Day In The Life: NYC Ice Cream Truck Operator

I hear them bells when they’re off, I hear them in my sleep,
I hear them when I lay down. The people that invented this came up with that song, I
heard that they started singing, “We’re gonna get some ice cream!” or something
like that, I don’t really know the words to it. My name is Victor and I drive an ice
cream truck. I was born in the Bronx and I grew up in Astoria, Queens since I was three. I work Brooklyn, Greenpoint. I’ve been
doing this for five seasons already. Seven days a week, you got no summer, no
barbecues, no nothing. You give up everything to push this ice cream truck. I get
25% of what I sell, so if I sell $800 in one day, I stay
with $200. It’s not like that every day, Monday
to Friday you get about $500, $400. Monday to Friday is different than
the weekend. You know, I travel a lot through the neighborhood between Pulaski Bridge
and Manhattan Bridge, and I go up through the blocks through the blocks. The weekends, we got
seminars, we got concerts, and we got street fairs, so we’ll sit there for five, six hours
and then we’ll continue our route during the night. In my downtime, when I’m
sitting around with nothing to do, I got my TV in there, I watch some TV. I got a little bit of weights in there, I
might work out. I haven’t done it in a couple of weeks, I got lazy. I’m technically a Mister Softee truck, but they
painted my truck last year (2014) because Mister Softee wants 30 grand now. They used to charge 15 grand.
My best-selling flavor is the crunchy crabs, the twist cone, SpongeBobs, snow cones. Snow cones we’re
out of for the last three weeks. Those are hot commodities. You bring a smile to
these kids’ faces and it’s a great feeling. You got crying kids, I make them stop
crying. This is a cutthroat job. The competition,
you got trucks coming out in our routes and they try to, like, the guy
around the corner now, he’s only here on the weekend. And he’s fighting me for that spot, when I
work this route seven days a week. By 3:30 I’ll go put up next to him, he’ll probably beef, you know start fighting with me, I just ignore them. Sunday, tomorrow, I’ll probably come
early just to take over his spot, because that’s what he does to me. Which he’ll probably come and find a spot
somewhere in front of me ’cause he thinks that’s his park for some reason, and it’s not. The
city park they’ll touch you; the state park they don’t care. Yeah, my chocolate blew on me, when
it’s hot days… it’s just, the generator gets hot, it
starts to cook, your pump starts to blow, and there’s no way to— I mean, it’s impossible. You have ice
cream all over the floor. I was on Greenpoint Avenue by the water, and I
just seen this strange man walking in the middle of the street, like out of nowhere and
I was like, “Who’s this?” and as they’re he got closer and closer, it was Bill
Murray! I couldn’t believe it. And he ordered a cherry dip, I gave it to him
for free and I took a picture with him. It was great. I have regular customers, they
won’t buy from nobody else but me. Some don’t like me, ’cause of the bells. I
only use my bells when I drive. When I stop, I let it finish playing out and then
you got guys coming up to me telling me to turn my music off, or you know, “We don’t
want you over here.” My truck is an eyesore, I’m polluting the
neighborhood with my generator. That’s the stuff that I hear from them
every day. This is my last season (2015), it’s too much problems. I see myself in five years,
if I’m not, if I’m not dead, which I’m not that lucky, probably thinking of going with Uber, or I’m
thinking of doing something else. Something self-employed, I know that. I don’t want to work for nobody no more.
Hoping I make some money today, that’s about it. It’s a nice day, Saturday. Hey guys, I’m Nell Casey, the
food editor at Gothamist. Thank you so much for watching. Click to subscribe to
our YouTube channel for more delectable videos, and let us know in the comments
where in New York City you’d like to see us film next.
I’ll catch y’all on the flip side!

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