BROOKLYN (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – A single mother of five who went into her store on Saturday night to prepare holiday orders found herself slapped with a summons for violating Governor Andrew Cuomo’s red zone restrictions.
Ilana Cagan, owner of the Pottery and Glass Land paint your own studio which offers both in store glass, pottery, canvas and wood projects as well as ready to ship customizable art boxes, had been in her store for just a short time when she heard knocking on her paper-covered windows shortly before 8 PM. Opening her side door, Cagan found herself facing multiple uniformed members of law enforcement.
“There must have been about ten of them,” Cagan told VIN News. “It literally looked like a drug bust – that’s how many people came.”
A member of the sheriff’s department told Cagan that he heard that she was holding a class in her store, located on Coney Island Avenue at the corner of Avenue N.
“I told them to look around,” said Cagan. “There was no one there but me.”
Surveillance video of the interaction shows Cagan telling an officer that the weeks-long lockdown has left her in dire financial straits.
“I have five children,” said Cagan. “I am a single mother and I have zero income coming in right now and everybody else is open and I’m not allowed to be open.”
Last night: Thousands of @JoeBiden supporters including @BilldeBlasio & @chuckschumer are dancing on the streets squeezed together like sardines, 5 miles down the road NYS agents are handing out COVID fines to struggling Jewish shop owners in BrooklynNovember 8, 2020
Cagan acknowledged that she had been hoping to open her studio on Sunday with strict social distancing guidelines in place, but noted that she was the only person on premises and that her store was not open for business at the time her summons was issued. Ironically, law enforcement looked away as just a few miles to the north, thousands crowded Times Square to celebrate the Biden presidential victory, in clear violation of current of mass gathering limitations.
“They were all making parties last night and I had the head lieutenant of whatever precinct waiting for me,” observed Cagan. “It was as if I had pounds and pounds of drugs in my store with the amount of people that showed up. It wasn’t just regular building department inspectors – it was sheriffs with a list of people to target.”
Cagan posted video of her encounter on her Instagram Stories, with a plea for her followers to take advantage of her ready to ship art boxes for the upcoming holidays and it picked up steam on social media after being picked up by City Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Eric Trump who tweeted “So wrong…” She woke up this morning to find herself inundated with messages of support and orders coming from as far away as Oklahoma, Boston, England, Canada and Israel, including a $350 order for art projects to be donated to a charitable organization and another from a Roman Catholic man in the Tucson area who wanted to place a $100 order to benefit struggling Jewish families.
Cagan is hopeful that her story will benefit other small businesses in the lockdown area, most of which are struggling to survive.
“Please support the small business that are out there and suffering,” said Cagan. “We are suffering. We have families to feed, we have mortgages to pay, we have rent to pay.”
“I feel bad for anybody in Flatbush right now,” added Cagan.