The Frozen Turf Wars Continue: Rogue Ice Cream Man Attacks Pretzel Vendor With Baseball Bat

The competition for street vendor spots has turned violent: New York Ice Cream Company employee assaulted a pretzel vendor
Who knew that a summer treat could be so dangerous?


Who knew that a summer treat could be so dangerous?

During a hot summer in the city, nothing is taken quite as seriously as ice cream. We reported last week that a new renegade ice cream truck — run by former Mister Softee employees — is encroaching on Mister Softee’s previously undisputed curbside territory, and bullying its employees. But now, that unfriendly competition has turned violent. Last week, an ice cream man working for the New York Ice Cream Co., was arrested for felony assault after he attacked a nearby pretzel vendor with a baseball bat.

This may sound like a Saturday Night Live parody of a classic gangster movie, but it’s the reality of “life on the street” for the two bitter cone rivals, according to Jim Conway, vice president of Mister Softee.

According to court records, John Cicero, 40, drove his ice cream truck to his “favorite spot” on 54th Street several weeks ago when he found a pretzel vendor already parked there. The altercation got physical and eventually Cicero grabbed a baseball bat from the back of his truck and attacked his rival. Ice cream vendors typically keep baseball bats and other such weapons in their trucks for self-defense and prime real estate “haggling,” according to The New York Times.


A witness got the bat away from Cicero, and he then apparently pulled a knife and fled in his purple-and-white getaway vehicle, presumably without the cheery music playing. He was arrested several weeks later.