News & Events at Control Tower Ice Cream
Control Tower Ice Cream is now offering Gift Cards
Register for your Gift Card now online at Heartland Gift Card. Once you register you will receive $3.00 added to the card.
Our current Gift Card Special;
Simply make a purchase with your gift card 10 times a month by spending a minimum of $2.00 per visit and we'll give you $3.00 back onto your gift card. It's a real benefit and are excited about offering this to all of our customers.
Buzzing the Control Tower
from The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY) August 12, 2009
Author: JEFF WILKIN Gazette Reporter in LATHAM
Colin Kelliher watched the heavens.
He waited. And was rewarded for his patience.
The 3-year-old East Greenbush boy heard the rumble and fury from above. From out of the clear blue of the western sky, came a sky king.
An airplane, its engines buzzing like 5 million hornets, zoomed about 50 feet over the back patio of the Control Tower restaurant and ice cream stand on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham. Colin covered his eyes with plastic toy binoculars and watched the flyer touch down at Albany International Airport.
"It's going way high," Colin told his mother, Brenda Kelliher.
"We've come here a few times," Brenda said. "He's going to start a class at Tumbling Tykes across the street. I have a feeling we'll be spending more time here."
That will be fine with Teresa VanAlphen, who has owned the business that caters to aviation and appetite buffs for the past five years. The Control Tower originally was built in 1999 by Ed Duggan, who now operates the miniature golf course in back of the restaurant grounds.
Jumping for joy
VanAlphen knows people show up for the cheeseburgers and butterscotch sundaes, but understands free entertainment also attracts customers. The small airplanes fly close enough to let spectators read registration numbers. The larger guys, like the red and blue transports from Southwest Airlines, are simply awesome in their grace and power.
"We get a big crowd between 7:30 and 9 o'clock at night," VanAlphen said. "When the runways are lit up, they're spectacular."
Sometimes, customers get takeoffs. Other times, they get landings.
"It depends on which way the wind is blowing," VanAlphen said. "They use different runways."
Kids especially love the air shows.
"They just jump up and down with joy," VanAlphen said. "They have that smile on their face. I guess it's al! most the same smile they get when they're given an ice cream cone."
People take their tropical swirls and berry crunches to the seven green-painted wooden picnic tables or claim one of the 16 blue metal tables. VanAlphen has a little fun with her menu, and has named panini sandwiches "Red Baron," "Boeing," "Cessna" and "Thunderbolt."
On a recent sunny afternoon, Southwest giants rolled taxied to runways and soared south, away from the restaurant. Smaller, organic flyers -- sparrows foraging for stray bits of hamburger bun -- darted in and out of bushes between the parking lot and patio.
Once in a while, sound comes with the sights. Some planes roar.
"For us, it just fades into the background," VanAlphen said. "We do notice a difference with the military aircraft."
"We get a lot of helicopters," she added. "Last summer, we had an F-15 doing touch-and-gos. They were on training, and they were loud."
Kids aren't the only ones who appreciate the flight plans.
"They have a really good chocolate sundae and they have a really good chicken sandwich," said Erin Santspree of Wilton, sharing lunch and conversation with friend Sara Babin of Malta. Both are financial planners at the nearby Ayco Co.
"It's fun," added Babin. "It adds a little something different to the atmosphere. And there's not a lot of places around here where you can sit outside."
First things first
Some children who bound into the patio seem more interested in what's up. They put down their ice cream and look into the blue, taking care not to miss any arrival or departure.
"I like to see them blast off," said Beth Irwin, 5, of Guilderland.
"It's something different," said Beth's father, Bob Irwin. "As kids, we'd go to the other side [of the airport grounds] and watch the planes take off and land. Now you can eat ice cream and sit outside and watch them."
Beth likes the watching. But when pressed, she admitted a preference for r! ainbow sherbert over rarefied air, ground round over ground control.
"I come for the ice cream," she said. "I just went for a long bike ride!"
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memo: "For us, it [the noise] just fades into the background."
Teresa VanAlphan Owner, Control Tower restaurant
Copyright (c) 2009 The Daily Gazette Co. All Rights Reserved.