Friends, it's Fall. I don't know if the 50 degree evenings have given it away, or that tiny little mention of the "Autumnal Equinox" on your day planner, but they days of ice creaming have come to an end. SIGH. Despite the fact that I was MIA for nearly all of Summer it seems, we visited SEVEN new ice cream parlors and revisited three old faves! We now have 21 NYC ice cream haunts that have made the Official List. And even though we didn't get through my entire list this year, that makes ice cream season 2014 all the more exciting, with new adventures in store.
For this season's send-off I wanted to do something Epic, the way I trekked through Brooklyn and waited in Ample Hill's line for half an hour last year. And boy did I find the perfect place!
Let me begin by telling you a little bit of history. As in backstory and yes, actual history too. Whilst leading student tours a few months ago, and having had my fill of the Natural History Museum, I meandered to it's oft overlooked neighbor, The New York Historical Society. This is an INCREDIBLE museum, showcasing various artifacts from Washington's years to 9/11 and so much cool stuff in between. If you haven't been, I seriously recommend it. While browsing their (really neat) gift shop, I came upon a book listing all the shops in NYC that have been here for over a hundred years (I know, I nearly started frothing at the mouth). And while it was too overwhelming to purchase, my heart started pitter-patting when I came upon this entry -
- about an ice cream shop in Queens called Jahn's that has been there since 1926, and established in 1897. What a way to end ice cream season - to introduce QUEENS into the ice cream mix, and to visit this super historic shop.
Now. Despite the fact that the book states that Jahn's is supposed to be remnant of a 1890's ice cream parlor, I was let's say, a tad disillusioned upon my arrival (and PS it took me 45 minutes to get here from midtown). Although Jahn's clearly has a cool history amongst the earliest ice cream purveyors of NYC, it's lost a little of that glimmer. Despite this adorably quaint looking menu:
- the restaurant had renovated the heck out of it's charm; it was remnant of a certain period in history but I'd maybe use the phrase retro kitsch instead.
That being said, all that remained was the ice cream, and I couldn't wait to try a 100 year-old ice cream recipe....
....even if it came in a coffee cup (no cones!? C'mon!).
Jahn's Ice Cream is unfortunately nothing to write home about. I tried to engage one of the part-owners on the way out, who could only tell me that the ice cream comes from a distributor in the Bronx called Calip Dairy, but that they've only been supplying the ice cream for about 15 years. Prior to that was another distributor by way of Brooklyn, who has long since gone out of business, and whose name he could not recall. A Google search links Calip Dairy to "Big Apple Dairy and Desserts" (with the covetable domain of www.nyc-icecream.com), a city distributor who services hospitals, hotels, and retirement communities. Among the products it distributes are ice cream-makers Haagen Daaz, Edy's, and the horrible sounding Bungalow Bar, a 3-gallon "value-priced" ice cream.
Which, let's be serious, is probably what I just ate. Especially since Mr. Part-Owner couldn't even tell me the name brand of the ice cream he serves. Le SIGH. Sorry Queens - you still haven't brought the milkshake to the yard, although there's always next year.
And despite my love of NYC history, I sure am proud to be living in 2013, where small-batch, homemade, local-ingredient ice cream is back in fashion.
See ya next season, Ice Creamers.