Ice Cream Trucks a Problem?

Mary Frost, in the Eagle, has a story about DUMBO residents who “have had it with the noisy, fume-spewing ice cream trucks clogging their streets and sidewalks.” However, if you follow the link and read to the end of Mary’s story, you’ll find some reports of Brooklyn Heights residents complaining about noise and fumes from trucks parked on Cadman Plaza West, and on Middagh and Hicks streets. Mary notes that BHB reader and commenter Roberto Gautier

has been sounding the alarm about the pollution being spread by the diesel truck on Cadman and others parked nearby for years. Gautier points out that parts of London have banned the diesel trucks, and hopes he can push the city to do likewise here.

Meanwhile, he is arranging a study to measure the pollution levels from the truck on Cadman and one that parks near P.S. 8 on Hicks Street.

Back in May of 2012 there were complaints on Open Thread Wednesday about fumes and noise from a truck regularly parked next to the Pierrepont Playground, at the conjunction of Pierrepont Street, Pierrepont Place, and Columbia Heights. The truck is still regularly there – your correspondent lives at Montague Street and Pierrepont Place, and can see it from a window – but the problems seem to have been alleviated.


What say you, readers? Any specific, or general, complaints?

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  • 8gdc

    I hate the trucks and their diesel fumes. Especially the one by the Pierrepont playground!

  • Jorale-man

    I’m not a big fan of that truck by the Pierrepont playground. I know it makes kids happy but I can sometimes smell its fumes from a block away. That said, think of it a warning of what a Promenade Expressway would be like, except multiply it by several thousand.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Some of you may have noticed that for the last several months, Mike the “Kustard King” over by Pierrepont Playground has not been running his generator. That’s because his generator, which ran on gasoline (not diesel) failed sometime in July or August. Because of this he’s only been selling novelties (no soft serve) and at reduced hours.

    If you’ve never had a conversation with Mike, if you dislike children and cold treats, if you don’t care about trusted establishments that have served the community for multiple generations, you might celebrate this kind of news. Most others will recognize his commitment to serving this community and to the quality of his products.

    Mary, you should interview Mike for a follow-up to this story. If you can’t locate him at the playground I’d be happy to put you in touch.

  • Arch Stanton

    I cannot believe how ornery these people are, they must have a stick up their behinds a mile long. It’s Ice cream, for fords sake, it makes people happy.

  • Arch Stanton

    Um the expressway is already there, the fumes already blow entirely into the neighborhood when the wind is coming from the west, which is most of the time. The puny generator in the ice cream truck is negligible.

  • Roberto Gautier

    “Soft serve – with a touch of diesel” expresses the key concern. Mary’s was not an anti-ice cream article. The point is that noisy diesel generators don’t make people happy. They make people sick. Ice cream, on the other hand, often embodies a much-needed pleasure principle.
    A deeper issue is that ice cream and other food trucks are forced to be renegades because there are no legal places for them to park in NYC. They feed the city’s coffers with fees and fines, but DiBlasio et al. are cool with money with a touch of diesel.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    why not walk a couple of blocks down montague for a cone of ice cream at haagen daz or pick a whole carton at keyfood? Guess it too much of a walk for the weary babysitters…

  • Pierhouse Dad

    The bigger issue at hand here is that the “tourist industrial complex” is ruining NYC. It started in Manhattan and now has creeped into Brooklyn. Dumbo’s charm is obliterated by throngs of tourists, walking in packs after being dumped off by noisy, diesel spewing busses that often illegally idle. The worst Mayor in a generation has turned a blind eye to this, as quality of life issues seem to be a “rich man’s problem” and he bigger work to get done in Iowa. We need real leadership to make change. This problem is plaguing many other places and they are taking action. Great article in Bloomberg today . . .

    Overrun by Tourists, American Cities Are Taking Aim at Hotels – Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Arch Stanton

    Laughable, Go to any major city and you’ll see plenty of tourists, oh and you’ll be one of them.
    Tourism is part of the economy, especially in a place like Dumbo that would never sustain all those businesses without tourist dollars.

  • Daddyo

    When was Dumbo “charming”? I missed that era.

  • Pierhouse Dad

    Seriously? That’s just trolling. Not sure where you live in BH, but I am sure that if non-stop throngs of tourists and tour busses parked on your block you would have a problem too. Tourism is OK; the destruction of livable cities is not. Try to walk over the bridge lately? How about non-stop helicopter noise? Piles of Starbucks cups in overflowing cans? Fun stuff. There are reasonable ways of managing the issue. NYC is doing nothing to help the people that spend really support the economy here by paying property and income taxes.

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, but the promenade above it keeps at least some of the fumes from directly impacting the Heights. My point is, if you think the polluting ice cream truck is bad, wait until thousands of dirty vehicles are literally on our doorstep, rushing by at 60 mph, 24/7. I’m cautiously optimistic that plan is dead now, but we’ll see.

    I also don’t take a very charitable view of anyone who parks such a polluting, noisy vehicle right in front of a playground full of kids for hours on end, plying unhealthy dessert items that contribute to our obesity epidemic.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Mike doesn’t “ply”. He’s actually extremely conscientious about health concerns and works with parents and caregivers to keep kids to their healthy ice cream allowances; if you’d ever interacted with him you’d have picked up on this stuff.

    He’s one of the friendlier people in the neighborhood. Go talk to him.

    You must be thinking of the ice cream trucks that play a jingle and operate without a permit, roving through food deserts and tourist traps selling tainted products at a huge markup. The “obesity epidemic” you refer to has a close relationship to socioeconomic status. It is not perpetrated by a stationary ice cream truck in an affluent neighborhood.

    I wish people would pick up a peer reviewed journal once in a while before making claims like these.

  • Arch Stanton

    I did a rough calculation a while back: roughly 25,000 cubic feet of exhaust gases are generated by the BQE every minute, along the cantilever. If the wind is blowing in from the west all those fumes are going to wash into the neighborhood. Unless you have some super-physical explanation of where else they go?

    Ah, I see you are anti carb as well as anti car.

  • Arch Stanton

    Ah, the ad hominem “Troll” defense. Really, that’s the best you got? LOL. I live near Montague St right in the middle of the hood. I see your moniker gives away your location “Pierhouse” Well yeah, you got plenty of tourist down there but didn’t you know that before you bought? Sure helicopter noise and trash are problems but they are easily fixed (at least if we had a competent mayor), The tourists aren’t going away, maybe you should just move if they bother you so much.

  • Local_Montague_Man

    The ice cream truck by the Pierrepont Place playground is annoying on multiple levels. I am glad Mike is a nice guy, but who cares? Truck is noisy, pollutes, and is selling crap calories that kids love because they don’t know any better.

  • Pierhouse Dad

    Not a defense, but when 90% of your comments (I checked) are contrarian vs. supportive of a better community and standard of living, I would call that a troll. Or, more accurately defined, a cranky, lonely guy living under bridges, contributing little to make things better, but making lots of noise to get attention.

    As I noted, tourism is a part of today’s hyper-connected global world and should be expected. No is debating that.

    But like anything, unmanaged it gets out of control and destroys its environment. That’s not so hard to understand for a rational member of a community who wants the best for all involved. Personally, as you also noted, where I live, I am far from the throngs and they are no real issue for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want my neighbors to have a better quality of life.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    “selling crap calories…because [kids] don’t know any better”

    So you’re saying that because of the presence of the ice cream truck, parents and caregivers who would actually pay for the ice cream lose all ability to regulate their kids’ caloric intake, even with Mike being complicit in helping enforce said regulation?

    Re noise: the playground is noisier. The BQE is louder.

    Re pollution: it’s gallant of you to mention, but this is like complaining about a few drops of dirty water in an ocean of even filthier water.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I’ll weigh in here … not, of course, to join forces with A.S. whose middle name just MUST start with an S, because his posts are invariably worse than contrarian – they’re assinine!

    But you have it wrong when you “pick on” tourism. Your handle DOES put a target on your chest. (And yes, I envy you for your address.)

    Real estate development – unchecked and unsustainable – is the REAL enemy, and Pierhouse could easily be a poster child for it.

    True, Mayor Bloomberg was not acting – as the current Mayor so obviously is – on a “Make me an offer – for ANYTHING” – basis. But motive isn’t decisive in criminal OR civil trials and tribulations.

    The effect of much/most of the last 10 years of building has been to sink billions of dollars of flight capital – Khashoggi-killers, drug dealers, etc. – in luxury real estate – WITHOUT benefiting NYC or NYS barely at all.

    AirBNB, polluting tourist busses, $10 slices of pizza and a host of other VERY serious and very trivial consequences (yes, including the Disneyfication of NYC) are just that – FALLOUT! from the bomb that is rampant over-development.

    I’m sure diBlasio stumped against “trickle down economics,” but in his 6 years, that is the only way you could square our bona fide housing crisis with all dem cranes! But a 2 BR rental in an older building is now $5K in a good neighborhood (I checked – it’s $5226 in BH – per streeteasy), and homelessness is worse than ever!

  • Arch Stanton

    “Not a defense” Then it’s an attack. You may call me anything you want, it doesn’t bother me the slightest. FYI, your imaginary rant on my social life and character are way off.

    Yes I often post views contrary to the status quo, not because I’m a “troll” because I have a different opinion or want to point out the reality of a situation. Most everything I say is backed up by logic, science or some other evidence. Popular opinions are often uninformed, idyllic or just wrong. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • Proto Plano


  • TeddyNYC

    Are there electric trucks that could be modified for ice cream duty or is there not enough power for that?

  • StudioBrooklyn

    There are but sadly they’re crazy expensive.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Interesting observation. I must agree and would add that loneliness and social isolation is (with high degree of accuracy) directly proportional to the frequency and voluminousness of posts. Therefore your observation regarding Mr. AS (and his snarky response to support the theory) hit the bull’s eye smack in the middle.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Pondering it further I can add negativity to “frequency and voluminousness “

  • Local_Montague_Man

    Nope! I’ll take these out of order:

    Noise: laughing kids vs generator…tough one here

    Pollution: I get it, one more diesel generator what’s the difference? If you can smell it, probably not the best for you or the kids 20 feet away

    Crap calories: Parents have the right to give their kids crap calories if they want. Should we be making that easier? Cut to Bloomberg soda argument here, pretty clear which side I’m on

  • Arch Stanton

    The generator runs on Gasoline not Diesel.

  • Reggie

    That’s too bad, because it’s not coming back.

  • Arch Stanton

    Well if you want to play the psychoanalysis game… I’d say you, Pierhouse Dad and the rest of the “anti Ice cream crew” had childhoods deprived of joy, suffering under authoritarian, overbearing parents. Who else would want to take fun and enjoyment away from others? Also y’all must be pretty miserable in general to be blessed to live in one of the nicest neighborhoods on the planet and not be satisfied.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    When Jupiter is angry, Jupiter is wrong.