"Every truck has a [baseball] bat inside," Adam Vega, a Mister Softee employee, told the NY Times this past May in reference to the turf wars quietly waged between rival NYC ice-cream trucks. The media understandably went buck wild.
But kids on the street? When your heart is set on a SpongeBob SquarePants ice-cream bar from your local street merchant, all that other stuff is just background noise. For many, the ice-cream truck was the first taste of freedom—freedom in ordering without parental supervision; freedom in choosing one bar out of many.
The multitude of options was inspiring enough, but so was the realization that a lot of it was specialty ice cream, stuff you'd rarely find in the freezer aisles of your local supermarket. Most likely the only memories you have of eating Tweety Bird bars involve sitting outside, usually on concrete pavement, doing your best to battle the heat. It was for a specific time and place.
To honor this legacy of American ice-cream tradition, we hit up a truck in Midtown and purchased every item from its stash. While there are a few glaring omissions—the owner wasn't carrying Choco Tacos, after all—we took it upon ourselves to rate the best of the bunch, from Big Sticks to Strawberry Shortcake.