New York City ice cream: Where to find the best
Spring, glorious spring. It's the time of year when the sandals come out (maybe too soon), the jackets get put away and New Yorkers start dreaming about sidewalk dining and weekends spent in the park.
Yeah yeah that all sounds great but what spring means for us is sweet, delicious icy desserts. So without further ado, here are our picks for the best ice cream parlors in the city. Both old school and new school are represented here.
With Georgia Kral
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain(Credit: Ten Speed Press/ Michael Harlan Turkell)
The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain opened in an old abandoned pharmacy in Carroll Gardens to applause from neighbors who were happy to see something become of the former storefront and foodies and ice cream-aholics across the city who were excited about authentic egg creams and sundaes. And the Farmacy didn't let anyone down. Now, some five years later, the Farmacy is still a hot spot and is known for its classic setting (complete with soda jerk and swiveling bar stools). Get an egg cream with a pretzel stick or the sundae of broken dreams (pictured), made with Adirondack Creamery's vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, homemade whipped cream and crushed pretzel sticks.
513 Henry St., Carroll Gardens; 718-522-6260
Hinsch's Homemade Ice Cream(Credit: FLICKR/ Robyn Lee)
Hinsch's is classic Brooklyn through and through. Established in 1946, this Bay Ridge restaurant is an institution, and the homemade ice cream is tops. Nothing fancy here, folks. The ice cream comes in classic flavors only: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, pistachio, strawberry and butter pecan. Order an old fashion with one or two scoops and it comes in a silver saucer. You can even get a banana split or a marshmallow sundae (pictured). NOSTALGIA! Oh, and malted sodas and egg creams are available, too.
8518 Fifth Ave., Bay Ridge, ilovehinschs.com
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream(Credit: Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream)
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream made its name when owners Ben Van Leeuwen, Laura O’Neill and Peter Van Leeuwen started selling ice cream out of yellow scoop trucks in the city and has since expanded to include six trucks and a trio of stores. Every batch of Van Leeuwen’s ice cream is made from scratch in Greenpointwith hormone and antibiotic-free milk and cream and cane sugar. Plus, Van Leeuwen now offers vegan flavors at all of its locations and Whole Foods Markets. Pictured: a new flavor called goats cheese with forrest berry swirl.
81 Bergen St., Boerum Hill; 632 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint; 48 ½ E. 7th St., vanleeuwenicecream.com
Sundaes and Cones(Credit: Sundaes and Cones)
Founded in Bay Ridge in 1991, Sundaes and Cones has been selling quality, homemade ice cream for over 20 years. The shop moved to the East Village in 2006. Sundaes and Cones offers classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla but keeps their menu up to date with new flavors ranging from Wasabi to Tiramisu. They also offer non-fat, sugarless ice cream and frozen yogurt.
95 E. 10th St., sundaescones.com
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory(Credit: FLICKR/ Robyn Lee)
One of the most straightforward ice cream joints, The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory keeps their mission simple, make delicious ice cream. Their original location is on the landmark Fulton Ferry Pier overlooking a sweeping view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. To keep up with popular demand, the second shop was opened in Greenpoint in 2007. The menu keeps it classic, with peaches & cream and butter pecan being as wild as the flavors get. But simple as they may be, this has been called the best ice cream in Brooklyn by many.
1 Water St., DUMBO; 97 Commercial St., Greenpoint, brooklynicecreamfactory.com
The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory(Credit: The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory)
An unofficial Chinatown landmark, this ice cream shop has been serving up the good stuff for nearly 30 years. The family-run business has made a name for itself by churning the classics: rocky road, mint chip, coffee strawberry, with the more original: red bean, lychee, green tea, durian. Interestingly, in the world of The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, the classic flavors are labeled "exotic" and the more creative are referred to as "regular."
65 Bayard St., chinatownicecreamfactory.com
Blue Marble Ice Cream(Credit: FLICKR/ dumbonyc)
Launched by Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen in 2007, the two embarked on a mission to offer a product that was as good to the environment as it was to eat. They began with a super-premium, certified organic dairy and the best ingredients they could find to offer incredibly fresh seasonal menus. If you can’t make it down to one of the shops, the natural and delicious flavors of Blue Marble are available at many retailers including Union Market and Whole Foods as well as various seasonal outposts in the form of roving ice cream carts.
102 Franklin St., Greenpoint; 186 Underhill Ave., Prospect Heights; 196 Court St., Cobble Hill, bluemarbleicecream.com
OddFellows Ice Cream Company(Credit: Liesl Henrichsen)
OddFellows in the brain child of chef Sam Mason and his partners Mohan and Holiday Kumar. OddFellows make premium small-batch ice cream from scratch in their Williamsburg kitchen and it’s doing so well, they’re planning an expansion to 75 East 4th Street in the East Village. The original Williamsburg location opened last June with a menu of some classic and some unlikely ice cream flavors. They offer 8 to 10 ice cream flavors a day and 2 to 4 sorbets. Customers can expect flavors from Guinness to Burnt Caramel to Miso Butterscotch Cherry Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Cornbread (pictured above in sundae form).
175 Kent Ave., Williamsburg; 75 E. 4th St. (opening in May), oddfellowsnyc.com
Big Gay Ice Cream(Credit: Donny Tsang)
Starting with a Big Gay Ice Cream truck in June 2009, founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff have since become a New York favorite and have expanded to two locations in the city and one on the West Coast in LA. With treats ranging from the famous “salty pimp” cone to a “Mermaid Cup” and the whipped cream topped “Monday Sundae,” Big Gay Ice Cream changed the soft serve game and everyone from USA Today to Rachael Ray has taken notice.
61 Grove St., 125 East 7th St., biggayicecream.com
Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor(Credit: Facebook/ Egger's Ice Cream Parlor)
A rare ice cream parlor that’s frozen in time, Egger’s has been around for nearly 75 years. After 7 decades not much has changed, from the timeless flavors like cookies and cream and vanilla peanut butter swirl, to the classic parlor treats like egg creams and malts.
7437 Amboy Rd., Tottenville, 718-605-9335; 1194 Forrest Ave., Westerleigh, 718-981-2110
Ample Hills Creamery(Credit: Stewart, Tabori & Chang/ Lucy Schaeffer)
While taking a break from writing sci-fi movies, Brian Smith decided to turn his creative juices towards something tastier, thus Ample Hills Creamery was born. Originally sold out of a cart at summer concerts in Prospect Park, Smith uses only the freshest local, hormone-free ingredients to make his famous flavors like Maple Bacon, Stout ‘n’ Pretzels and the ever popular Salted Crack Caramel. The shop even has a flavor which features beer ice cream made from Magic Hat Circus Boy.
623 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights, amplehills.com
Eddie's Sweet Shop(Credit: Flickr/Robyn Lee)
This family-run parlor has been a Queens classic since the '60s-- when the Citrano family opened it on the site of an even older ice cream shop, Witt's. Famous for sundaes with homemade ice cream and whipped cream and thick hot fudge served up in old-school tin dishes, walking into Eddie's is like taking a step back in time. It's one of the few places in NYC you can still get an egg cream just the way you remember it, while sitting at a marble-topped counter, to boot.
105-29 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, 718-520-8514
Lickety Split(Credit: Flickr/ Joe Shlabotnik )
A welcome respite on a hot City Island day, Lickety Split is as fun as its name. The ice cream is Breyer's, but what this spot lacks in homemade treats it makes up for in charm. Pull a heart-shaped chair into the shade and enjoy soft-serve, gelato, ice, or a wide variety of flavors with tons of toppings, and enjoy the beachy vibe. 295 City Island Ave., Bronx; 718-885-9654, licketyspliticecream.biz