Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Ghost of the Ice Cream Van

My latest column is out. Actually, it's been out since Tuesday, but I wasn't near a computer to post it. Random line from the column: "In Britain it is more acceptable to kick an old lady in the shins than design straight roads that are easy to navigate."


heatherfeather said...

they have them in denver and in southern california. however, gone are the good humo(u)r men of my youth with their starched white uniforms and clean white trucks.

i don't think i'd ever stop one to negotiate the purchase of a frozen treat... all i've seen in the past 5 years or so are burnt out old rusty vans playing "pop goes the weasel" over and over, typically tearing through residential neighborhoods at about 60 mph.

i don't think i've seen one here, but i'd be afraid if i did... DC is... yeah, you don't want to ever be caught buying something out of the back of a van here.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - there's ice cream trucks all over the East Coast.

In NYC we called 'em "Mr. Softee" and they indeed play the most insipid repetitive jingles (one of them played 'Pop Goes the Weasle') that torture you night and day. And, as in the UK, they circle or just park (although reportedly remaining stationary is newly outlawed in NYC due to too-late-for-me "quality of life legislation.")

The trucks in East Flatbush, Brooklyn were also rumoured to be fronts for drug sales.

Car alarms and Mr. Softee were seriously the bane of my existence in NYC and frequently caused me to wish I possessed grenades.

But I loved the ice cream truck in South Minneapolis that arrived religiously once a day in hot weather and had brightly colored and zanily named ice treats, orange "push ups", and ice cream bars in the shape of Mickey Mouse, at least in the 70s. The most expensive were $1. Almost nobody had AC back then, and the ice cream truck, the inflatable wading pool, garden hose, and the sprinkler were your best summer friends.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't remember seeing one in years until I moved to Highland Park in the last few months. Now every Saturday and Sunday you can almost guarantee to hear "pop goes the weasel" around 4 PM.

I've noticed two changes from years past.

1) It's now a middle eastern fella driving around a converted mail truck.
2) The price of frozen chocolate eclairs and strawberry shortcake has nearly doubled.