With New York City’s early summer heat in full effect I took a trip to Rockaway Beach yesterday afternoon. I haven’t been to Rockaway since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but could no longer resist the pull of cooling, restorative sea air. Plus the bus ride down Woodhaven Boulevard, which turns into Cross Bay Boulevard as it enters Howard Beach—land of Lenny’s Clam Bar and New Park Pizza—is one of the most pleasant in Queens. By the time the Q53 hits the Cross Bay Bridge with the vista of Jamaica Bay spread out on either side I feel as if I am en route to a minivacation. The trek to what some have called the Irish Riviera always ends in the same way: A stop at DiCosmo’s Italian Ice before boarding the bus back to civilization.
The DiCosmo family has been making Italian ice since 1915 and it shows. Fluffy of texture and tasting of the very essence of fruit it’s like no other Italian ice. Yesterday I parted the waters of the line for Rockaway Taco and stepped up to the platform in front of the ice shack on Beach 96 St. (One time last year I waited on the taco line for 20 minutes only to realize there’s no line for the ices.) I tried a sample of avocado sorbet, but ultimately went with my favorite, ruby grapefruit studded with bits of pulp. The pinkish ice is as refreshing as a dip in the nearby ocean. When I asked John DiCosmo how many grapefruits he squeezes to make the ice he said he didn’t know, but did reveal one of the secrets behind this amazing ice: “I make it fresh every morning.”
DiCosmo’s Italian Ice, Beach 96th St. and Rockaway Beach Blvd.,Rockaway