Back in the day, Carvel ice cream stores were a common sight in almost every neighborhood in NYC. One of my first memories as a child growing up on the hard streets of the city was being able to buy a soft-serve vanilla cone for 25 cents (imagine my shock when the price jumped to 35 cents around my 11th birthday). Around the late 1980's, the Carvel franchise started to shrink as store after store closed down forever. Although Carvel enjoyed a brief resurgence around the mid-1990's, even that collapsed as well, and now we're only left with a few holdouts, like the one pictured above, and the factory-made ice cream cakes one can buy at most supermarkets.
It's a shame that all good things inevitably come to pass. But just as with people, the old generation must make way for the new generation. Let's see if the Cold Stone Creamery, which aspires to be the Starbucks of the ice cream world, will be the next generation to supplant Carvel. With the Starbucks-like prices CSC charges, I tend to doubt it, but then again, who would ever have imagined that anyone would pay premium prices -- daily, mind you -- for a few cents worth of coffee beans? As the French would say: on verra!
Corner of Church Avenue and E. 2nd St., Kensington, Brooklyn, NY.