A momentary “pause” in March seems to have become a permanent closing for New York City’s famed Big Gay Ice Cream. NBC New York reports that the East Village location is shuttering permanently due to the pandemic. The location (on 125th East 7th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A) had been previously closed since March due to the pandemic, but residents had started to notice the “For Rent” sign that had suddenly popped up in the previously colorful soft service ice cream shop windows.
Co-founders Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint launched the whimsical Big Gay Ice Cream in 2009 with a Union Square food truck, moving to the East Village storefront in 2011. The opening kicked off with a massive party, which included among other highlights, sorely missed chef Anthony Bourdain (in a priest’s outfit) and New York City drag queen Ari Kiki appearing at the launch. Carrying flavors with names like Mermaid (a key lime pie-style milkshake) and Dorothy (as the website describes it, vanilla ice cream cone injected with dulce de leche, then rolled in ground Nilla wafer cookies.) Expanding the brand throughout New York City and into Philadelphia, Petroff and Quint launched everything from a cookbook to bringing their ice cream to grocery stores all over America. Currently, both the Upper West Side and West Village locations remain open, and Petroff & Quint shared with EVGrieve that there is a possibility that they will open a location in the East Village or the Lower East side in the near future
Petroff & Quint shared a bittersweet message to EVGrieve, saying in part “The batteries have gone a bit dim on that street. The empty storefronts (kept vacant by landlords working tax breaks) that plague the city have settled in. It ain’t what it was. We decided that even if the shop managed to make it through “the COVID thing” it would never truly recover. We need to be able to jam customers in during the summer to make enough money to get us through the off season. That won’t work anymore. Knowing that the usual fall semester student rush won’t be coming this year we have decided to call it. Thank you all for making wonderful memories at our first shop and thank you to the East Village for having us. We’re going to “keep on keeping on” at our other locations and hope to open another East Village or Lower East Side location before too long.
Goodbye East Seventh. So long and thanks for all the calories.”
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