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We All Scream For Ice Cream

As Bernie Sanders campaigns hard in New York, Ben and Jerry offered helpings of their ‘Bernie’s Yearning’ ice cream in Manhattan’s Union Square

Raquel Wildes
April 01, 2016
(Images courtesy of the author)
(Images courtesy of the author)

On Thursday, I felt the Bern. It was cold, the way ice cream should be, and covered with flecks of political chocolate.

You see, I was one of hundreds of people who had been wooed to New York’s Union Square on the promise of a scoop or so of Ben and Jerry’s new ice cream flavor, “Bernie’s Yearning.” But it wasn’t just the ice cream I came for. No, I was present for the opportunity to meet Ben and Jerry, who are long-time supporters of the Vermont Senator, in the flesh. (Disclaimer: I’m not a Bernie Sanders supporter, but Ben and Jerry sure do have my vote.)

At about five o’clock, I got my share of Bernie’s Yearning: mint chocolate chip ice cream, with one big hunk of chocolate at the very top. Of course, given its creamy tapestry, ice cream is a ripe canvas upon which to paint political messages. Ben Cohen—that is, Jerry’s buddy—explained it thusly to the throngs of people who, themselves, were yearing for something cold on an unseasonably warm day in NYC: “Bernie’s Yearning demonstrates how all the money has essentially flowed to the top 1 percent.”

The author with Ben and Jerry.
The author with Ben and Jerry.

Jerry then proceeded to demonstrate how to break the chocolate with the back of an ice cream scooper and mix it in to the mint below to distribute it evenly. This seemed to set free a palpable fervor into the air, a sort of political idealism fueled by a sugar high and the desire for equality beyond chocolate.

I was there for that, and for chocolate, and, of course, to take a selfie with Ben and Jerry, because pics or it didn’t happen.

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream social was one of many NYC-based events that Bernie has in store as he gears up for the upcoming New York primaries on Tuesday April 19. Sanders, who trails New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination, needs to win a majority of city’s 291 delegates to stay competitive in his bid for the White House.

By the time the ice screamers had digested their dairy fixings, Sanders, who’s stressing his Brooklyn/New York roots to garner votes away from Clinton, was holding a rally in the South Bronx where an estimated 18,500 attendees cheered on their presidential pick (and Spike Lee and Rosario Dawson). And if you missed these events this week, fear not, as there are other ways to contribute to Sanders’s cause in NY, such as by contributing to artist Nick Kuszky’s “Welcome Home Bernie” mural in Williamsburg. (Populism, people!)

Raquel Wildes, a graduate student at Columbia Journalism School, is an Audio Consultant at Tablet.