Mister Softee Truck Spotted on West 17th Street: Harbinger of Summer?


Thursday, January 25, 8 p.m.

It appeared out of nowhere, out of season, a phantom Mister Softee truck with a couple of guys piloting it who might have been in their eighties. They were stopped among the projects in Chelsea just west of Ninth Avenue on West 17th Street, strange gypsy music blaring from the loudspeakers. A guy was there buying cones for his kids — three, covered with rainbow sprinkles — that were already slouching in the cardboard carrying contraption.

I approached the lit window (another guy was slouching in the truck’s cab) and ordered a pinwheel with vanilla ice cream. They guy pushed his baseball cap back, looked furtively around, and reached on top of a high shelf to try to find some of the chocolate wafer cookies that lie on either side of a pinwheel. He didn’t find any.

A guy was yelling from one of the project windows, “Shut that thing off,” presumably referring to the blaring music.

So I took a small chocolate cone instead. I’m still not sure if I really ate it, or just imagined it.

Ice cream tastes different, more delicious, in the cold.