The People’s Coldest Choice
PHOTO BY JULIA TURSHEN
If you thought popsicles were kids’ stuff, you’re right and you’re wrong. “It’s so great when kids come in and say, ‘Oh man! You don’t have rhubarb today?'” insist the proprietors of People’s Pops, the popular choice among popsicle stands that opened in June 2008 at the New Amsterdam Market and now keeps the Chelsea Market cool. But it isn’t all fun and games when you’re experimenting with over 20 flavors, and always adding to your repertoire. Apricot-basil, one experiment in flavor, sounded promising, but, “It tasted weirdly medicinal, almost like DayQuil. We do a lot of trial and error, mostly a lot of error,” they report.
Popsicle proprietors Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz’s shop began as just a pop-up project, as it were. Based on the combined successes of a one-day venture at the New Amsterdam Market and prior work experience—Jordi’s a former food writer, Carrell is a researcher, and Horowitz a set designer—they found a workshop in Hell’s Kitchen that they now share with Jordi’s cousin, who is a baker. Next, the ice, brought in from a manufacturer in Bushwick: “We buy it in 75-pound blocks,” says Jordi. And finally, decorating their current location, which required, “6,000 sticks and many a rainy night.”
Halfway through our chat, Jordi hands me a plum and mint popsicle, which forces the interview to pause. People’s Pops’ flavors change regularly (but always involve local ingredients), but there are some regulars, like raspberry-basil. Roasted apricot with lavender, watermelon-cucumber, and plum with yogurt and tarragon are other favorites. “Parents love us because we get their kids to eat lots of fresh fruit,” says Jordi. “I mean, popsicles are a classic summer treat that are sometimes thought of as a guilty pleasure, but it’s just fruit, really good, cold fruit.”
PEOPLE’S POPS IS IN THE CHELSEA MARKET, LOCATED AT 425 WEST 15 STREET, NEW YORK.