79 BIG GAY ICE CREAM

Attitude - - Food - big­gay­ice­cream. com

In the sum­mer of 2009, an ice- cream truck like none be­fore it rolled onto the streets of New York City. The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck was cre­ated by Bryan Petroff and Dou­glas Quint, who sold ice- cream flavours cheek­ily named Salty Pimps, Dorothy and Blue­berry Gob­bler from it. The truck has now been parked up and re­placed by three bricks- and­mor­tar shops across the city. We spoke to Dou­glas about his time in the truck and his favourite places in NYC…

Why did you de­cide to brand the com­pany Big Gay Ice Cream?

We wanted to name the truck but had no idea what to go with. Cer­tainly not a van­ity name, no sim­ple “Doug’s Ice Cream”. I started a Face­book page for my on­go­ing di­ary about the project and in­vited my friends to “like” it. Be­cause we didn’t know what we would be call­ing the truck, I named the page “The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck”. We fig­ured even­tu­ally we’d come up with a per­ma­nent name for our big gay ice cream truck, but that’s not how it played out. The name of the page made peo­ple laugh, and folks start­ing join­ing the Face­book page purely so that their feed would say “John Doe is a fan of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.” The name was just a goof. When we ac­tu­ally got a truck peo­ple re­alised this was no joke, and we re­alised that it was de­cided for us by all the Face­book “likes” — we were The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

What were the re­ac­tions of New York­ers the first time you rolled the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck out?

They stared, and then they laughed, and then they started buy­ing ice cream.

Where was your favourite spot to park the truck?

We al­most al­ways parked at 17th and Broad­way in Union Square and that will al­ways feel like home. That’s where the truck grew up. It’s where Up­town and Down­town co­ex­ist.

What was your most chal­leng­ing day in the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck?

There was one day that I had to film for a web series, and the air con­di­tioner was bro­ken. I was try­ing to make ice cream and it reached 116F in the truck. It looked like I was wear­ing a dif­fer­ent- coloured shirt be­cause I was lit­er­ally drenched in sweat. To­tally gross.

Why did you stop tak­ing the truck out?

The truck was still a lot of fun, but it ceased

be­ing a creative ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter three years. I loved meet­ing ev­ery­one and talk­ing to them, but it be­came so popular that I was mak­ing just two or three dif­fer­ent types of cones all day long, and our reg­u­lars could no longer come and get ice cream be­cause the lines were too long. That’s when we re­alised we needed to do a bricks- and- mor­tar shop.

Have you had any fa­mous cus­tomers? If so, give us the, ahem, scoop…

We’ve seen a lot. Danny De­Vito, Bette Mi­dler, David Beck­ham and his kids… the list goes on!

Where should we go for some­thing savoury be­fore we visit one of your ice cream par­lours?

There are so many amaz­ing restau­rants in the neigh­bour­hoods where our shops are! I sug­gest ei­ther Le Bernardin or Joe’s Pizza on Carmine [ Street]. Some­thing for ev­ery bud­get!

What should Big Gay Ice Cream vir­gins try their first time?

Amer­i­can Globs [ malted sweet cream ice cream with fudge- cov­ered salted pret­zel balls and a fudge swirl], named af­ter Neil Gaiman’s [ novel] Amer­i­can Gods. It’s the most ex­treme treat­ment of soft serve that we know of, that’s for sure.

Where would you sug­gest we go to work off the su­gar high?

It has to be a walk along the High Line.

The drinks are on us. Where can we take you for a big night out?

An ap­pe­tizer hot dog at Gray’s Pa­paya, then Grand Cen­tral Oys­ter Bar, then the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Ho­tel, and then to Coal Yard in East Vil­lage for some shots of whiskey. And fin­ish at Katz’s Deli for a pas­trami sand­wich, of course.

Do you have any big plans for WorldPride this year?

We usu­ally just keep do­ing what we do. We have al­ways made sure that peo­ple, all peo­ple, know our arms are ex­tended to them. We’re open to ev­ery­body – that’s how we cel­e­brate Pride ev­ery day.

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