Inside the sculpting room at Cono Cimino's ice-making company in Deer Park on Tuesday, it's very cold.
Or, as Cimino puts it, "It's nice. It's a comfortable zero degrees."
Tuesday’s warm weather was a reminder that the heat and the outdoor party season make this the busiest time of the year for his company, Apple Ice, tucked into an industrial park near the Tanger Outlets at the Arches.
Each summer day his crew pumps out 100 tons of bagged ice cubes and 50 tons of 300-pound blocks.
Cimino has been in the ice business for the past eight years.
At around noon Tuesday, his workers were hauling pallet loads of bagged ice for destinations that included country clubs and catering halls in Westchester County, Watermill and Westbury.
While the bagged ice business at Apple Ice moves at high speed, with forklifts crisscrossing the factory floor, the manufacturing process is more deliberate in Cimino’s zero-degree sculpting room.
The walls of the room are lined with sculptures that are ready for delivery, in the shape of Indian chiefs, swans, and liquor luges (bartenders slide shots of tequila, vodka, etc., down the slopes).
Other blocks of ice in the sculpting room as still untouched, awaiting the arrival of art-school graduates who freelance for Apple Ice.
The sculptors use a computer-aided design machine that rough-hews each 40-inch by 20-inch block.
Then, finer touches are made with chisels, grinders, chain saws.
Apple Ice's catalog promises, "We can create anything,” and the catalog pages show the company’s past creations. These include a full-size billiards table made entirely of ice; a ten-foot-long martini bar, made of ice; and, also made all of ice, an Eiffel Tower, a four-story pagoda, a casino slot machine, a massive seafood table erected on a sandy beach.
Apple Ice has a second factory and delivery center based in Hudson, north of Manhattan. The company also rents and sells ice-making machines, and offers freezer storage space upstate in it Hudson warehouse.
Above, owner Cono Cimino at Apple Ice helps pack ice on Tuesday, July 12, in Deer Park.