Big Gay Ice Cream comes to FiDi


seaport district

Barbara Rucci

The Financial District just got a bit sweeter as it celebrates the opening of a new ice cream shop. Big Gay Ice Cream’s South Street Seaport location opened its doors on Thursday, Oct. 25. New Yorkers have raved about the Big Gay flavors, creativity, and overall aesthetic for as long as the stores in the West Village and East Village have been running.

In 2009, Big Gay Ice Cream started up in a seasonal food truck run by fellow New Yorkers, Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint. By driving around and selling their ice cream, Petroff and Quint gained an immense amount of publicity—so much so that it resulted in the opening of a permanent location two years later in Manhattan. The East Village store opened in 2011 and the West Village followed suit just a year later, in 2012.

A few of their notable flavors include “Dorothy,” “American Globs,” and “Salty Pimp.” The titles of the flavors are enough to draw customers in, and this was no mistake on the end of Petroff and Quint. Their flavors were created with the knowledge that “people liked to order things by name.” In fact, their flavor, “Bea Arthur,” was inspired by an idea posted on the Big Gay Ice Cream Twitter account (@biggayicecream).

Big Gay Ice Cream truck
Big Gay Ice Cream truck

When the founders were formulating menu items, they sent out a photo via Twitter of the Nilla Wafer and Dulce de leche ice cream in a cone and asked if anyone wanted to name this flavor. Someone replied, stating, “The Golden Girl.” Petroff narrowed it down by naming it after Golden Girl, actress Bea Arthur, because she had recently left over a quarter of a million dollars in her will to The Ali Forney Center, an LGBTQA+ homeless shelter for teens. Not only does Big Gay Ice Cream work to invent incredible ice cream flavors, but they also use their influence to support the LGBTQA+ community.

University junior Gabby Boone states, “In terms of inspiration, the fact that an ice cream truck went to a brick-and-mortar in New York City is extremely expensive and shows the type of success you can get when you work hard and use your resources wisely.”

Prior to this South Street Seaport shop, Big Gay Ice Cream has parked a truck near Seaport over the past couple of summers to see how well business would do. Boone continues, “The location is really convenient and central. They are doing a lot of building in that area, and since the West Village location has become crowded over the years, it will be nice to have a location that is a little more laid back.” The South Street Seaport is still re-building after the damage from Hurricane Sandy, so the new businesses are receiving plenty of attention from those who frequent the Seaport area.

To place a cherry on top of Big Gay Ice Cream’s success, Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint have written their very own book. Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream was released in 2015. The cookbook not only provides Big Gay recipes, but also highlights the accomplishments of the two proud founders of the company.

It is inspiring to learn how Petroff and Quint built Big Gay Ice Cream into the empowering business that it is, as it began as a humble ice cream truck. Fans of this ice cream will always be fascinated with where they will bloom next, and we can only hope for more Big Gay Ice Cream shops in New York City. University students have the delicious advantage of watching Big Gay Ice Cream’s success only steps away from campus.