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Do You Remember?

"Carvel Stands of Yesteryear"

(Reprinted from the Bronx Times Reporter of 2-22-2007)

 

Nick DiBrino dropped off a couple of interesting pictures of the old-fashioned Carvel stands that once dotted the nation. This one was at the northeast corner of Bronxdale and Morris Park Avenues. It was built in 1956, the same year that Tom Carvelas, a native of Greece, opened his first ice cream supermarket in Hartsdale.

The large ice cream cone on the roof of the open-air stand is rather distinctive and brings back memories of other such stands. There was one, for instance, at the southwest corner of East Tremont and Philip Avenues where a McDonalds is now located.

Bronxdale & Morris Park Ave. - Carvel

Tom Carvelas moved to New York with his parents in 1910 when he was only four years old. He began selling ice cream from his old truck in 1929 and he was doing just fine but five years later when he got a flat tire, he pulled off on the side of the road and began selling the ice cream right there. It was then that he realized that he could sell just as much ice cream from a stationary location rather than traveling about and he could save gas money in the bargain.

The next year, he began manufacturing equipment to make the ice cream and soon formed his Carvel Corporation. He then jettisoned the truck and bought the building in Hartsdale adjacent to where the truck broke down and started perfecting his “no air pump” and soft serve ice cream formula. That same year, 1936, he offered a “buy one, get one free” sale. Starting in 1947 he introduced his all-glass front stand and began to franchise his Carvel ice cream business. The concept immediately proved successful and in 1949 he established his Carvel College of Ice Cream Knowledge (also known as Sundae School) to train his franchise holders.

He managed to keep up with the times by introducing Lo-Yo frozen yogurt and his Thinny-Thin cones and cups in 1972. He turned the could-be disaster of getting a flat tire with a full load of ice cream into a multi-million dollar business. He sold out in 1989 and passed away a rather content man the following year.

The little ice cream stand that was built on the site of the old hill at Bronxdale and Morris Park Avenues was operated by a former construction worker looking for the American dream. He found it and his business at this location flourished until his lease expired in September of 1974. The building was razed the following month but historian Nick DiBrino had the foresight to capture the scene with this photograph and for that, we are grateful.

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