The Lemon Ice King of Corona
Weekends during the spring and summer are crowded in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. You can tell how bad the crowds are when you pull off the highway and every inch of available parking and then some is taken up on 111th Street. Keep in mind that a minority of people arrive by car too. When you get there on the 7 train and look down 111th Street towards the park you can see a sea of humanity clogging the sidewalks and moving toward the park.
Still, despite the crowds, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is not a bad place. It can be crowded, for sure, but you can still have a pleasant stroll through it on a busy Sunday.
This past Sunday the wife and I went to the Queens Zoo to visit with my friend Jay Levitz and his wife and infant son. Jay is an awesome musician and plays lead guitar for Endangered Feces, one of my favorite bands of all time. Small world: ace punk rock drummer Chris Ara, freshly graduated from the New York Fire Academy, was also in the park that day and it was cool to offer my congratulations to him in person.
After the walk through the zoo with children, we were tired, and my wife thought it would be nice to stop by the Lemon Ice King of Corona on the way home. It was a great idea.
This modest ice store is an essential place to go during the warmer months.
The Corona neighborhood is dominated by Hispanic immigrants from a multitude of Spanish-speaking countries. That brings with it teeming crowds, obnoxious music and bad traffic with worse drivers but it also comes with some awesome food street vendors. Walking down 111th Street you can encounter some delicious empanadas or roasted corn on the cob that’s out of this world.
The celebrated lemon ice store—it is officially named Benfaremo – The Lemon Ice King of Corona—is on 108th Street and the 111th Street stop on the 7 train is the best way to get there via public transit.
The Lemon Ice King of Corona offers flavored ice. Would you like to have some ice cream or a shake too? Too bad. The Lemon Ice King has a lot of flavors to choose from (but won’t mix them).
My wife went and stood in line while I found a place to temporarily park the truck and wait. Our babies were sleeping after a long day at the zoo (a long day for a 15-month-old can be about two hours when you let them walk most of the way). The line was long but moved quickly and my wife soon returned with our ices. I went with the classic lemon flavor and my wife had strawberry banana that had pieces of real strawberry in it. Our babies got nothing; you snooze, you lose, girls.
I ate my first lemon ice of the year sitting in my truck parked in front of a fire hydrant. I powered through the large lemon ice, pausing only to wait out some brain freeze. It felt like I was starting the New York summer on the right foot.
One place I feel I should mention is Uncle Louie G, which operates a chain of stores in the five boroughs and Long Island. They have some of the best ices you’ll ever eat as well, but they also have regular ice cream.
Either way, it is going to be a long, hot summer (it always is in New York City), so don’t forget to treat yourself to a refreshing ice.