Made in Tribeca: Island Ice NYC

In the 14 years Torin Francis played professional basketball overseas, he and his wife, Mia, would always come to New York City for the summers — and as the family grew, the kids came with. They did a couple seasons in Harlem, a year on Astor Place, and five in Chelsea. But as the kids got older and it came time to move back for good, they knew they wanted to be in Tribeca (and, of course, School District 2).

So last summer they put down permanent stakes here, enrolled three of the kids (Anaya, Tristan, Kaden) at PS 234 and their oldest, Maliya, at Avenues. And they resurrected a favorite summer tradition: grabbing Marinos cherry ices in the paper cups for all, and for the adults, spiking them with sriracha or coconut infused vodka.

This summer, with bars and restaurants in limbo, a light bulb went off. Why not cook up some sophisticated spiked icies themselves, especially when our social lives are in a sort of limbo as well.

“Now was the perfect time to do it — everyone’s home, and you’re with your children all day long, and then came this heat wave,” Torin said. He and Mia spent a month experimenting in the kitchen, using top-shelf ingredients and leaning on what Torin called their island roots: he is first generation Jamaican, and she was born in Finland to a Finnish mother and Puerto Rican father. (The two met in Boston, where Torin grew up and where Mia went to law school.)

They came up with a frozen mimosa with prosecco, passion fruit juice and mango; a Mobay mule with dark rum, lime juice and ginger beer; and the Cherry-ade Chiller — vodka, organic lemonade and cran-cherry juice. They named the company Island Ices NYC and launched it three weeks ago on Instagram. It’s so new they are still building the website. But they are taking orders by DM and delivering by car and by foot (shipping is still in progress, and while the ices don’t have to stay frozen, they do have to stay chilled). The plan is to get into a couple liquor stores and eventually restaurants.

In the meantime, neither has given up their day job. Mia is a contract attorney for Deloitte and Torin still has some seasons in him, should basketball come back post-pandemic (for now, like so many of us, he’s taking a wait-and-see approach). As for basketball, the power forward (6’11” to confirm your guess) didn’t start playing till 15, but then didn’t stop. He started high school at Boston Latin, but switched to Tabor Academy — where the team was among the top in the country — and then to Notre Dame — where the team was, well, you know. He has played professionally in Greece, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and Argentina — the latter for the past five seasons.

The icie thing is certainly a detour, but for now it fits. When winter comes, they will work on expanding to other markets (“it’s always summer somewhere”). And the business comes at a good time, when the family is settling down — at least for a bit.

“Mia and the kids had been travelling with me for 10 years, so we thought it was a good time to transition to really living in the States,” Torin said. There was no question that they would do that in New York, and come back to their favorite summer habit. “We would sit and eat our icies, and we just thought, we have to introduce this to the world.”


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36 never felt better! Vamos por mas???????? #blessed #and1 #frass

A post shared by Torin Francis (@teefrass) on



  1. Soon as you are ready to ship, put me on your list! It’s a great day to be a “Seawolf!”

  2. Welcome to TriBeCa! Best of luck on your new delicious venture.

  3. Welcome to the neighborhood. Beautiful story, beautiful family. and a great idea. Life goes on

  4. Yum! Can’t wait to try!

  5. Sounds good and bet they taste delicious!……would be a big hit out here in the Hamptons where people love to try and purchase new things — make up a batch and put them in dry ice and bring them out East and they’ll sell like….well, like “hotcakes” at the Farmers Markets out here in East Hampton, The Springs or Sag Harbor.