The sun blazed, creating an oppressive heat at New York City’s South Street Seaport Thursday, but a chill passed among the checked-in subjects when a pair of new kings ascended the Iron Throne and ushered in a cold era … of ice cream.
This is the finale for Game of Cones, a contest from Foursquare in conjunction with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” that pit local ice cream shops from New York City against one another in a fight for social media supremacy. And yesterday afternoon, perched on a replica of the seat of swords from King’s Landing, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley crowned the kings of ice cream Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, aka “House Big Gay,” with a Game of Cones certificate.
Also held separately between stores in San Francisco, the contest ran from June 7-21. During that time, businesses drummed up support by encouraging patrons to check-in at the stores on Foursquare in return for the chance to align with the victorious house. In New York, these included ice cream shops Momofuku Milk Bar, Ample Hills Creamery, The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, Blue Marble, Sundaes and Cones, Brooklyn Ice Cream Company and Victory Garden.
But because this is the Game of Cones (When you play, you win or you melt) there had to be a victor, and it was Big Gay with 2,316 check-ins. Led by co-founders Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff — decked out in warpaint, bloodied shirts and unicorn slippers — overtook the Iron Throne with their small council of ice cream cronies and celebrated by distributing free cups of cold goodies to throngs of loyal subjects and any who chose to stand in line and check-in on Foursquare.
Considering the intense heat, the promise of free ice cream and the chance to get a photo taken in a throne, there was no shortage of loyal subjects yesterday.
“Usually my throne is made of porcelain so this should be a sharp distinction,” said Quint about his new kingly seat.
And when asked if he was ready for his role as king of cones, Quint asserted himself in way that would make Tywin Lannister proud.
“Do you doubt me?” he snarled. “There’s not going to be room at this table for people who doubt me, so does that answer your question?”
“I’m going to be the one that’s actually in the seat, that’s all I know,” countered Petroff.
Executions of reporters asking questions that disrespected the joint kings were then promised.
But Quint said his throne was “made out of geeks” because of the fans of his shops.
“I think one of the great things about Big Gay Ice Cream is that it’s always been something that people can come out of whatever closet they’re in – ‘The Golden Girls’ closet, the Bronies – and enjoy; when we let the geeks out of the closet and let them roar, crazy sh** and art happens.”
That crazy sh** extends to the two-pronged strategy waged to win the ice cream wars through Big Gay’s East and West Village locations. Petroff credited part of the Foursquare win to the East Village shop that distributed House Big Gay pins when customers checked in, created by assistant manager Kayla
Quint added Jenna Gard’s chalk illustrations at the West Village location were “art explosions coming out of her butt” that led to the “Game of Thrones” twitter account retweeting them “like crazy” and generating attention for the contest.
“Our store is the king because it was absolutely a group effort,” he said. “This was not won by Bryan and I; it was won by the stores.”
“We’re just taking credit,” joked Petroff.
The idea for the contest started to form within his team about three months ago, said Crowley, a huge “Game of Thrones” and Big Gay Ice Cream fan. He said, at the time, it seemed crazy that they’d actually get the Iron Throne available for the contest.
“But here we are a couple months later and we’ve got a bunch of people sitting in the throne eating ice cream.”
As for the throne itself, he said he had a little bit of a “master of the universe” moment sitting on it.
“It is really satisfying,” he said. “I don’t have anything like this in my apartment, so it’s nice to sit in a big throne.”
Before he could get too cozy in the throne, however, Quint spread some of his warpaint on the CEO’s face for the certificate presentation and a “no smiling allowed” picture, upon decree of the king. Then the throne was opened for the commoners and ice cream distributed. And there was much rejoicing.