From meeting one of President Obama’s daughters to shaving a two foot-long block of ice that draws huge crowds of curious customers, Darren Fiorello of People’s Pops has had many adventures serving sweets on the High Line. Meet Darren in our latest installment of Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.
Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)
I was born in Colorado and moved to New Jersey at two years old. I grew up in NJ, where I played sports and did theater, chorus, and band in school. Having a theater background is great for my role on the High Line, as I put on a good show when I shave an enormous two foot-long block of ice. After three years of working at People’s Pops on the High Line, YouTube is crawling with videos of me shaving ice! I might be the next Trololo Guy. When not mastering my domain on the High Line, you can find me running, or having a beer with friends.
My secret talent is not so secret. My years spent shaving ice on the High Line have given me super-natural strength…but only in one arm. This not-so-secret talent has made me the world's greatest snowball-pelter. But, I have remained both too modest and far too genuine to leave ice-shaving to become an Olympian. [Laughs] Ice-shaving is my true sport and passion.
What do you love about your location on the High Line at West 16th Street?
The view over the Hudson River is amazing at sunset. I also like watching the massive cruise ships depart from the piers on Sunday afternoons. I never know what I'm going to see on any given day on the High Line. It could be a guy walking on stilts, a movie being filmed, one of the Obama daughters taking a stroll (with a bodyguard close by!), or the band Insane Clown Posse ordering an ice pop. I have seen all of these sights and people up on the park.
You interact with hundreds of customers each day. Share your favorite memory with us.
I regularly serve people once and never see them again, which is magical in itself. These visitors are excited to try new flavors, and, in some cases, shave ice for the first time. I love my regulars, too. One of my favorite things to do is when we get down to the last four or five pops of each flavor, I put them aside because I know I'm going to see some of my regulars later. I love being able to make my regular customers’ day by surprising them with a sold-out flavor they were looking forward to.
People's Pops is located on the High Line at West 16th Street, and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily through October 18.