Friday Zen: Dog Ice cream

This is from the UK, a dog ice cream truck. I wonder where they keep their change?

Ray making an egg cream from his candy store in NYC

Here is the video I shot of Ray making his amazing egg creams.

Greg gets interviewed by WCTV

I don't think that came off too bad. I like the not growing up angle.
As the great philosopher Tom Lehrer once said "I'm trying to go from adolescence to senility bypassing maturity"

National Association of Soda Jerks Convetion at Lofty Pursuits October 8th

Just in, we have been selected to host the 2011 convention of the National Association of Soda Jerks. It will take place on October 8th 2011 at Lofty Pursuits. We will be having folks come in from all over the country to meet and trade the skills of the soda fountain to keep them from getting lost.

NYC Day 3: Rays Candy Shop

So I'm talking with one of the owners of the Brooklyn Farmacy, about the soda fountains we grew up with. He said his was still kicking on Avenue A on the Lower East Side. To locals, this is known as either Thompson Park (if you're a hipster) or Alphabet city if you're not. This was a place you'd only go to get mugged when I was growing up. It's much better now.
Ray's is a hole in the way, and might technically be a fry shop, but has a functional soda fountain, and what's more important it has Ray. Ray owns the place and has worked the overnight shift since he bought the place in 1974. He's 79 now.
The marque of the store is blank, white washed, and just empty. It actually took me three trys to find the place on a block that is shorter than the depth of Lofty Pursuits. I go in wondering if I found the right place. It looked more like a closet filled with refrigeration equipment than a food store.
This place has been 24 hours for over 40 years. It's tiny, about 10 to 12 feet wide, barely enough room for two or three customers.
I go in and order an egg cream. Ray, is there, toothless, and listening to Turkish music over a radio. He makes the egg cream in a simple conservation of motion. By now I'm, a bit jaded on egg creams. I've had them at no less than four places in NYC now, and by far Ray's is the best. Shockingly good. I look under the counter at the stacks of cans of malt and other fountain syrups. My god, this place would fit in the Party Room at Lofty Pursuits and he needs to stock more syrup than we do.
Ray talks to me while the other lady there helps customers. He tells me he's afraid the egg cream will die in NYC when he retires. He wants to sell, but has not found anyone ready to buy the place. While we talk, others come in, order fries with mayonnaise, something I know goes on in France, but seems to be the norm here.
I buy another egg cream for the road, and I leave, only to find a fire truck outside. Not to fight a fire, but so the crew can come in and get egg creams. I hear cursing as they turn around, they are called to another fire. They did not get to order.
I know I have had a piece of NY that is not long for this world. My hat goes off to you Ray.
If you want to find this place it's between St. Marks and 7th on Avenue A. 113 Ave A. You may need the address. It's only about two or three blocks away from the Gem Spa that claims to have the best egg cream in NYC, they do not, Ray does. It's that simple.
If you want you can follow ray on Twitter
http://twitter.com/RaysCandyStore
Here's a NYT article about his rent woes http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/nyregion/18candy.html
And lastly here is his cafepress page :)
http://www.cafepress.com/SaveRays
(I really dig ray's yoga mat ... on sale!)

NYC Day 4: Katz's Deli

I want to visit a friend who has a store over near the Bowery, so "Greg," I think, "I'm Hungry". I grew up in NYC, Brooklyn to be specific, but I've never eaten at Katz's Delicatessen. I figure this is my chance. I order a Kinish, a Ruben and an Egg Cream (it's become a theme if you have not figured it out). The nice young lady pictured above made me a first class egg cream using a classic glass seltzer bottle. You can't get any more old school than that. She is now the youngest person in NYC I've seen make a passable egg cream, and what's great, is the egg cream was great as well (Ray's still wins, but this was top notch). It made me very happy to know that another generation is being made. I really was not sure of that. Sadly I did not learn her name, but if anyone knows the folks at Katz's, please send them her photo and my complements. It was a nice surprise.
Mmmmm, Ruben.

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