New York’s love affair with ice cream is over 200 years old and showing no signs of waning. The assortment can be dizzying so we’ve selected our favourite places in the city to indulge in this beloved sweet treat.
1. Riverside charm
Situated in a converted reboat house at the Fulford ferry landing, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory flagship shop is an ideal setting for an excursion. When Mark Thompson first opened the doors in 2001, he was greeted by a lineup of eager New Yorkers. Thompson’s Philadelphia-style ice cream is all about simplicity. “There are no eggs. Classic ice cream is made with cream.” He has just eight traditional flavours on offer, including an unbeatable vanilla, all produced in small batches in the back of the shop.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory brooklynicecreamfactory.com
2. Vegan friendly
The story of Van Leeuwen began with a single food truck in 2008. Trio Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen, and Laura O’Neill now boast two trucks and several shops. “There’s no secret to making ice cream other than using really good ingredients.” says Ben Van Leeuwen. “Our ice cream is beyond Fair Trade. We trade directly with farmers and leave out the middleman.” Van Leeuwen offers a line of classic flavours as well as a vegan menu. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream vanleeuwenicecream.com
3. Taste of Italy
It was a trip to Italy at age 19 that inspired Jon Snyder to bring old-world gelato to New York and open the wildly successful Ciao Bella in the 1980s. After selling it in 1989, and a 13-year hiatus, he returned to ice cream-making in 2002 with his new venture, Il labatorio del gelato in the Lower East Side. As the name suggests, this ice cream parlour resembles a lab, with its pristine stainless steel countertops showcasing a dazzling array of fresh, brightly-coloured ice creams and sorbets. Il laboratorio del gelato laboratoriodelgelato.com
4. Hipster cones
This retro establishment in Williamsburg attracts a hip crowd that spill out onto the sidewalk. Husband and wife team Holiday and Mohar Kumar partnered with pastry chef Sam Mason and came up with the concept of an old-fashioned ice cream parlour serving unorthodox flavours. Known for his experimentation, Mason has created a quirky selection of flavours that range from playful to those with a more adventurous palate — foie gras anyone?
5. The soft serve
When you walk into one of the Big Gay Ice Cream shops in New York, you can feel the love. People come here for the great vibe and the decadence of an old-school soft serve. Big Gay Ice Cream started back in 2009 as a sort of lark,” says Doug Quint, a classical bassoonist, who rented a truck for a summer with partner Bryan Petroff. “I just called it The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck because the whole thing seemed kind of gay,” he says. The idea took off and there are now three locations. Their signature cone is the Salty Pimp. Made with dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate dip, it is positively sinful. Big Gay Ice Cream biggayicecream.com
Text by Karen Mackenna
Photos by Camilo Fuentealba
This article is published in the Summer 2017 issue of Blue Wings.