This week's forecast calls for stormy weather and temperatures in the mid-80s and, quite frankly, we couldn't be happier. Because anything would be an improvement from the epic week of stifling heat we just endured.
And yet endure we did, thanks in no small part to Neesa Peterson and her obsession with sno-balls. And her Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Ball stand.
But first, a quick education: A sno-ball is also called shave ice (not "shaved ice"), but shave ice is not a snow cone. Snow cones are piles of crushed ice. Shave ice is actually shaved from a giant ice block, often using a special machine that was invented in Louisiana. These very fine shavings of ice absorb syrup better than chunks in a snow cone.
Neesa Peterson knows this distinction well thanks to a childhood spent in New Orleans, where she spent a disproportionate amount of time cultivating her palate for ice flakes and syrup. All grown up and out of college, she moved to NYC to dabble in the fashion industry, as so many tend to do. After surviving four brutal summers in the Big City she realized that, as culinary as this town is, New Yorkers were missing out on one essential summertime survival tool. A good sno-ball.
Neesa went to work putting together her menu of 80+ flavors that range from the super sweet (classic raspberry) to a slightly less sugary collection of creamy flavors like almond cream and coconut. She also has a handful of more natural, seasonal flavors like Meyer-Lemon Basil, Watermelon Jalapeno, and Lychee; and toppings like sweet condensed milk and marshmallow cream to add to the mix.
Tucked into a 60-square-foot stall on Gansevoort Street in the West Village, for the third summer in a row Neesa and her sno-balls are relieving New Yorkers from the stifling heat one carry-out box filled with shave ice at a time. And with enough flavors and permutations to last until the next epic mercury spike (you can add any two flavors together for free), we might just make it to fall.
This article was written for the Scoutmob NY daily newsletter