It's a rare thrill to spot the Island Beverage seltzer truck. In NY Press, Joshua Bernstein described the sight, "as if a wormhole had opened, allowing the past to intersect with the present." With its wooden cases of rattling siphon bottles strapped to the sides, it looks and sounds like a lost member of a gypsy caravan.
Recently, it turned up at 9th St. and 4th Ave. in Park Slope.
In this case, the gypsy is Ronny Beberman, described by Corey Kilgannon in the Times as driver of "the last real seltzer truck in New York, a wooden-slatted affair with crooked racks and side doors that are stuck open--the easier to strap the worn wooden cases to the side."
The other, well-known New York seltzer man, Walter Backerman, used to drive a similar truck. He updated to a step van some time ago, and recently opted for an even newer model.
These old trucks can be perilous. Beberman fell off his earlier this year while reaching for a case of cream soda at the top, and was out of commission for some time, sending his Brooklyn customers into fits brought on by seltzer deprivation. After five days in the hospital and some time recuperating at home, Ronny got back on the horse last month and resumed his route. It's good to see him back in business.
Ride along with Ronny on NY1