Bridgeport. The BPT. You know, the bankrupt and corrupt blighted city situated in the “richest county in America.” I’ve lived in Connecticut over half of my life now, and Bridgeport is perhaps the most fascinating thing about this state to me. It is a glaring example of what is wrong with Connecticut’s town-by-town governance, its NIMBY’ism, and its ingrained classism.
On a larger scale, Bridgeport serves as a glaring expose of our country’s wealth gap problem.
Fairfield County gets nudged out of the top “rich” county every so often, but it usually winds up back on top every few years. But even if it was barely in the top ten, it has Bridgeport. And when one calculates how much BPT “brings down” the wealth statistics of the county, that’s simply amazing.
But a page on ice cream is not the place for my “Yes I know I live in West Hartford which is terrifically guilty of what I take serious issue with our state; social inequality” rant. So I’ll stop here.
Micalizzis is deep in the heart of the BPT. It doesn’t pretend it is anything but. The “eating area” consists of beat-down kiddie plastic “furniture,” left to bake in the summer sun. (One assumes that anything nicer would be stolen.) There is no indoor area, as it would be used as a de facto cooling center or worse, expose itself to robbery.
Yes, I know I’m generalizing and stereotyping, but I don’t care. As we ate our ice cream, I watched a rather nefarious looking young man testing car after car down the street to see if any were unlocked. Another man said to my 7 year old special needs son, “Lemme get somma that,” in reference to his ice cream.
Now would be an excellent time to embed the phenomenal Raekwon song, “Ice Cream,” featuring Meth and Ghostface.
I love that song. And since you are all astute Wu Tang fans, you appreciate the title of this page. And perhaps take it to the next level wherein Cash Rules Everything Around lower Fairfield County, while Bridgeport is left wanting some of that windfall.
Shaolin represent, dolla dolla bill y’all.
Okay, Micalizzi’s is an old school Italian ice and homemade ice cream shop in Bridgeport. We made our annual trip to Beardsley Zoo and then bought a couple trees from my secret tree propagator in Bridgeport before slipping down to get some ice cream.
You can read about their long and slightly confusing history here. Short version: Italian family settled in Bridgeport and made great Italian ice and became a stalwart in the neighborhood, and have stuck it out no through thick and thin.
And I say good for them. The ice cream was solid, but nothing rave-worthy. Their flavors were somewhat limited when compared to the rural Connecticut farm ice cream places. At least there was no line.
BUT – I still love Micalizzi’s. I love that they are located where they are and that they have their Italian ice niche. (Especially with Timothy’s over in downtown Bridgeport winning the homemade ice cream in Bridgeport battle.) I love that their blisteringly hot plastic spaceship 1978 seating keeps it real. I love how the shop looks like it’s just the living room of someone’s house. (Honestly, it reminded me of South Philly – which, to me, is a GOOD thing.)
And I love how you must enjoy your ice cream while the locals try to steal your GPS system in broad daylight.
And when you go, you better get the hard ice cream. Ain’t no room for anything – or anyone – soft here.
And so, with a nod to Raekwon the Chef, I had the chocolate deluxe, Damian had the butter pecan, and Hoang, of course, had the caramel sundae.
One love to my chocolate deluxes, keep your nails done
and your wigs tight, word up
One love to my butter-pecan Ricans for calling me papi
That’s for real
One love to caramel sundaes, with the cherries on top
And big up to my french vanillas
Parlez vous, francais, mi amor, merci, oui oui, bon bons
and all that good stuff
That good stuff