When Alex Jackson, the new Director of Programming at M Social Hotel Times Square, heard about the financial challenges that Kamila Myzel of the nearby Myzel’s Chocolate shop was facing due to the pandemic, he knew he had to help.
He had a sweet idea.
“I actually heard about her struggles via New York Nico on Instagram,” he said. And having recently met Kelly “The Candyman” of The Sweet Shop NYC at a recent social event, he immediately thought of him. “He told me about his shop and their signature ice cream sundaes in the Chinese to-go containers and it stuck with me.” Kelly was equally eager to help the popular chocolate shop stay afloat, and a clever name and creative collaboration was born.
The Ice CreaM SOCIAL at the M Social Hotel Times Square at 52nd Street was to have been held on “Sundae,” December 19, but was canceled because of rising COVID cases. It will be postponed until the new year.
The plan was to have three specially created sundaes that “are inspired by and highlight each of the namesake locations” involved in the fundraiser. For Myzel’s shop, there was the divinely-rich chocolatey Myzel’s Chocolate Truffle Sundae; for the M Social Hotel, their custom-created treat was The M “Social Butterfly” Sundae - with surprise flavors you had to attend the social to discover; and the very friendly Candyman himself had The Sweet Shop NYC Funday Sundae – also with fun, surprise flavors and toppings.
A portion of the proceeds will go directly to the GoFundMe account set up at the shop’s website.
Outpouring of Support
Kamila Myzel has owned Myzel’s Chocolate shop located right across from New York City Center theater for over 30 years. Pre-pandemic, the shop was always bustling with theatregoers from all over Midtown, tourists from several hotels within a 3-4 block area, and the throngs of office workers surrounding her 55th Street location. That crowd has yet to return in large numbers, and reduced sales and back rent has hit her particularly hard, where she is trying to stay optimistic that things will turn around with the outpouring of support that she is receiving from many in the neighborhood and beyond.
Her shop has an old-world charm, where the aroma of cookies she still bakes herself, chocolates of every size and taste, and the in-demand vast licorice selection, greet customers as they enter her tiny shop. The shelves are fully stacked and ready for business, with lively holiday decorations all around. Myzel explained that she has no desire to move and start over somewhere else. She said the shop means everything to her and that she is “not a young woman anymore” and couldn’t see herself selling her special sweets anywhere else. “I like to see the people’s smiles,” she said of her regular customers and visitors to the store.
In addition to Alex Jackson and Kelly “The Candyman,” Myzel’s supporters include Betsy Bober Polivy, who interviewed Myzel years ago while documenting businesses on the side streets of Manhattan and included her in her book “Walking Manhattan Sideways.” The ice cream social was envisioned as a fun way to help for all those who can visit for even a short while.
A sweet deal all around.
This story has been updated with news of the event’s postponement.