Much-loved Rockville Centre ice cream shop will close in December


Five Pennies Creamery, in Rockville Centre, will close in December, after more than a decade at its Park Avenue location.

“It’s bittersweet,” Five Pennies owner Dan Levine said. “I will miss this place and the people of Rockville Centre.”

Since it opened in 2010, the mom-and-pop, boutique-style ice cream shop has become known as a community fixture. It is known for its homemade ice cream, and people have traveled far and wide to try a scoop.

On sultry summer days and nights, there was often a line of customers that stretched out the door and down the block.

Levine, 69, said that when he started the business, it was his goal to capture the nostalgia and appeal of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, and that, his customers said, is what he did.

Named after the 1959 film starring Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong, Five Pennies became more than just a vintage-themed storefront in the community. It was a destination. And it was also a place where you could grab a handmade treat on your way home from the movies or the train station.

Despite managing to stay afloat for the past two and a half years during the coronavirus pandemic, Levine acknowledged Covid’s negative impact as well as the challenge of increasing expenses, which made it difficult to stay in business.

“It's heartbreaking for me, too,” he said. “I put my heart and soul into this, and there are so many wonderful customers who I’m going to miss.”

Levine also said that he recently moved from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley, and was commuting more than an hour and a half to get to Long Island.

He announced his plans to close next month with a letter recently posted in the window of the store. “I share this message with a heavy heart and bittersweet nostalgia,” it reads.

Levine wrote that serving the community has been one of the proudest accomplishments of his life. “I’ve seen generations of kids and families grow; I have grown with them,” the letter reads. “While these past years have proven tumultuous for our country, ice cream has stood as the great unifier. Day in and day out, I have served smiling faces who laugh in the face of darkness. Thank you for helping shape the community around the shop and supporting us for so many years. I’m humbled by your collective kindness, honored to serve so many, and proud of any joy Five Pennies may have brought to your life. I know it has changed me for the better, forever.”

Shannon McComb, the owner of the Lucky Finds Boutique on Park Avenue, said that she opened her consignment shop almost a year after Five Pennies.

“It’s a staple in the community, and we are very sad to see it go,” McComb said. “Any time people came in from out of town, I would send them to Five Pennies for their absolutely delicious ice cream.”

Lisa Umansky, president of the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce and the owner of Polka Dot Pound Cake, on Long Beach Road, said that the pandemic’s impact on small businesses has been especially treacherous for restaurants and other food establishments.

“The past three years have certainly been tough,” Umansky said. “The ever-increasing cost of ingredients and utilities makes it challenging to continue to run a business on a day-to-day basis.”

Umansky added that it was sad to see a wonderful establishment like Five Pennies leave the village after so many years and that Levine and his staff always did their best to make customers feel welcome.

“I am sorry to see them go,” Umansky said. “They will definitely be missed by the business community. We wish Dan and his staff all the best in their future endeavors.”