The famed “Ice Cream Man” finally did Brooklyn last week — and everyone from our famously dieting Borough President to steamed kids to coiffed hipsters loved him.
Matt Allen, along with his 1969 Chevrolet ice cream truck “Bessie,” was spotted dishing out Pink Panthers, Good Humor Bars and Drumsticks to passers-by all over the borough. He snapped photos with Marty Markowitz at the Beep’s “Camp Brooklyn” camper send-off on July 2, doled Neapolitans to sweaty concertgoers at McCarren Park pool and set up shop in front of the Superhero Supply Company in Park Slope.
Allen claims to have a pretty mean sweat tooth. Not a bad thing for a thirtysomething guy who spent the last three years driving around the country giving away ice cream. His goal is to hand out a total of 500,000 frozen treats. Currently, Allen claims to be hovering somewhere around 90,000.
“The bigger picture is to inspire and motivate young people to get out and do stuff,” Allen told The Brooklyn Paper, while slinging ice cream at Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street last week in Park Slope. “I’m leading by example. I’m showing that you can do things that are non-traditional and fulfill your dreams.”
Allen is able to pull off his venture through major sponsorship. A big Levi’s sticker is prominently displayed on the side of his truck and The White Stripes created a cardboard ice cream holder with a picture of their latest album.
With such backing in place, Allen set out to put a face to the term “Ice Cream Man.”
“He never had a face attached to him,” Allen said. “I decided to make myself that guy. If we can do that then hopefully through branding, merchandising and marketing, we can make a buck.”
Not surprisingly, Brooklynies were skeptical of the freebie. “The first thing everyone asks is, ‘OK, why is it free?” said Allen. “It’s like, ‘What’s the catch?’ ”