enacted law banning cashless businesses from operating in the city. At the time, the fancy ice cream brand faced 17 violations in 2021 for not accepting cash at its 17 outposts spread throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Apparently, the city’s penalization wasn’t enough, and the company continues to not accept cash.

A tipster reached out to Eater to share that they had allegedly called the Bergen Street shop in Boerum Hill to find out more details about a two-for-one pint deal being offered across the ice cream purveyor’s shops last week, and found that the operation was still not taking cash. Eater followed up and called all 17 Van Leeuwen shops across the city. Employees who picked up the phone at each spot confirmed that in addition to their particular location, none of the outposts were currently equipped to accept cash. Van Leeuwen did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment on the issue.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, which handles cashless ban complaints, the department plans to reinspect Van Leeuwen shops and issue additional violations if necessary. They will also “consider additional enforcement options” if needed, the representative tells Eater in an email. Additionally, Van Leeuwen hasn’t yet paid the initial $12,750 in fines for violating the ban.

“The Department takes seriously flagrant violations of our City’s laws,” Peter A. Hatch, the commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, said in a statement. “We will enforce the law.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection shared a list with Eater of other food businesses with complaints filed against them for allegedly violating the city’s cashless ban law. In addition to Van Leeuwen, the list also includes businesses such as Bien Cuit’s Grand Central location (fined $1,350), Junzi Kitchen’s Morningside Heights side location (fined $1,000), Roberta’s Pizza Domino Park (fined $1,000), the Upper West Side Baked by Melissa on Broadway (fined $1,000) and two Manhattan locations of Dr. Smood (each fined $1,000).

Since those initial violations, an employee at the Domino Park Roberta’s told Eater via phone that they had since started accepting cash. Meanwhile, an employee who picked up a call last week at Junzi Kitchen in Morningside Heights said that not only did that location still not accept cash, but neither of Junzi Kitchen’s two other NYC outposts do, either. A press representative for Junzi Kitchen declined to comment for this story.

Employees at both Manhattan locations of Dr. Smood that were listed in violation of the ban confirmed that they also still are not equipped to accept cash. Bien Cuit Grand Central and Baked by Melissa on Broadway did not pick up after multiple calls by the time of publication.

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