The NYC ice cream legal (and not so legal) war

From 6/1/16 FiveThirtyEight, with the NYT link:


Selling ice cream out of trucks in New York City is apparently a violent and disturbing business, as laid out in a frankly absurd article describing the difficulties facing the Mister Softee company due to a new competitor. And while Dimitrios Tsirkos of New York Ice Cream was ordered by a court to pay Mister Softee $287,858.44 in legal fees, and more than $767,000 overall, the real battle for ice cream is on the streets. “Every truck has a bat inside,” is a serious line from an article about ice cream trucks. [The New York Times]

This food war reminds me of the Bleecker Street fish wars, decades ago.

I’m going to try to tell you the story without checking it on google:

Once upon a time, when Bleecker Street–which runs from the Bowery (which eventually becomes Third Ave, but you don’t need to know this) through the West Village into Eighth Avenue at Bank Street–…

Which took too long and wasn’t particular relevant. Suffice it to say, decades ago, when the West Village still contained living remnants of Little Italy, on Bleecker Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues there were two fresh fish shops.

I don’t remember their names, although I shopped in both. Or maybe only one. I probably picked one for stupid reasons, such as euphony in the name, or canopy color.

Both fresh fish shops were owned by Italian immigrants. One fresh fish shop was run by one family. The second fresh fish shop was opened by a nephew (I think) of the original fresh fish shop’s pater familias.

Anger ensued. Actually, no, not anger. It was rage. And what ensued after the rage was at least one act of vengeance.

It was New York Magazine, if I remember, that detailed the Bleecker Street fish shop war. And war it was, complete with weaponry. One fish shop owner put out a contract on the other fish shop owner. There was gunfire, there was gunshot injury, there was blood. There were no deaths.

And, naturally, what ensued was criminal court.

Among the presences no longer on Bleecker Street are (1) fish shops–landlords of such small stores are currently asking monthly rents of $20,000 or more; and (2) me, since I moved to the Upper West Side and now get my fish from Citarella.

I’m now pausing to google “Bleecker Street fish wars”–just to check my memory but I assure you what was written above was written without research into anything except my brain.

…..(pause indication)..


Nice to know my memory bank hasn’t entirely eroded. Possibly because I still eat a lot of fish.

Anyway, I hope the ice cream wars stick to courtroom processes. I think they will, primarily because the protagonists are not close relatives. But apparently there will be violence: there are all those bats.


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