My friend and I stood behind two teenagers in a line outside of Morgenstern’s; creamy ice cream that was all the rage. The teenage ice cream attendants were wearing ice cream parlor hats, white with a blue trimming. I loved the traditional old world American feel, meaning previously only seen in movies or TV shows, having slowly died out by the time I was born. A series of baseball caps decorated one wall as artwork and framed b&w comics hung beneath with a nicely mixed clientele of locals, families, professionals, tourists, and cool kids. Standing in line, I was struck by the New England look of the American teenager standing in front of me and the air of normality he exuded getting quite possibly the world’s best ice cream in the East Village on a late Tuesday evening at 13. The ice cream flavors on the menu board spoke reams of the urbane with names like Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate and Black Ass Licorice alongside American Egg and Bourbon Vanilla.
The ice cream was scooped from small containers stored under the counter and given out in perfectly rounded scoops. Scoops were called dips but I just couldn’t get myself to ask for a Coffee Crisp 1 dip, that sounded too modern for me. However, this was a cash only joint. One scoop plus tax came to $4.90. Having forgotten about the added tax in the U.S., I had only counted out 50 cents in coins so I handed the teenage cashier 5 one dollar bills instead although he had seen me counting coins. This confused him as he fanned out the dollar bills in his hand and said, “This is 5 dollars.” Then I got confused because I didn’t understand why he was confused at which point my friend grabbed one of the dollars from his hand and handed over 90 cents in change. This somehow made sense to everyone but me. The coffee crisp was textured with bits of crisp with the most perfect taste of a coffee, speckled with coffee grounds.
2 Rivington Street NY NY 10002