Mr. Softee Battles Heat Up This Year in Midtown


Did you catch that article last week in the NYPost that uncovered the cut-throat (literally) business of finding a spot to park a soft serve ice cream truck? We’ve long known that aside from public property and the Parks Department, no vendor can actually own his or her spot. There is an unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” that certain vendors have nurtured certain spots. There are thousands of street corners all across the city.

Ask the Street Vendor Project or the New York City Food Truck Association. When you start a mobile food business, you need to introduce yourself into the food truck community in a safe, gracious way instead of trying to push somebody else out of their spot. Disagreements still occur with trucks and cart owners who break that “vendor code.” We’ve seen the disputes on the street and more recently on Twitter.

But based on the Post article, fights over spots continue to occur and they are getting more and more violent.

It seems the worst offenders are some Mister Softee and Yogo trucks who threaten each other about coveted spots.  Even though Mister Softee assigns their drivers a specific route and neighborhood to operate in, not everybody plays by the rules. And other ice cream companies, like Van Leeuwen have been bullied, especially in Midtown.

Fights among ice cream vendors are certainly nothing new, but can’t we all just get along? I understand that this is their livelihood (some can earn up to $1500 a day), but shouldn’t these violent guys then deal in something that doesn’t represent innocence and childhood nostalgia? I’d expect that kind of behavior if I was doing business with a different kind of drug dealer. But sugar and ice cream should be sacred!


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I caught a good fight last year between two softies which turned out ot be hard nose swinging ice’s.

  • When you say “earn up to $1500 a day”, surely you don’t mean $1500 in profit, right? Even if they shut down completely for half the year, that’s still $200K a year. What’s your source for this info?

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      I was referencing the NY Post story. They say “rake in”, so perhaps “earn” was misleading. It probably isn’t all profit but it’s still a lot of money to pull in a day and may slightly explain the fights.

      • Ah, the NY Post. That explains the fact checking.

      • Love the term “rake in”, as if the money is just being thrown at them. It’s clearly a revenue number.

        Of course, “up to $1500″ includes everything from $0 to $1500. Let’s sensationalize to attract eyeballs!

  • Van Leeuwen should be taught to be new yorkers anyway.

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