The way I see it, the Italian ice is right up there in the pantheon of iconic NYC street foods with the slice of pizza, the hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut, and the bag of Nuts 4 Nuts. Usually served in a flimsy paper cup (the better to squeeze out every last melty bit) from a no-frills pushcart, icees, as we called them, were a staple of my daughters' diets growing up on the playgrounds of the Upper West Side. The elder always chose Mango, the younger Rainbow or Coconut.

Ice cream parlors are more exciting to me these days than icee carts—take-home pints from Malai, Caffe Panna, OddFellows, and Ice & Vice were a salvation during the pandemic's darkest hours—but Bronx Ice, a new arrival on the city's Italian ice scene, recently reminded me just how refreshing and lively these frozen treats can be. Made fresh in a fruit warehouse in the borough that gave the stuff its name, Bronx Ice's creations are texturally light and smooth with intense, true flavors from all-natural ingredients (like, obviously, fresh fruit), no high-fructose corn syrup involved.

Bronx Ice was founded by Gene Raphael Miller, a Bronx kid whose borough-boosting was instilled at an early age by his father, who just opened two scoop shops almost simultaneously, at a storefront down near the end of Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, and out of a window on Amsterdam Avenue on the UWS. This wasn't Miller's original plan. "We were all set to debut Bronx Ice at my friend's bar The Dugout across from Yankee Stadium on opening day," he told Gothamist, "and then sell it there during every home game. That obviously didn't happen."

Without that game day revenue coming in, Miller says he had to seek out "the lowest overhead situations we could find" to launch the business, which is why his UWS location has the unenviable optics of operating out of a pest extermination store. Hey, at least it's pest-free! The Greenpoint outpost, despite sitting at the less-bustling end of the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, is a more traditional-looking shop, and Miller was having curbside seating installed when I stopped by recently.

Up until about a couple of years ago Miller's focus was on making movies, not Italian ice, but he comes by the frozen treat business naturally. Miller's mother, he says, was "one of the first five employees of that other famous frozen dessert company from the Bronx, Häagen-Dazs."

Most importantly, he clearly cares about the quality of the product. On my first visit I ate four different flavors, Pina Colada, Strawberry, Pistachio, and Mango, and they were all delicious. In fact, the Bronx Ice Italian ices are probably the best I've ever had.

The flavors at both locations will rotate in and out, but in addition to the four we tried the menus might also include Lemon, Blackberry, Cherry-Lime Rickey, Chocolate, Pink Grapefruit, Orange-Carrot, and/or Coconut. Miller hopes to also be selling his stuff out of bars soon, in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and he has a grand plan to take the Bronx Ice brand national, with outlets in places like West Hollywood, South Florida, Scottsdale, Denver, and "other areas with heavy New York 'expat' populations," he says.

Despite the plan to originally serve Yankees fans, Miller is a Mets fan himself — how does that happen to a kid from the Bronx?

"This is my father's fault," laughs Miller. "He grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, and his whole family loved the Yankees, but there was a new player in Brooklyn wearing number 42 who my father loved, and so Jackie Robinson became his favorite player and the Dodgers his favorite team. When they fled to LA, most Dodger fans switched to the Mets, and so he, and later I, became Mets fans. I also grew up in the late 80s's, one of the only times this town has been a Mets town, and so, yes, I bleed orange and blue."

Bronx Ice is located at 782 Amsterdam Avenue, between 98th and 99th Streets on the Upper West Side, and at 1048 Manhattan Avenue, between Freeman and Eagle Streets in Greenpoint. Hours are still fluctuating, but 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. seems pretty safe; check their instagram account for updates (bronxice.com)