Skip Giacco, co-owner of Lickety Split and president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce, describes his neighborhood as “the anti-Brooklyn.” He means it in every respect, calling attention to the tiny island’s small-town architecture, relative seclusion from the greater Bronx, complete lack of trendy restaurants, and neighborhood leaders who are wary of developers turning their entire waterfront into a carbon copy of Williamsburg.

Giacco and his wife Louise are Bronx natives who had planned on retiring in Florida but moved back to New York for two reasons: Mr. Giacco was afflicted with a visual impairment that prevented him from driving, and both of them found the retirement lifestyle boring. Almost immediately upon their move to City Island, they noticed an out-of-business ice cream parlor just around the corner from their home, realized that there were no other ice cream parlors around, and decided to make this run-down storefront their stake in the neighborhood. 

True to the words “anti-Brooklyn,” Lickety Split doesn’t make its own products. A generous scoop of ice cream costs $2.50, high school students who live within walking distance of the shop work the counter, and all of the effort that could go into a craft product instead goes towards creating a place that preserves the childlike feeling of eating an ice cream cone.

According to the Giaccos, this emphasis is not just about decor, and it’s not about nostalgia that papers over the realities of life. Their goal is to offer people of all backgrounds a reprieve from the hustle of city life, a place to sit with their kids that will actually have room for them to sit, and a visual setting that reminds them that ice cream is possibly the best excuse one can have to take a break from whatever life may be throwing at them on a hot summer day.

Words by James Boo, photos by Donnelly Marks

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