Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day on Main Street
Palisades Avenue in Englewood, NJ, is one of the principal streets in my study of Main Streets. I am there a couple of times a week, and I was really glad I was scheduled to be there today when a student of mine pointed out that it was free cone day. Few events make people happier than free cone day. My granddaughter Lily went with her Spanish class after learning to say "Podemos ir a Ben and Jerry's por el dia de helado gratis?" She said that Ben and Jerry's in Hoboken, where she goes to school, had lots of happy people, including some high school seniors who were making repeat visits. In Englewood there was a great crowd. Palisades Avenue bears the patterns of old segregation, with people of color to the west, and white people to the east. Ben and Jerry's, perhaps this is not surprising, is on the eastern side. But today everybody was there, giggling in anticipation of the free treat. Why should free ice cream cause so much joy? Maybe because it's one of the true signs that spring has come, and maybe this, too, is not surprising. But that it is so pleasant it bends racial strictures must be a credit to those happy Vermont cows.