In this sequence for T, the writer Reggie Nadelson revisits New York establishments which have outlined cool for many years, from time-honored eating places to unsung dives.
It’s straightforward sufficient to seek out banana and fudge or banana caramel ice cream at your native deli lately, however the taste I miss from my childhood, and which is much more durable to trace down, is simply plain banana. No chocolate, no nuts. It tasted solely of cream, bananas and sugar, and was way more luscious and profound than the sum of its elements. At Eddie’s Candy Store in Forest Hills, Queens, it’s simply as I keep in mind it, as if seasoned with a splash of nostalgia.
Typically described as New York’s longest surviving ice cream parlor, Eddie’s is a neighborhood establishment beloved for each its frozen confections and the truth that it has remained just about unchanged since Giuseppe Citrano, an immigrant from Southern Italy, purchased it in 1968. In accordance with the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, there has seemingly been a soda fountain on the deal with, a two-story purple brick constructing at 105-29 Metropolitan Avenue, since at the least the late Nineteen Forties, when William Witt, a German American, opened Witt’s Ice Cream Parlor there. However it was Citrano who made the place Eddie’s. Apparently there was no Eddie, and Citrano’s son Vito usually jokes that his father should have reckoned that if he didn’t put his personal identify on the door, ought to a buyer have a grievance, they wouldn’t get mad at him. Together with his father, Citrano is claimed to have coined the slogan “Take your youngsters to the place your grandparents had ice cream.”
Unsurprisingly, then, Vito (who took over within the early 2000s) and his spouse, Angelina, who personal and run the shop now, intention to maintain Eddie’s because it has at all times been. Even the metallic boat-shaped dishes for banana splits are classic, with some relationship again to the store’s early days.
In truth, Eddie’s total inside evokes a bygone age — or the pharmacy from Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play “Our City,” maybe. To your left as you enter is an extended marble counter with wood-topped swivel stools. Alongside the wall behind it’s an elaborate wooden built-in with mirrors and slots for printed playing cards bearing the names of ice cream flavors: butter pecan, maple walnut, cherry vanilla, vanilla fudge, mint chip. On a ledge, giant glass jars maintain syrups, and there’s an ancient-looking inexperienced metallic machine for making malts and milkshakes, in addition to an enameled fridge that, based on Vito, “is at the least 80 years outdated however nonetheless works.” The unique ceiling overhead is product of pressed tin, the ground out of hexagonal inexperienced and white tiles, and reverse the counter is a big glass-fronted wooden case stuffed with a colourful assortment of sweet. “Within the ’70s, we made our personal goodies,” Vito says. “However we acquired too busy.”
Behind the area — although, on account of the pandemic, Eddie’s is at the moment open just for takeout — are little tables and barely rickety wire chairs, in addition to a couple of cubicles. Once I arrive late on a sunny afternoon with my mates Jolie and Gary Alony, who personal the beloved neighborhood pharmacy Thompson Chemists in SoHo, a various crowd of all ages is consuming ice cream with a sure look of ecstasy on their faces and, within the case of 1 little woman, whipped cream on her nostril.
There’s a lot finding out of the menu, as if it had been an historical textual content. Doable orders embrace milkshakes, malts, floats and a number of the finest egg lotions in New York — the sort with only a sprint of seltzer added to the milk and syrup. Naturally, I begin with some banana ice cream, however then I resolve that I ought to in all probability strive another flavors, too, topped with my alternative of caramel, sizzling fudge, pineapple, butterscotch, walnuts (plain or in syrup) or chocolate sauce.
Along with the banana ice cream, there’s one absolute knockout. I’ve in all probability eaten lots of of gallons of espresso ice cream in my time — lots of them throughout the pandemic lockdown — however Eddie’s is the most effective I’ve ever had. Like all the things else right here, from the syrups to the whipped cream, it’s made on the premises, and it has a deep, delicate taste: creamy however not overly wealthy, candy however with out that unusual aftertaste attributable to an excessive amount of sugar. Vito doesn’t introduce new flavors casually however is open to experimentation. “If you need Rocky Highway, we are able to add marshmallows and nuts to your chocolate ice cream,” he tells me. “In truth, my son Brandon, who is usually behind the counter, is a grasp mixologist, and it’s a little bit of an exaggeration, however he can in all probability produce as much as one million mixtures.”
Joseph, the youthful of Vito’s two sons, can usually be discovered downstairs within the kitchen making ice cream and toppings (he even soaks the raisins in actual rum). Vito beams when he tells me about his children. He himself labored alongside his father and his grandfather, who was additionally named Vito, beginning on the age of 12, and says it was his father who confirmed him the which means of exhausting work. For a short while after faculty, Vito labored in finance, however he was again quickly on the household enterprise.
I’ve come to Eddie’s with the Alonys as a result of Gary, who was born in Rego Park, one neighborhood over from Eddie’s, has at all times liked the realm’s historical past. “It was 1976 when my mates and I started exploring Forest Hills,” he says. They’d journey their bikes to Station Sq., with its outdated inn and outlets. “We had been too younger to attend the good concert events on the stadium within the ’60s by the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, who went to Forest Hills Excessive. However we rode with pleasure previous the Forest Hills Gardens, with its grand Tudor-style mansions, and for a bunch of 13-year-old children, the neighborhood felt locked in time. There was no higher break than to cease at Eddie’s.”
In 1988, Gary met Jolie. She was an Higher East Facet Manhattan woman who ate her ice cream at Serendipity 3 on East sixtieth Avenue, and on the long-gone Rumpelmayer’s on the Lodge St. Moritz. She was, nonetheless, received over when, for his or her first date, Gary took her to Eddie’s. Now of their mid-50s, they’ve been married since 1991.
“I assumed it was so romantic to sit down at a small, spherical desk set for 2 and share a banana cut up with espresso ice cream and chocolate syrup and selfmade whipped cream,” says Jolie. “Gary was so excited that he additionally ordered milkshakes.” Grinning, she recollects how, when she was rising up, Manhattanites would usually discuss with individuals from Brooklyn and Queens as “Bridge and Tunnel individuals.” “After which that they had that 718 cellphone quantity,” she says. “However that date turned out to be the most effective. I fell head over heels in love with my Bridge and Tunnel husband at Eddie’s.”