An Exerpt from the book "Hidden New York"
How do you eat an ice? You pinch the pleated paper cup between your thumb and index finger, feeling the stifled chill seep through. You bolster your bottom lip against the edge of the cup, reach across the , and pull a curl of ice into your mouth to shiver against your teeth. When you're ready for the next bite, push in the bottom of the cup; the ice will glide smoothly up, slightly melted around the edges, ready to be smoothed off the top once again. In between bites, nibble on the edge of the cup, crimping it with your teeth, invoking the Dixie-cup snacktime of school days. Eating an ice is a timeless art, requiring no spoons, no napkins, nothing other than a little dexterity - and, perhaps most important, an appreciation of the ephemeral nature of life's simplest joys.
THE KING'S COURT
Peter Benfaremo, the Lemon Ice King of Corona, Queens, knows all about fleeting pleasures. "You're here today, you don't know whether you're going to live or die. Who knows? See, I'm always ready for my Maker. You have to step back a little, take a look,. You;ll see that there are things going on today that you can't fathom. That's philosophy, you know. I'm not a philosopher." Of course, you don't get to be the Lemon Ice King juyst by making ices. You have to posess a certain savior faire to wear the crown - even if your crown is a worn cotton cap and your palace is a glassed in corner shop in Queens, nestled between an Italian pork store and the Classic Dental Spa, "Emergencies welcome" scripted on its awning.
For years, customer have been enjoying their ices in William F. Moore Park, just across the street from the corona shop, which boasts, along with the requisite benches, a 9/11 memorial plaque, and struggling tress, an authentic boccie court. On summer days, bystanders can observe the local Italian men playing boccie, keeping score with pins on a wooden board painted red, white, and green. During the winter, drifts of dead leaves collect in the corners of the court, and a radio in the adjacent garden shack blasts Christmas music from a local station. The court is festooned with paper lanterns, and a set of shiny grills has been set up nearby; Pete says the locals host barbecues there. A nearby tree bears a cross and an ever-changing array of testimonials to the neighborhood's latest dearly departed. Men hunch over the chess tables, savoring sandwiches from thesalumeria across the street (the sign boasts a king of its own: the King of Italian Specialties). Indeed, saturated in a memory-making Corona flavor of food and fun, William F. Moore Park has become a requisite part of the lemon-ice-eating experience.
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Check out Pete Benfaremo in the "People's Hall Of Fame!"