For reasons I shall not go into here, except to say, Beverley, why did you poke the Kraken? What did the Kraken ever do?, I needed a worthy destination to walk to this evening. In dog training, they would call this a “high value reward”, because if you want your dog to really do something that’s what you use. My high value reward was Mikey Likes It Ice Cream. Now sure, Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs are closer, and Baskin-Robbins are practically ubiquitous in this neighborhood (Hamilton Heights – Broadway and 151st), but why would I want to give my money to a national chain rather than setting it free here in Harlem?
So, I set off into the heart of Harlem at about 8 o’clock. I know, you’re thinking, “Umm, Joe?” Really, though, Harlem is not the place it once had the reputation of. There are people out all over the place here. As I did in Chicago, I assess the safety of a neighborhood by the number of people who appear to be more vulnerable than I am, and I saw a lot of them along the length of my walk. I did have some doubt, based on the website, whether Mikey Likes It (you get the reference, right?) was a wholesale or retail establishment. Thank you Google Street View for the heads up: retail; so I headed out.
The picture of the place is here (you can even see someone standing behind the counter), but WordPress does not support the file type.
As I walked, I came across a few street names which don’t conform to the Manhattan standard streets and avenues: Amsterdam and Convent, in particular, but I spent the most time on Saint Nicholas Avenue, and began wondering why old St Nick had his own street in Manhattan when so few other streets are named after people, and the ones that are (Frederick Douglass Blvd, Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, and Malcolm X Blvd) are relatively recent (except for Lenox Ave 1887). I mean, people know more about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln than they do about St Nicholas, but he got his own street. Turns out (I had forgotten this) that jolly old St Nick was Dutch, and they did a whole lot of stuff around here back when this island was young.
I crossed the street toward the shop and was thinking of making a joke about how the ice cream had better be good because I had just walked 3,325 steps to get here. Instead, I looked at the flavor menu and did a private “Uh oh”. As I read up from the bottom of the list (because the bottom was at eye level) I noticed that one flavor after the next had some sort of baked good swirled in: brownies, cookies, cheesecake, you get the idea. A year ago, I’d have had my pick of flavors, but now, due to a recently uncovered gluten allergy, those flavors are a no go. Even the small amount of wheat in them will set off my allergy, leaving me weak and achy for a several days. Even though the ingredient list on the Truffle Shuffle (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and chocolate covered mini marshmallows) seemed safe, I asked (I do that now), but it was not safe for some reason. Finally I reached the top of the list: Triple Vanilla. That one was safe. And creamy and subtle and delicious.
So, I’m getting the lay of the land (literally, actually), and it’s shaping up to be a great summer.