A New York City Ice Cream Crawl
Because when it’s hot outside, the answer is always: cold and mild.
Nothing screams “ice cream !!!” like a contagious summer day in New York City. And while I will say without a shred of sarcasm that some of the best cones I’ve had in town have been scattered by the open window of a Mister Softee truck, there is no denying that there are many good ice cream spots in town.
Are you in East Village or Flushing, Williamsburg, or Harlem, there’s probably a good spot for a scoop nearby. Even vegetarians and lactose intolerants no longer need to settle for an ice pop when the weather gets hot in the city – a number of these joints make frankly impressive non-dairy alternatives. How many of New York’s best knits can you eat in a day?
2. Cafe Zaiya
Near Grand Central Station and craving something cold and creamy? Look no further than Cafe Zaiya (the 41st Street location) and their magnificent soft serve. They specialize in gravity-defying piles of matcha and black sesame ice cream (or better yet, a swirl of the two), and you won’t need anything more than that.
Each batch of ice cream at Davey’s takes four days to prepare (from milk and cream sourced locally in the Hudson Valley). They don’t go overboard with flavors, keeping it mostly classic like French vanilla, double chocolate, strong coffee, fresh strawberry, and roasted pistachio with some seasonal flavors tossed in for good measure. Both the East Village and Williamsburg locations will make you a sundae, ice-cream sandwich, or pie milkshake to order.
This popular West Village lunch and dinner restaurant, known for its daily changing menu of regional Italian and southern French plates, recently delighted fans by launching an ice-cream program. You can get a cup of King’s ice cream to go, but it’s also quite fun to sit at the bar and order a double scoop of lemon sorbet topped with vodka.
La Newyorkina specializes in Mexican-style treats, like hand-churned ice-cream nieves de garrafa, paletas, and chamoyada, a cross between a slushie and a sorbet (their most popular flavor base is mango) topped with pickled plum juice and chile powder. With two permanent locations and seven seasonal pop-ups in Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s not hard to find one of La Newyorkina’s cooling snacks.
Named for a North Indian term roughly translating to “cream of the crop” and literally to “milkfat,” Malai Ice Cream is worth the trek to Cobble Hill for a scoop. The ice cream—which comes in exciting flavors like orange fennel, jaggery with tamarind caramel, and red chile–chocolate—is actually eggless and churned with less air than most ice creams, making an impossibly creamy final product.
8. Milk Cow
The popular Korean ice-cream store, MilkCow, is now open in Chinatown, and their giant cups of soft serve practically beg you to dig in your spoon. The ice cream—which comes in ube and “natural milk” (think fior di latte gelato as opposed to a classic vanilla)—is rich and creamy on its own, but MilkCow is also known for their unique toppings, from honeycomb to clouds of cotton candy.
Even if you have not yet eaten ice cream from Morgenstern’s, odds are you’ve seen the perfectly round scoops on Instagram. Though the Department of Health will no longer let them serve their infamous black coconut ice cream, there are still 88 other flavors (banana curry, American egg, and long pepper–raspberry to name a few) at two locations in Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side.
Known for their delightfully stretchy booza, the 500-year-old Levantine precursor to modern-day ice cream, Republic of Booza is an unmissable spot this summer, thanks to a series of collaborations with some of the city’s best restaurants. We’re talking an everything bagel booza with Black Seed Bagels, guava-plum powder sorbet with Win Son, elote booza with Tacocina.