19 August 2011

The Lemon Ice King of Corona

The business with the coolest name in New York must be the Lemon Ice King of Corona.

This corner stand (they hand out the ice, you can't go in) has been on a fixture in Corona since 1944. It was founded by the Benfaremo family, and that clan still owns it. The farm-to-table and craft cocktail movements have got nothing on this joint. The Benfaremos have been squeezing fresh lemons and using fresh fruit since forever.

Lemon is obviously king here; I personally see no reason to order any other flavor, it's so good. But, just in case, the King offers dozens of other types of ice, in small, medium, large or super sizes. Don't be a wuss and ask for a spoon. And DON'T ask them to mix ices! Don't you see the sign?! (What an ice "exchange" is, I don't want to know.)

Their lemon ice is without a doubt the best I've ever had. The prices are cheap and the counter boys are very friendly, like lads you'd find at a summer-only ice cream stand in rural Iowa. And few businesses in New York City have given me as strong a feeling of what living in New York must have been like 50 years ago than this place. It's a beacon of good feeling and community.


Grampa said...

Having lived in new York 50 years ago, 66 years ago, and now, and having visited the lemon Ice king only recently, I completely agree with you! But damn, you've made me suddenly crave one: a nice big lemon one. Slurp.

Jill said...

My grandparents would take me here when I was a kid as a very special event. And lemon was the only flavor anybody ever ordered. With the proliferation of ices, it might not seem so special now, but back then, the only other choice was Marino's at the pizza place, which was also pretty satisfying.

I am hoping that with the next post you stop in Parkside across the street, featuring the Marilyn Monroe room.