On Friday evening, with a temperature of 18 and a wind chill of four, Richard Cohen, the owner of Sedutto, an ice cream shop on the Upper East Side, said some people actually prefer ice cream when it’s freezing outside. Despite estimating that foot traffic is down about 30 percent during the last few days of extreme cold, he said deliveries are up slightly, since people want to stay indoors.
“When they bring it home, it’s like a comfort food,” he said, referring to his customers, “and if there’s a lot of heat on in the apartments, then it’s just something cold going down.”
Michael Friedlander, the owner of Holey Cream, in Hell’s Kitchen, said on Thursday that as an “after dinner/dessert shop,” his sales are closely tied to the restaurants around him. He orders less ice cream in the winter, and also has donuts and brownies for those who don’t want something cold.
If neighborhood restaurants are doing well, Friedlander does well; if they’re down, he’s down. Business, he says, is dependent on the number of people in the area, so sales tend to be stronger during school breaks and times when tourism is high — even if it’s cold outside. He cited the week of Christmas as an example, one of his best for the year.
On Friday evening, Judy Wong enjoyed a cup of green tea-flavored yogurt, mixed with vanilla and peach, at Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, just a few blocks away from Holey Cream. A graduate law student in town for a job interview and to visit her friend, Wong said it didn’t bother her that the temperature outside was bone chilling. After ramen for dinner, she said she and her friend were in the mood for something cold.
“After you eat something really hot and soupy, it makes you thirsty,” she said. “You kind of want something cold and refreshing.”
Crystal Luna, a store worker, said customers tend to linger and eat their treats inside the shop when it’s warm outside, and in the winter they’ll take the yogurt home. The one thing she said the shop doesn’t have that customers have been asking for? Hot fudge.