Mister Softee Truck

New York City Woman Crusades Against Ice Cream Truck Jingle

The Upper West Side native bought her Harlem apartment this spring and now wants Mister Softee bounced from her block
Mister Softee Truck

One woman has repeatedly called the police to complain about hearing the brand's signature tune.


Many New Yorkers consider the jingle of an ice cream truck a fundamental part of the summertime soundscape, but one new Harlem resident has launched a crusade to drive Mister Softee off of her block, a move criticized by others in the neighborhood, Gothamist reported.

The woman, who declined to give her full name to Gothamist for fear of alienating herself from her neighbors, bought an apartment near Central Park this spring and now insists that the iconic Mister Softee jingle has ruined the peace and quiet of her neighborhood. The woman has made repeated calls to police, emailed the mayor, and even reached out to the area’s congressional representative.

Many neighbors told Gothamist they considered the ice cream truck a normal part of summer in the neighborhood, and suggested that the woman’s fury over the ice cream jingle simply shows that newcomers’ priorities often don’t match those of longtime residents. One neighbor put it succinctly: “They need to go somewhere else if they don’t like it.”

The reaction on Twitter has been similarly unsympathetic, with some users likening this story to another presumed gentrifier’s 2016 Yelp freakout over a bodega cat in peaceful repose:

New York City’s noise ordinance prohibits ice cream trucks from playing their jingles after 10 p.m. or while parked. But noise hasn’t been the only source of conflict for Mister Softee — last summer witnessed a budding Midtown turf war between Mister Softee and a rival, the New York Ice Cream Company (which once labeled its trucks “Master Softee” before losing a lawsuit).

The trucks' look and color scheme are so well-recognized that they formed part of the basis for the lawsuit. 

And far from considering it a nuisance, many feel a nostalgic appreciation for the dulcet tones of the brand's signature melody — the tune has moved at least one Instagram user to dance:


While Mister Softee holds to some longstanding traditions, other ice cream trucks take a more creative tack — earlier this summer, we highlighted America’s 13 Wildest and Weirdest Ice Cream Trucks.