A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 08, 2017
Snowball or Sno-ball (shaved ice confection)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Sno-ball
A sno-ball is a New Orleans confection made with finely shaved ice and flavored cane sugar syrup. Commonly confused with the snow cone, the ice of a sno-ball is fine and fluffy; while a snow cone’s ice is coarse, crunchy, and granular. Moreover, in a snow cone the flavored syrup sinks to the bottom of the cup; while in a sno-ball the ice absorbs the syrup.

Sno-balls are a seasonal treat as they are generally sold only from roughly March to October. They are vended from “sno-ball stands” throughout New Orleans and in other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

History
Before the 1930s ice was manually scraped from a block of ice, producing a coarser, crunchier version of the sno-ball. In 1933, Ernest Hansen began work on an ice-shaving machine; and by 1934, he had invented the first motor-driven ice-shaving machine. For two years, Hansen kept the machine within his family, making sno-balls for only his children and relatives. In 1936, Ernest and his wife Mary took their machine to the streets of New Orleans and opened Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. The business ran discontinuously for the following two years because Mary needed to care for her children. In 1939, they opened the shop and remained in business for the next 67 years.

By this time, grocer George Ortolano had invented his own ice-shaving machine, which he later called the Sno-Wizard.

NewOrleans.com (2016)
Top 5 New Orleans snowball stands
(...)
A little random history about the snoball in New Orleans: Two New Orleanians produced ice-shaving devices that had a huge impact on the snowball industry in the 1930s. Ernest Hansen invented the Sno-Bliz machine and George J. Ortolano invented the SnoWizard. Prior to their inventions, snoballs were shaved by hand from blocks of ice.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz
One of the premier local legends in the snowball biz is Hansen’s Sno Bliz, opened in 1939 Ernest Hansen himself. The store has been open in the same location since 1944 and today is run by the Ashley Hansen, granddaughter of Ernest and Mary Hansen. Mary created her own line of syrups, sweetened with cane sugar, and the stand currently serves more than 40 house-made flavors. Expect a good 20-30 minute wait in line at Hansen’s – it’s sort of a G-rated local happy hour scene, where neighbors catch up and socialize.
Details: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 891-9788), open Tuesday – Sunday from 1 p.m. – 7p.m.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, July 08, 2017 • Permalink