From The New York Shitty Inbox: Ice Cream Truck Haiku
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Spring (among other things) is definitely in the air in north Brooklyn. The weather is pleasant. The Peeps have come to roost at Newtown Creek. And the ice cream trucks have awakened from their wintertime slumber to ply their trade. Much to other peeps dismay— and rage.
E writes: Dear Miss Heather,
I think of myself as a fairly rational and calm person. I understand, of course, that introducing myself as such makes me automatically sound insane. Nevertheless, I do think that I’m pretty laid back and non-confrontational in most respects. Perhaps then you or your readers can share with me (1) why I feel compelled to purchase a stinger missile when the ice cream truck fires up its incessant midi file each Spring, and (2) how this can possibly be legal. I seriously go from nice guy to raging asshole in a split second. For the time being I have opted for a haiku instead of the aforementioned shoulder-fired weapon.
CAVEAT: I do not “get” the furor over ice cream trucks. This probably has to do with living on Clay Street back when it (and many of the people contained therein) were “hoppin”. Ice cream trucks would trawl my block at 11:00 p.m. Often later. I’ll leave the sundries they were offering to your imagination. Crack vials were common and no one in his (or her) right mind would ever attempt to get on the Pulaski Bridge via the stairwell on Ash Street. It was minefield laden with feces (canine and otherwise), used hypodermic needles, crack vials, homeless people and drug addicts. This is no longer the case.
I often wonder what happened to these people (and they were— are— human beings, first and foremost). On the other hand, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that being able to use this stairwell is rather nice. Nonetheless it is a bittersweet pleasure: I suspect many of the people who once called the Pulaski their home are dead. As a (reluctant) white liberal I have grown to (reluctantly) accept I had (albeit unwittingly) some hand in this. Not knowing and/or simply not caring.
I have since learned empathy. I have come to understand that some things bother people more than others. While ice cream trucks may not bother me, they bother others hereabouts. A LOT. For this reason I decided a little film footage should accompany E’s haiku. When I walked around McCarren Park yesterday afternoon I could not find a single ice cream truck. Just a lot of 20-somethings and nannies with strollers— which I found infinitely more irritating. I’ll take a dorky jingle from an ice cream truck— over and over— before listening to a toddler (or dozen) shriek.
If I wanted to hear this shit I would have children instead of cats.
I thought to myself. Then I had an epiphany:
My screaming toddler aversion is another person’s ice cream truck hatred. Both are annoying. Both are things we could just as well do without.
Ice cream trucks fall within the letter of the law, alas wailing children don’t. That’s life for you: it fucks you coming and going. It’s best to just roll with it and have a good time. And roll I did. Without further ado, here it is: Ice Cream Truck Haiku with a little (if muted) musical accompaniment.
If any of you, dear readers, are bothered by ice cream trucks (or other noise problems) please follow the protocol I have already outlined. Call 311, file a complaint, get a complaint number and forward everything to:
- Community Board 1 (I go into more detail about how to go about this here)
- Our City Councilman: Steve Levin
- Our State Assemblyman: Joseph Lentol
- The Department of Environmental Protection (which handles noise “pollution”)