Carvel is a New York metro area institution. Founded by Tom Carvel, a few drive-in ice cream stands have morphed into the full-serve "ice cream bakery", featuring cakes, pies, and a miraculous substance called Thinny Thin made of NutraSweet and who knows what. Carvel also does brisk trade in Flying Saucers, ice cream sandwiches that have a distinctive round frilled shape embossed with a 50's futuristic logo.

Many of the drive-in Carvels still exist, like one no more than three miles from my house. Decorated in a very mid 20th century motif of stainless steel and whimsical towers topped with cones, Carvel stands have frequently become town landmarks. Frequently the lot of the gothic and otherwise nonconformist, Carvellians dispense creamy sustinence with nary a smile and even less caution with a yummy soft serve cone.

Most people who go to Carvel get the soft serve, their trademark dish. Frequently one can see families huddled outside of Carvels, ice cream smeared children running in and out of the minivan, while impatient and single adults battle their way to the order window. For this reason I try to approach Carvel on foot, since cars are easily mutilated by a wayward dog or eight year old with a penchant for opening car doors too quickly.

But once inside, I get my hit of sweet, grainy, semi-dairy bliss. A creamy, swirly cloud of something not yet real cream, yet pasty; white, but almost elastic. I'd advise anyone interested not to go on a saturday night. The soccer moms will attack with their Windstars, since Bobby and Jill have just won their pee-wee sports games.

Car"vel (?), n. [Contr. fr. caravel.]


Same as Caravel.


A species of jellyfish; sea blubber.

Sir T. Herbert.


© Webster 1913.

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