An ice cream sundae at Five Pennies Creamery in Rockville...

An ice cream sundae at Five Pennies Creamery in Rockville Centre. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Rockville Centre’s vibrant downtown is losing one of its star attractions: Five Pennies Creamery is closing after 12 years.

Owner Dan Levine said that a number of factors — including the dent COVID made in profits and his recent move upstate — conspired to make the decision unavoidable.

“I’m 69 and I’m tired,” he said. “And driving three hours a day is just too much.”

The shop, located across the street from the AMC Fantasy 5 movie theater, had an old-fashioned vibe that tipped its hat to Brooklyn, where Levine was born. There was the Coney Island custard (a rich, soft serve ice cream made with eggs) which Levine and his team layered with Italian fruit ices to make their signature Cyclone, named for the famous roller coaster. Egg creams were made with Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup and seltzer from old-fashioned siphons. Even the name, Five Pennies, was derived from an old movie starring that son of East New York, Danny Kaye.

“My goal,” Levine said, “was to have a place where old people would come in and say ‘this is what an ice cream store was like when I was young,’ and where young people would appreciate that for themselves. I feel like I accomplished that.”

When he shared his decision close on social media, he was astounded by the response. “I don’t mean to sound morbid, but it’s like attending my own funeral. It’s an incredible feeling of satisfaction to hear all these nice things while I am still alive."

Five Pennies’ last day is tentatively planned for Dec. 12 but Levine will post updates on the shop’s Facebook page.

Five Pennies is at 11 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-608-4344, fivepenniescreameryny.com.

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