While aggravated Brooklyn residents near McCarren Park have launched an organized campaign against the insipid jingles incessantly blaring from parked ice cream trucks, parents in other parts of the borough are taking aim at Mister Softee not for how he sounds but for what he sells to their children. Well, two parents anyway; a Bensonhurst mom tells the Daily News she takes her 7-year-old daugher to Seth Low Park for exercise, but an ice cream truck parked there is tearing her family apart: "I’ve had fights with my daughter in the past about it. You kind of feel like it’s pushed on you. It’s one thing if they’re just in the neighborhood, but to be here by contract [with the city], they might as well be selling drugs." (They've been known to do that too!)
And a second mom in Carroll Gardens tells the News that a truck regularly parked between PS 58 and the playground is a constant source of tension: "You’re a trapped audience. It’s hard to say no to your kids." That particular Mister Softee operator leases the prime popsicle-pushing spot from the Parks Department for $6,500 a year. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz—who once proposed school report cards grading children by weight—thinks that should change; he says the Parks Department shouldn't be in the business of profiting from these sugar peddlers: "If they are not providing different choices and alternatives for our kids, then they do not belong there [outside parks and schools]."
One truck driver who makes them scream for ice cream near the PS 52 playground in Sheepshead Bay says he's not holding a gun to customers' heads and forcing soft serve down their throats: "We're not pushing anybody to eat ice cream. As a parent, you have to know how to say no." And the manager of the Mister Softee depot in Brooklyn insists that all his trucks now display the calorie counts for each item. It's been ages since we've purchased a frozen dessert product from Mister Softee; has anyone noticed the calorie info on their trucks?