15 Sep 2014
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Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban

Store owners say plan to cut large quantities of sugary drinks will hurt sales.

Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban Fort Greene Businesses Rail Against Proposed Soda Ban

Three Fort Greene businesses came out swinging Tuesday against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's at certain stores, movie theaters and restaurants.

"It's not the government's place to tell us what we can drink," said Jose Hernandez, manager of the on Lafayette Avenue. "This is America. And the American palate is a lot of sugar."

Hernandez said his location could lose as much as 85 percent of its summertime business with the potential end of sales of large iced coffee drinks in 24-ounce cups—which, if loaded with sugar, could be subject to the ban.

"We just don't know how it's going to work out, but it's going to be huge," Hernandez said.

and joined the Connecticut Muffin manager in blasting the proposal.

"Families with four or five kids, they come and eat and drink—it's important for the family to be together," said S&S owner Salvatore Fundaro. "They can't just buy one soda each."

The businesses' take on Bloomberg's proposal came during a soda industry-funded New Yorkers For Beverage Choices walking tour targeting the bodega and pizzeria-heavy blocks of Fort Greene as part of a citywide campaign to build opposition to the measure.

A Brooklyn native, NYFBC spokesman Eliot Hoff tried to put the campaign against the soda ban in terms that any longtime borough resident could understand.

"[Soda] is just the first step. The next one might be a piece of cheesecake at Junior's," Hoff said.

Proponents of the measure say it is a key part of the effort to cut high rates of obesity, particularly among minorities groups and children.

But representatives of the three Fort Greene businesses on Tuesday's tour were having none of it.

Fundaro said business at his 20-year-old pizza stop was down while rent was up—making the proposed ban on big containers of soda incredibly hard to swallow.

"There is something very wrong here," he said. "This is something the Mafia would do."

A hearing on the proposed ban will be held July 24 at the offices of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Long Island City.

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