DUMBO – Ample Hills Creamery opened its latest location in Brooklyn Bridge Park at the historic fireboat station last Thursday, June 13th. The location—one of 14 now operated by the company—replaced the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory during a request for proposals process released by the park last summer.
Co-founder and owner Brian Smith told Bklyner over the phone that an exhibition space on the upper level should be completed by late spring or early summer of 2020.
“We’re working on a plan to really build up an experiential museum upstairs, working in collaboration with the Brooklyn Historical Society. It’ll be free, open to the public. Basically, we want to tell the story of Brooklyn through the ferry service and through the city and through Walt Whitman’s poem, ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,'” Smith said. Whitman’s poem also inspired the name Ample Hills.
Megan Dolce, director of marketing for Ample Hills, says that there are also plans to add a to-go window at this location, hopefully by July. She adds they’ve had no problem with the amount of foot traffic the location gets so far.
The decision to replace Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory at the space was a controversial one.
“We haven’t seen any real feedback [about the controversy] in the shops. I think most of the customers down there these days are tourists, so they probably don’t have an awareness of what the shop was in the past, but we had seen some feedback online, some people that have said they like Ample Hills but they’re sad to see Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory go, and I share that feeling,” said Smith. He dined with his family at the Factory on the night before his wedding to wife and Ample Hills co-founder, Jackie Cuscuna, 17 years ago.
Lines are already long at the fireboat station, where you can try the location’s signature flavor “I Contain Breakfast Foods.”
“Every location we try to build uniquely for the community. For this location we knew that it’s a mix of tourists and locals, so we created a timeline in the back to create a story of how Ample Hills came to life and how it is a mom-and-pop run by a family…. We want people to be walking through the space and understand where we started,” Dolce said.
As far as what’s next for Ample Hills, Smith told Bklyner that the eagerly awaited Prospect Park West location may not open until the spring of next year.
“We haven’t taken possession of the space yet. The landlord is still doing what I would call the landlord’s work, which is ultimately rebuilding…because the building had basically collapsed. So, they’ve got this historic building that basically they’re salvaging what they can but nobody realized in the beginning that the building itself would more or less need to be restructured,” he explained.
But, don’t despair. “It is happening,” Smith promised.
Ample Hills, Fireboat House at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Fulton Ferry Landing Pier, 1 Water Street