Americans love their ice cream. So much so that 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in a sweet treat.
For those living in Harlem, chances are the ice cream they enjoy often comes from the iconic Mister Softee ice cream truck. This cheerful white and blue truck has been all around Harlem for the past few years, helping countless New Yorkers indulge their sweet tooth.
Except for one Harlem resident. Mackenzie, who declined to give her last name to Gothamist over fear of being found out by her neighbors, has recently moved to an apartment in Harlem. She said she chose her location because it was near Central Park and in a relatively quiet area. That is, until the Mister Softee ice cream truck came to her street and started blaring his loud, albeit catchy jingle.
In New York City, there is a noise ordinance that prevents ice cream trucks from playing their music while parked and/or after 10 p.m, with a potential fine ranging from $300 to $3,000 depending on the number of offenses and caliber of noise. And Mackenzie is mad the truck isn’t following the rules.
According to Mackenzie, the truck would park far away from police and then blare his music where cops couldn’t hear him. And since she could hear the music from blocks away, she went down to confront the owner of the truck, who refused to acknowledge her complaints.
Taking it one step further in her plight to take down Mister Softee, Mackenzie has called the cops numerous times, emailed the Mayor, and contacted the area’s congressional representative as a way to see if anyone could step in and shut down the ice cream truck. But Mackenzie has not gotten an answer from anyone, and she feels that no one is willing to do anything.
So how do Mackenzie’s neighbors feel about all this noise? Turns out they don’t really care — they believe Mackenzie should go back to where she came from if she is unhappy about the noise level.
One neighbor, Carolyn Graham, who has been a resident of the neighborhood for decades, explains:
“It don’t bother me none. I just go in my bedroom and turn up the TV.. That’s what people do.They listen to music, we have ambulance sirens, dirt bikes passing through. It’s the heartbeat of Harlem. We hate it, but that’s how it is.”
As of press time, there have been no new developments in the plight of the would-be ice cream truck bandit.