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Chocolate Factory Defends Against Gentrification Claims

New York Neighborhood

Could chocolate actually be a sign of gentrification? It is often described as “rich” after all. That’s what some Sunset Park residents are worried about ever since Li-Lac Chocolates opened in Industry City last October, and became an instant hit, reports the New York Times. Now some are concerned the blue-collar neighborhood could be headed toward a Williamsburg-esque yuppie-dom. (No one has the heart to tell them hipsters are already so over Sunset Park.) One such naysayer is executive director of Latino community organization Uprose, Elizabeth Yeampierre, who called Li-Lac’s grand opening “a celebration of gentrification” on her Facebook page, as she urged locals to boycott. Well, here’s the kicker: Turns out Li-Lac is owned by local immigrants. Its founder is an immigrant from Greece and one of the co-owners is a former taxi driver from Lebanon. In fact, gentrification pushed “Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house” out of Manhattan. Additional Li-Lac advocates were presumably harder to understand because their mouths were full of chocolate.