Sh*t Gets Real When Mister Softee's Muscled Out
Mister Softee says he has been muscled out of Midtown Manhattan.
New York Ice Cream, staffed by drivers who used to cover Midtown for Mister Softee, has had the area locked down for at least a year, Mister Softee said. The renegade is enforcing its dominance with threats and intimidation that sometimes get physical.
“If one of my drivers goes to Midtown, they’ll bring their trucks in and surround them — a bunch of guys,” said Peter Bouziotis, who runs the Softee depot in the Bronx, which covers Manhattan. “They’ll start banging on the windows.”
At the corner of 40th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, a New York Ice Cream man in the window of his purple-trimmed white truck was unapologetic.
“From 34th to 60th Street, river to river, that’s ours,” he said on a recent afternoon, moments after handing a chocolate cone to a delighted-looking little boy. The vendor would not allow his name to be published for fear of losing his job.
“You will never see a Mister Softee truck in Midtown,” he continued. “If you do, there will be problems, and you won’t see him there very long.”
Boxing in a Softee truck so the driver cannot do business. Getting up in his face. Grabbing his collar and delivering some unsolicited advice.
“Happens all the time,” the New York Ice Cream man said.
From "A Renegade Muscles in on Mr. Softee's Turf" by Andy Newman and Emily S. Rueb for The New York Times, 2016; Photo by Chang W. Lee
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