With the weather getting warmer, lots of people are screaming for ice cream – but apparently, in one local town, some are screaming about the songs played by ice cream trucks.
In Union City on May 27, Chief of Police Charles Everett sent a memo to the media noting that local residents have complained about the level of noise emanating from the ice cream trucks in the city. The memo stated, “Music/audio must always be kept at a reasonable level. All music must be shut off no later than two minutes after parking. Music shall not be played after 8:30 p.m.”
“During the past few weeks,” explained city spokesman Mark Albiez on Thursday, “the city has received approximately 10 complaints regarding ice cream truck noise.”
‘The music from the trucks is a traditional thing.’— Duilio Poggi
Across the river in New York City, the government’s public information page says that residents may call the complaint line, 311, to report ice cream truck noise. “The City accepts complaints about ice cream trucks that play music while parked,” the page reads. “Investigations are most successful when you provide details about the problem, including the truck's license number, vendor name, and days and times that the noise occurs.”
So are residents really annoyed by these cool tunes?
The people speak
“Trucks will play [songs] while they are driving, but they stop once they park,” said Sonia Figueroa, a West New York resident, last week. “But you hear the refrigerator noise when they park by my driveway.”
She added, “You can [definitely] find them everywhere, but their prices are too high so I prefer to go to a local store. The prices of the trucks up at the 80th Street park have more variety and are less expensive.”
She said that when it comes to ice cream flavors, she favors chocolate.
Steven Chiriboga of West New York said he enjoys slush drinks.
“Some items of previous menus are not available anymore, but different trucks tend to sell different items,” he said. “I don’t [mind] the ice cream truck music, but I wish the slushes were sweeter.”
“I like the trucks being available. [There are] not too many ice cream trucks in West New York, so the trucks are convenient for the people,” said Duilio Poggi of Cliffside Park, a former West New York resident who enjoys chocolate ice cream. “The music from the trucks is a traditional thing, so it is expected and gives meaning to the ice cream experience.”
“I don’t see them as much as I used to, but they are a treat for the kids,” said Nicolas McCurry of Weehawken, who enjoys the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. “A friend of mine does live by a park on 23rd Street and Palisade, and the noise from the trucks can get annoying sometimes.”
“I love how you can conveniently get a cone with sprinkles at your doorstep rather than having to walk to a store, but I dislike the lack of variety,” said Christian Santos of West New York, who prefers vanilla ice cream. “The prices have gone up but I don’t think they are unbearable.”
He also said he doesn’t mind the music.
“I like the different kinds of popsicles, cones, and shakes the trucks have,” said Miluska Aguinaga of Union City who favors strawberry ice cream. “The music is a bit annoying because it starts at random times, but it’s the only way you know they are around, so I’ve gotten use to it.”
“The noise is not annoying, but the idling vehicles are of concern because of the fumes from the truck,” said Sibel Berberoglu of West New York, who enjoys Coffee ice cream.
Union City resident Jose Gonzalez is not annoyed by the music from the ice cream trucks but is annoyed by the late night noise from local people leaving late-night clubs and bars.
Ice cream truck drivers in both towns declined to comment for this story.
Santo Sanabria may be reached at SSanabria@hudsonreporter.com.