New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trucks and Things

We would prefer to believe that the stuff in our lives is magically transported to store shelves. Or perhaps a more romantic vision would be delivery via a Santa-like character direct to our homes. But the reality is that every consumer good whether it be food, clothing or lumber makes all or some of its journey to us by truck. Yet this fact seems to be ignored or at best seen as a necessary evil. The vital role trucking provides still has done nothing to enamor them. They are seen as a blight, cursed on highways and city streets as noisy, dirty, the cause of congestion and an impediment to our travel. Drivers are seen as an integral part of these evil boxes on wheels so the image of the truck driver is no better.
How to repair the image of the truck? Convert them into a dessert or ice cream delivery vehicle. We now have the Dessert Truck, the Treat Truck, Waffles and Dinges and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream running around town.
I love the convenience of street food vendors. The problem is that there are few quality operations out there - I keep a sharp eye out for them but the good ones are scarce as hen's teeth and are no secret. Discovery is rapid and long lines become the rule. I wrote of NY Dosas in 2007. Lines at his food cart can be enormous. The same applies to Calexico in SoHo. And Speedy Gonzalez has disappeared.
Now we have trucks bringing us confections. I recently wrote of the Dessert Truck run by a gourmet chef whose vision was to bring desserts to the streets which are of the quality found in the finest French restaurants. And he has succeeded - see the story here.
Brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen now bring Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream to the streets of the Village, SoHo and the Upper West Side in redesigned ice cream trucks. They meticulously craft their ice cream, sourcing ingredients from around the planet to produce their 10 flavors. Pistachio nuts from Mt. Etna, Michel Cluizel chocolate from France and vanilla beans from Tahitian vanilla orchids grown in Papua New Guinea. Everything about this business shows attention to details - business cards, colors, graphics and product. They also share an environmental commitment and use disposable goods from renewable sources.
Now, what was it I didn't like about trucks? :)


the mountain king said...

Street vendors are amazing. I don't care what anyone says, I work near Grand Central, and chicken and lamb for $5, sometimes including a drink, is fantastic. Sure, afterward I slightly regret doing it, but I only do it once a month.

Chicken, lamb, some weird sauce, over rice, lettuce, a tomato, and some french fries tossed on top? Somehow it works.

Wayne said...

It took us forever to get hot dog carts on the corners downtown when NYC had had them for eons.

We don't see the converted vans parked at the curb. Except craft services trucks for movie locations. You can hardly walk out the door without seeing one of those.

Another interesting post Brian.

• Eliane • said...

I have seen these guys around, in front of Fairways to be exact. They came conveniently replacing the Waffles and dinges truck when the weather turned hot. I haven't tried their products yet but just by passing by, it looks like they are selling good products. Except that you have now revealed that they are using French chocolate, which is simply imcomprehensible to this Belgian gal. ;)

Bergson said...

A salesman who waits at night beautiful shot

New Trucks said...

Now that’s a great shot, and a reminder of how lonely a truck drivers life can be.

Used Cars Australia said...

I like eating at truck vendors and a lot of other mobile services (aside from the 5th wheel) that they make. There are mobile food vendors, pet parlor and more. Its just convenient to have them around and my favorite would be, ice cream truck

bingeandpurr said...

Nice shot. Just found your blog. Really like it.

Hino Trucks said...

Nice blog! I love food vendor vans, especially taco vans, any tacos, anywhere, anytime, drooool!