Hello. Did you know there has been a long-simmering, occasionally violent turf war going on between rival ice-cream truck drivers in Manhattan? I did not. I had just being quietly bumbling along, mostly minding my own business, totally unaware that New York’s ice-cream truck drivers were out there living out the plot of an HBO prestige drama. And I would have continued on like that forever, probably, if the New York Times hadn’t stepped in and published a story titled “A Renegade Muscles In On Mister Softee’s Turf.” But they did, and I read it, and now it is all I can think about.
The gist of the story follows: A rival ice-cream truck company called New York Ice Cream, which is staffed by former employees of Mr. Softee, has run Mr. Softee out of Manhattan, and the fight over the territory is getting ugly. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let’s set the scene.
Bad blood has run through the New York ice cream trade for decades. In 1969, a Mister Softee driver was kidnapped by rivals who blew up his truck. In 2004, a cone-selling couple in their 60s were ambushed by competitors who beat them into critical condition with a wrench. In a 2010 brawl caught on video, two drivers near Columbus Circle exchanged punches before one man pushed the other’s face into a planter.
So, two things:
- You really must read this story. I’m giving you the basics here, but the whole thing is quite remarkable. Read it.
- This is somehow not the first story we’ve seen about turf wars among ice-cream truck drivers turning violent. There was also one a few years ago that involved a company called “Mr. Ding-a-Ling” and a rival shouting “I own this town!” into the telephone. The world is filled with magic.