Forest Hills is one of those neighborhoods in New York City that doesn't really look like New York City. With Tudor and colonial-style housing, and stretches of the neighborhood resembling a platonic ideal of Main Street, U.S.A., it is exactly the kind of place you'd expect to find an old school ice cream parlor. Enter: Eddie's Sweet Shop, a beloved local ice cream parlor that has been around for almost half a century, after it took over the space from another ice cream parlor that opened in 1909!
Previously known as Witt's Ice Cream Parlor, Guiseppe Citrano purchased the establishment in 1968, renaming it after a person that did not exist in his life: "Eddie." Citrano says he made this decision because he did not want criticism of the ice cream parlor to be directed at a real person, making him one of the first people in recorded history to be terrified of commenters.
The interior of Eddie's Sweet Shop is a startling throwback to a bygone era, with most of the decor and signage remaining exactly how it was 50 years ago, if not longer. Current owner Vito Citrano (Giuseppe's son) maintained that doing so is a lot of work because "they don't make these things anymore."
And then there's that glorious ice cream. Virtually everything is made on the premises—including the hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, strawberry syrup, coffee syrup, and whipped cream—all with only fresh ingredients, which are then shaped into scrumptious classic concoctions likes ice cream sodas, sundaes, and banana splits (Citrano places a weekly order of 40 lbs of bananas). They offer around 20 flavors, all names you'd recognize on a menu from a half century ago: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, coffee, and rum raisin (real rum is used!).
The neighborhood—which has experienced an influx of newcomers with the recently revived Forest Hills Stadium—has been the hometown to a staggering list of notable New Yorkers, including The Ramones, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Burt Bacharach, and Donald Trump (though born in nearby Jamaica Estates, Trump attended the Kew-Forest School).
We assumed pretty much all of those aforementioned natives must have hung out at Eddie's while teenagers, though when we asked Citrano if Trump ever dumped an ice cream soda on Paul Simon's head, he demurred: "We don't really mention those great people that come in here. We like them to come in as regular people. As you can see we really don't put up their pictures." We don't think we've ever been to a pizza place that did NOT have an autographed photo of Jerry Orbach taken with the owner, so we admire Citrano's tact. After all, treating celebrities like regular people is the true New York way.
Eddie's Sweet Shop is located at 105-29 Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens.