Growing up, Ben and Jerrys’ Free Cone Day was the greatest day of the year. It was Spring, and it was warm enough to be outside without a jacket. My brother and I would get into the car, drive to the neighboring town, get our free ice cream and sit in the parking lot listening to music and basking in the joy that is Free Cone Day in the American suburbs. The lines were long but bearable, and you would always run into people from school doing the same thing you were. It was delicious, good, clean fun.
No longer. Now I live in New York where I do not have a car and there are no fun parking lots teeming with kids you know for such activities. In Rockefeller Center, the lines are official and strict and roped off. Spring is having some sort of existential crisis where it thinks it’s WInter and it’s hardly ice cream season at all. Lastly, the Ben and Jerry’s in Rock Center is taking all of the fun out of everything by going low carb and doing free scoops instead. Do they not know what the holiday is called?
My favorite part about the ride to Free Cone Day was listening to Missy Elliot‘s timeless classic, “Get Ur Freak On,” and substituting the words with “Get Ur Free Cone.” The moment that I (along with everyone else in the country) came up with this lyric swap I was certain that my career in advertising would be long and lucrative. It has not been. But it still would have made an amazing commercial.
The tragedy that this advertisement never came to be is one that cannot be understated and one that I will never understand. I think about it every Free Cone Day, and every time I hear the song, on any day of the year, I think about it. The advertisement that could have been, that could have changed the world. Since so many people sang the song, I decided that on this Free Cone Day, I would watch the videos that surely hundreds of people created in honor of the song. It’s 2016, the year when a video of a person saying “Damn Daniel” over and over again gets you in with Ellen Degeneres. My dream must have been realized by thousands of people on YouTube. I found just one.
Oh well. And, if you haven’t gotten your free cone (or scoop), the three participating locations in New York City are:
104th and Broadway, 2722 Broadway, 212-866-6237
Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Center, 212-218-7843
Times Square, 200 W. 44th St., 212-933-4632
It’s not a parking lot in the suburbs, but it will do the trick.
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