Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ice Cream Dojo

When I posted the video to "In the Evening," with a momentary shot in front of the lost Dojo restaurant of St. Mark's Place, I made mention of the fact that Dojo's had once been an ice-cream shop that sold treats with drug names. Bowery Boy commented, revealing the name of the place: "Ice Cream Connection. I have the original menu board on my kitchen wall." He shares a shot of the menu:

Sadly, none of the drug-name flavors are on the board, but they did exist. Signed D.C., blogger from It's All the Streets You Crossed, let us know that "Gael Greene wrote about that ice cream shop in a 1970 New York magazine article."

In that article, reproduced on Insatiable Critic, Greene reported: "Stoned and sober they flock to The Ice Cream Connection, 24 St. Marks Place, for a butterfat high on soothing, digestible goat's milk ice cream, sweetened with organic honey, 35 cents a scoop... Leslie Margulies, second-generation Coney Island, struggles to keep goat's milk ice cream in stock." Flavors included "Acapulco Gold—peach studded with 'hash' (flaked chocolate)—and Panama Red—'hash'..."

The macrobiotic Margulies told Greene, "Ice cream is a pleasant world. People don't walk in all uptight the way they do going to buy a $200 Cardin suit." As for the flavor, Greene said, "How does goat's milk ice cream taste? I tried peach. The first taste is peach. The second taste is goat."

Allen Ginsberg also ate the ice cream there.

In an email exchange, Bowery Boy gave us the scoop on how Ice Cream Connection became Dojo. The owners of Dojo, Barbara and Tadao, bought the Ice Cream Connection during a chilly time of year when ice cream--goat's milk or otherwise--wasn't selling. So they started offering miso soup and soy burgers. The ice cream vanished, the miso and soy stayed. Dojo was born.

This 1974 Voice story tells the tale of the expansion to soy burgers from what sounds like the East Village's first "artisanal" ice cream shop:

Scrap lumber from the ice-cream shop later went into remodeling the owner's Bowery bathroom. Years later, when Bowery Boy moved in, he unearthed a wooden step from that bathroom and discovered the Ice Cream Connection's menu.

from Yelp

The ice cream shop is gone. The Dojo is gone. The kitchen wall where the ice cream menu currently hangs is about to vanish, too. It's in 206 Bowery, the last surviving Federal rowhouse on the Bowery, dating back to 1818. It's set to be demolished--and its occupants (including our reader Bowery Boy) evicted before Christmas. Write to Landmarks and ask them to save this building--for its residents and for the Bowery--before it turns to dust to make room for another luxury glass box.


JM said...

Apropos of 206 Bowery facing the wrecking ball...I was listening to Bloomberg radio just now and they're tag line seems to be, "Bloomberg radio: There's simply no alternative."

That tells you as much as you need to know about the man, his approach to the city, and his attitude toward those with a different point of view.

Wadjet Eye said...

I used to go to the Dojo's on St. Mark's *all the time*, then one day I walked over there and poof - it was gone. Although it did enable me to discover Je Bon across the street, which I go to at least once or twice a week.

Fortunately there's still a Dojo's on 4th and Mercer.

Anonymous said...

When I moved onto St. Marks in 1977, there was Panama Red and Alcapulco Gold Ice Cream there. Also, there were about 4-5 record stores, a number of thrift stores, at least 3 haircutting places - Paul MacGregor's anyone? - and 2 bookstores. And everything was set back about 4 feet from where it is now.

I always thought the food at Dojo sucked, but it was sort of a part of macrobiotic-y places - the Cauldron on Sixth St & another on 9th - that served much brown food. Angelicka's used to be on St. Marks b/t 1 & 2 if memory serves.

Ken Mac said...

angelika's still there, or in the hood

Anonymous said...

Wow. way to have a memory "anonymous 10:23"!
I was trying to remember the name of that place on 6th street just the other day (I remember it's in the movie "Joe")

I totally forgot "Angelica" used to be on St. Marks. It was where "Porto Rico" is now.