New Yorkers have seen just about everything, but even they do double takes when one particular ice cream truck rolls by. From member station WFUV, George Bodarky reports.

GEORGE BODARKY: The back and forth at the window of an ice cream truck typically goes something like this.

Mr. DOUG QUINT (Owner, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck): Hello, sir.

Unidentified Man #1: How you doing? Can I have a twist, please?

Mr. QUINT: On a cone?

Unidentified Man #1: Yes.

BODARKY: But every now and then, ice cream man Doug Quint gets asked this question…

Unidentified Man #2: Hey, are you gay?

BODARKY: A lot of people might find that query out of line, but Quint invites it. His ice cream truck has a big sign on the side that reads…

Mr. QUINT: The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

BODARKY: And what makes it the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck? Quint gets that question a lot.

Mr. QUINT: Every day, at least a couple of times. And every time I say I make it gay.

Unidentified Woman: I have all this pressure to find out why you call it the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Mr. QUINT: What do you think?

Ms. VALERIE GOODMAN: I thought it was because either you were gay or happy.

Mr. QUINT: Yes.

Ms. GOODMAN: It could go either way. I figured it's a happy symbol.

Mr. QUINT: If I weren't gay, I wouldn't call it the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. And if I weren't happy, I wouldn't have the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. It would just be the Big Crabby Ice Cream Truck.


BODARKY: Valerie Goodman left without getting any ice cream, but she did snap a picture of the truck's logo: a rainbow-swirl ice cream cone. And she wasn't the only one breaking out a camera.

Ms. GOODMAN: Ready? One, two, three…

BODARKY: Doug Quint's only been in the ice cream business for a few months. He's actually a classically trained bassoonist. The ice cream truck's just a summer gig while most orchestras are on break.

Mr. QUINT: It kind of came about because the idea of a middle-aged gay guy driving an ice cream truck seemed pretty humorous and a little bit suspect to me. I love the idea of what people might be saying, so I thought whatever they might be saying, let's grab it and amplify it times a hundred and label the truck that way. There's going to be no doubt it's the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

BODARKY: Quint says he's gotten a few off-color remarks about his truck, mostly from teenage boys. Otherwise a lot of people just burst out with laughter when they see his sign. Take Willie Delgado…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WILLIE DELGADO: (Unintelligible) people happy, I guess.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DELGADO: I should buy an icy, see if it makes me any happier.

BODARKY: He didn't test that theory, but Drew Riley, who works in the neighborhood, stopped for a cone.

Mr. DREW RILEY: Is the ice cream going to make me gay? I don't know. It would be too late for that.

BODARKY: As for Quint's menu, he says it's sort of metrosexual, with toppings like ground wasabi peas and caramelized bacon. But if you're looking for something more traditional and more in line with the truck's name, you can always order rainbow sprinkles.

For NPR News, I'm George Bodarky in New York.

ZWERDLING: And you can see a photo of Doug Quint and his ice cream truck at the new NPR.org.

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