Ice cream spies? 'Mafia Turf War' breaks out between rival New York City ice cream trucks

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Tuesday May 30th, 2017

Mister Softee is a familiar presence on the streets of New York City. It’s a comforting tradition in the summer months, known for it’s super-creamy goodness and lines that can sometimes stretch an entire block; when you hear that song outside your bedroom window, you know to you have to run outside before the truck passes you by. One thing we bet you didn’t know Mister Softee ice cream? The company has a dark side.

According to a report from the New York Post, Mister Softee is still embroiled in a battle for street space with their biggest rival in the ice cream business, New York Ice Cream. They’ve recently gone so far as to hire a team of private investigators to spy on the other company. One such investigator likened the rivalry to a “Mafia turf war.’’

Darrin Giglio, chief investigator of North American Investigations, which was hired by Mister Softee, told the Post that he and at least five other private detectives are working on the case, a mission which has turned violent at least once, when one of the detectives was “threatened with metal pipes.”

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“[New York Ice Cream workers] tried to grab cameras, came out with pipes. Of course, it didn’t work — my guys are former detectives,” Giglio said.

What exactly are Giglio and his team investigating? They keep tabs on New York Ice Cream to make sure their trucks aren’t luring in customers by pretending to be Mister Softee, either by playing their signature jingle or lifting their iconic mascot “Conehead”, both of which New York Ice Cream has tried to pull before.

Apparently, the two companies began feuding in 2013, when New York Ice Cream tried to open up shop as Master Softee, using a nearly identical logo on their trucks. A judge put an end to their copy-cat antics in 2016, but now New York Ice Cream is creeping back into Mister Softee’s Midtown territory.

Mister Softee still retains the largest amount of ice cream truck permits in the city, and with that all-important name recognition, their reign as the dominant slinger of sweet summer time treats is probably no where near over.

And since no one has ended up hurt just yet, the saga of the feuding ice cream vendors still makes for some entertaining New York City lore.

It's at least something to keep in mind next time you’re waiting in line for a cherry-dipped vanilla cone: Your ice cream isn’t as innocent as you think.

This story originally appeared on foodandwine.com.

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