Ice Cream Sandwiches Born on the Bowery

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 at 10:10 am by

With destruction and gentrification now commonplace along the Bowery, from Cooper to Chatham, recognizing its cultural contributions to American society is more important than ever.  It’s common knowledge that tap-dance, vaudeville, Jim Crow, Yiddish Theater, and certain slang phrases (e.g. “on a bender” or “kicking the bucket”) all grew up on the Bowery.  Time to add another.

[Delancey, August 2009]

The beloved historic thoroughfare also birthed a frozen treat still enjoyed the world over – the oh-so-delish ice cream sandwich!  In Sunday’s New York Times, Michael Pollak explains the origins to a curious reader in the “F.Y.I.” column.  Apparently the dessert item was forged by a lowly Bowery pushcart vendor at the turn of the twentieth century.

[Author] Ms. Quinzio also cited a 1901 column in The New York Mail, which said: “As a new fad, the ice-cream sandwich might have made thousands of dollars for its inventor had the novelty been launched by a well-known caterer, but strangely enough the ice-cream sandwich made its advent in an humble Bowery pushcart.” The unidentified columnist added that “the thin wafers which go to make up the sandwich help to modify the coolness of the ice cream, so that it can be eaten more readily.”

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