MR’s Guide to the Best Ice Cream in NYC
Not sure what psychopath declared only ONE national day for ice cream. It’s our summer dietary staple.
All this talk about “I can’t believe it’s almost August” has got to stop. It’s still July. We’re still in shorts. And when the clock strikes 3 p.m. — you know what, make that 11 a.m. — it is not just high time to consider where in the world Happy Hour has been in progress beyond its allocated 60 minutes, but it is the national, time-stamped signal that you should get a snack. And not just any snack — the snack! Ice cream!
In the thick of New York’s muggy sun and the thin of elsewhere’s heat, nothing says we’ve still got a whole month and change ahead of us, pal, like a scoop (or eight) of frozen cream making contact with your mouth. As such, here is Man Repeller’s definitive guide to the best ice cream in New York south of 17th Street.
Try them all today. Why not?
I legally can’t eat ice cream, but for some reason small rations of gelato doesn’t make me sick. Small rations suck, yes, but my favorite flavor is olive oil (just try it) which probably only works in one-scoop quantities, anyway.
Lafayette, 380 Lafayette St, Amelia’s pick
This is a restaurant, but out front by the bakery they sell tutti-frutti sorbet push pops with crushed macarons inside that taste a lot like the Flintstones push pop from childhood. Insane.
Morgenstern’s, 2 Rivington Street, Leandra’s pick
Because this kooky guy works behind the counter and wears one of those neat diner hats and when you walk in he says, “Hi toots! What can I get for ya?”
The selection of ice creams is so artisanal, you’d think they’re hipster-made mustards (Cardamom Lemon Jam, Fernet Black Walnut, Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate). If you find that overwhelming, know you can’t go wrong with Sesame Caramel. It will make you feel like you are a) providing your body with important nutrients by way of seeds b) eating a Turkish passover treat.
There is also a flavor called Raw Milk, which I won’t try because I’m afraid it might remind me of being breastfed.
Victory Gardens, 31 Carmine Street, Leandra’s pick
All the ice cream is goat milk based which can be digested by those plagued with lactose intolerance. The flavors are niche; they include such titles as Apricot Saffron Yogurt and Thyme for Victory — which is, you guessed it — thyme-flavored ice cream. My favorites are Date Yogurt and Persian Princess. I think they taste like the Middle East on a good day.
Fun fact: I consumed 4 pints in 48 hours after I had my wisdom teeth removed. I have no regrets.
The store brings me back to childhood summers spent in Minnesotan humidity. Their flavors change regularly so be prepared to adventure into unknown territory and come with an empty stomach. These guys know how to make it creamy.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard, Krista’s pick
This is for everyone sick of vanilla and into Chinese desserts. Try the black sesame; it’s a good balance between sweet and cake-y. But the best part is really meandering through Chinatown to get there.
Be brave and try the taro or corn flavors. They are weird and excellent, perfect if you’re loyal to a specific flavor at a favorite ice cream shop back home but craving freedom.
Chloe’s Fruit Soft Serve, 25 E 17th St, Ella’s pick
Chloe’s is conveniently — scratch that, dangerously — located a few blocks away from the apartment Ella’s living in this summer. Their soft serve is made with only fruit, water and cane sugar so it’s perfect for the dairy-free. The mango is awesome.
Snowdays, 241 East 10th St., Cristina’s pick
The cornbread is Cristina’s favorite, but it’s a secret flavor and not on the menu, so if it’s sold out, she’ll come after you. And, the spoons change color — you’ll feel like a modern day Violet Beauregarde.
Milk & Cookies, 19 Commerce St., Cristina’s pick
It’s the perfect antidote to the Sunday Scaries because you can build your own ice cream sandwiches.
Go for the Over The Rainbow Ice Cream Sandwich which consists of two M&M sugar cookies with vanilla gelato sandwiched in between. And why not — make it a double.
McDonald’s soft-serve dollar cone is cheap and predictable and good. It gets the job done, and should you feel like a cone in any part of the city, you’re sure to find one.
Go with classic vanilla, always.
What’d we leave off? We’re on a week-long, square-picture-perfect ice cream tour and refuse to quit until we’ve tried (and documented) them all. Join da fun on Instagram using the hashtag #MRBestLicks.
Carousel Image by Hannah Kellner.