It’s summer in New York City, which means it’s time for ice cream—even if you might have to get your ice cream from a to-go window or order in advance right now. Many ice cream shops are open in NYC, from nut-free to Brooklyn’s coolest spots, the best gelato to the top Instagram-worthy ice cream creations. The Big Apple’s cone runneth over with cool ice cream shops. Read on for the scoop on NYC’s best ice cream shops for kids—social distancing, summer 2020 edition!
For Delectable Flavors in Harlem: Sugar Hill Creamery
A family affair established by Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin Larsen, a neighborhood couple with three kids, this Harlem-based shop scoops out handmade, seasonal, small batch ice cream and non-dairy frozen desserts in flavors both classic and inspired—with names to match. (It’s vanilla is dubbed “Andy Griffith”.) Made with thoughtfully-curated and sourced ingredients (chocolate from Madagascar, vanilla from Ile Bourbon, produce from the local farmer’s market) Sugar Hill Creamery has kid-friendly staples, as well as delectable flavors for grown-ups. Case in point: “Chairman of the Board”, a blueberry cheesecake ice cream with graham crackers and blueberry jam, a seasonal flavor so popular it’s now offered year-round. Other very good options: build-your-own ice cream sandwich, ice cream floats, and locally-roasted coffee for you.
184 Lenox Ave.
For Xtreme Ice Cream Creations: Stuffed Ice Cream
Everything about Stuffed Ice Cream is a little extra. For starters, it’s signature “cruff” is a toasted glazed donut stuffed with ice cream and finished off with sugar toppings of your choice. Flavors include traditional and nuanced, such as Rocky Road, Rice Krispies, Vanilla, White Chocolate Lavender, and Black Sesame. Signature cruffs in pre-designed combos include the “Unicorn Poop” and “Cookie Road.” If a cruff is not your thing, you can get a cone—which is available as a seven- or 21-scoop creation if you so choose. (Like we said, extra.) Got a birthday party coming up? Stuffed has an over-the-top ice cream ball cake that must be seen to be believed. #whatthecruff
Stuffed Ice Cream is offering curbside pick up currently. Order here!
139 First Ave.
For Classics Done Right, Coffee and Cakes: Davey’s Ice Cream
Editor's note: Davey's East Village location is back open for takeout and delivery.
One of Davey’s Ice Cream locations is in the East Village (ice cream Insta-bait HQ) but you won’t find too many crazy flavors here. Instead, expect classics like “Chocolate chocolate”, “Fresh Strawberry”, and a celebrated “Cookies & Cream” crafted from fresh ingredients and Hudson Valley milk. You can also go for a traditional but “supreme” banana split, brownie sundae, or milk shake. In Williamsburg, you’ll find coffee creations including the Affogoto, espresso with a scoop of ice cream, and in Greenpoint, Davey’s serves gluten-free pastries. Davey’s makes cakes, too, including the incredibly fun “Megawich”, a giant ice cream sandwich!
Davey’s Ice Cream
137 First Ave.
201 Bedford Ave.
74 Meserole Ave.
For Organic Ice Cream and Good Will: Blue Marble Ice Cream
Blue Marble, the first certified organic artisanal ice cream maker in New York, serves sweet-tasting treats with minimal added sugar and maximum goodness provided by Mother Nature herself. Featuring classics like strawberry and cookies and cream made from farm-fresh New York State dairy, its flavors are straightforward and pure. Blue marble operates two shops in Brooklyn and pop-up carts around town. The roomier Prospect Heights location has a kid's play space and outdoor garden, and is steps from Prospect Park, and while the shop in Cobble Hill has closed, a fresh spot recently debuted at Sunset Park's Industry City. (They're also scooping Blue Marble at Barclays Center, and you can now find the ice cream in supermarket freezers around town.) Also in the works, the Blue Marble "Boutique" which is coming soon...
Take note: With each scoop you buy, you and your family are supporting Blue Marble’s not-for-profit organization, Blue Marble Dreams, the mission of which is to use ice cream to inspire joy, spur economic growth and employ and empower women in places like Rwanda and Haiti. (Now you have a reason to eat ice cream every day of the year!)
Blue Marble Ice Cream
186 Underhill Ave.
220 36th St.
For Egg-free Philly Style: Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
With fifteen varieties of vanilla, chocolate, coffee and caramel, there’s something for everyone at this Soho and Lower East side “new American” ice cream parlor in classic black and white design. (Including a fruity collab Action Bronson, "Only for Dolphins." Order up one of the classics or experiment with flavor mash ups like cardamom lemon jam, salt and pepper pine nut or banana curry. Kids will love their own menu with special cup and cone sizes and sundaes that are sure to please like the Butterscotch Banger —vanilla ice cream with caramel and cream. The shop's Soho store is currently open for pickup and delivery
Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream
88 W. Houston St.
2 Rivington St.
Lower East Side
For Those with Allergies: A La Mode
We can’t get enough of A La Mode, a place that has changed the lives of many allergy-prone kids and adults alike. All of the ice cream at this fun store/party space/ice cream shop is nut-free, sesame-free and egg-free. And with flavors like Partly Cloudy (blue cotton candy with marshmallows) and Pink Sprinkle (pink vanilla with rainbow sprinkles) for the kids and Wired (coffee with chocolate chips) for adults, everyone at A La Mode has something to smile about. More good news: the shop just launched its online business so now you can order the stuff from the comfort of your couch — pints, bars and cups can be delivered right to your door. Yum.
A La Mode
360 East 55th St.
Upper East Side
For Flavors with a Cult Following: Ample Hills Creamery
Editor's note: Ample Hills' Prospect Heights, Astoria and Chelsea scoop shops will reopen on Thursday, July 23rd.
Fans of Ample Hills Creamery were no doubt dismayed to hear of the home-grown company's recent declaration of bankruptcy, but the Brooklyn business has been acquired by Oregon-based Schmitt Industries and is reopening stores. The brand is famous for irresistible combinations like Snap Mallow, Pop, (marshmallow ice cream with toasted Rice Krispie clusters ), Salted Crack'd Caramel (salted butter caramel ice cream with chocolate covered homemade saltine crackers) and The Munchies (pretzel infused ice cream with clusters of potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms). Its original corner shop is on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights and the Gowanus location on Nevins Street is an industrial space turned ice cream factory and parlor. The Gowanus location also features a rooftop deck, as well as an indoor party space, complete with an Ample Hills ice cream churning bicycle. Red Hook is home to a massive ice cream factory (where you can see the ice cream being made), which also serves as a shop. The brand also operates three seasonal locations, one at Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO and two more other at Jacob Riis Beach in the Rockaways.
421 Van Brunt St.
623 Vanderbilt Ave.
347-240 - 3926
305 Nevins St.
Dekalb Market Hall
445 Albee Square West
141 8th Ave.
600 11th Ave.
Gotham Market West
Bubby's High Line
73 Gansevoort St.
34-02 30th Ave.
Fireboat House at Brooklyn Bridge Park
1 Water St.
Jacob Riis Beach
157 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
For Small Batch Peruvian Ice Cream and 21 and Over Flavors: Creme & Sugar
As if it weren’t enough to give your kids a sweet treat, this Ridgewood ice cream and coffee shop stocks games like Connect Four and UNO to keep kids busy and there’s also something special for the grown ups: wine ice cream. (No joke: it's 5 percent alcohol and for those 21 and older only. You can even get a "flight" of boozy ice cream.) Don't worry, Creme & Sugar also sells traditional flavors and Peruvian favorites, such as passionfruit, mango and strawberry.
58-42A Catalpa Ave.
Mikey Likes It
We’ve long been a fan of Lower East side native Mikey Cole’s pop culture-inspired artisanal, organic ice cream and his fun storefront decked out with images of pop icons. (Flavors at the downtown store include “Pink Floyd”, “The Brady Bunch”, “Ice Ice Mikey” and “Foxy Brown.”) Cole started his business selling ice cream out of a pushcart, and now also offers vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free varieties. The shop is delivering to Manhattan and big fans can scoop up Mikey Likes It merch like hats, collaboration hoodies and more.
199 Avenue A
Lower East Side
For Thai Rolls and Fresh Add-ins: Minus10
Ice cold Thai-inspired ice cream rolls are being served up in Chinatown and Flushing. Using a cold plate that reaches temperatures well below -10°F, the ice cream produces smaller ice molecules to make it naturally smoother and creamier, turning liquid cream to ice cream in under two minutes. Without needing additional fat, you still get the same rich, creamy texture for delicious ice cream, so it’s a win-win for both parents and kids. With flavors like Key Lime Pie and Monkey Business (bananas and Nutella) this is not your basic ice cream store, but if original flavors without artificial fats is what you’re looking for, head here.
10 Mott St.
136-17 39th Ave.
For Cutting Edge Flavors: Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.
Brought to you buy a gastro-molecular pastry chef (the guy behind Empire Mayonnaise) and a husband and wife team that admired said chefs skills , this ice cream shop features super fresh flavors in way outside-the-box combinations. The kids are guaranteed to love the vanilla-based Sprinkles but we bet Burnt Marshmallow and Oatmeal Cookie Dough could become the new favorites. (Parents, FYI: popsicles infused with booze are now available, in flavors like Rosé and Grapefruit Campari.) For Summer 2020, OddFellows even launched a collaboration with West Elm, "West Elm Citrus Summer Crush", blood orange sorbet and vanilla infused sweet cream.
All the ice cream is made in-house, using locally sourced, hormone- and additive-free dairy. Be sure to check out Odd Fellows' Facebook page for flavor updates before you go.
Several OddFellows locations are open, including a newish spot in DUMBO at 60 Water Street (its shops in Manhattan are currently closed). You'll also find them at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (formerly occupied by Ample Hills Creamery), and stores at Williamsburg's Domino Park and in Bushwick are on the way.
60 Water St.
Pier 5 Brooklyn Bridge Park
75 East 4th St.
55 E. Houston St.
260 Kent Ave.
379 Suydam St.
For Deliciousness with a Side of Kitsch: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Editor's note: Big Gay Ice Cream's Columbus Avenue store is open as of mid-July.
Big Gay is going local. They’ve teamed up with Ronnybook Farms and developed a proprietary base for their famous soft serve creations. And if the graham crackers and lemon curd toppings taste more homemade, that’s because they’re now made in-house. Among the creative confections are the Bea Arthur (vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche topped with finely-crushed Nilla wafers) and American Globs (vanilla with sea salt and pretzels dipped in a chocolate shell), but for more adventurous palates, the shop offers everything from elderflower syrup to key lime curd to top the cones. Shakes, ice cream sandwiches, great coffee and more are also always available.
Take advantage of the shop's after school Sugar Rush promo: $ 2 mini chocolate or vanilla cones from 2-5 p.m. And keep your eyes open for the BGIC truck roaming the city streets adorned with its signature rainbow cone.
Big Gay Ice Cream
516 Columbus Ave.
Upper West Side
125 East 7th St.
61 Grove St.
207 Front St.
4 Penn Plaza
Madison Square Garden
For Novel Wintry Refreshment in Summer: Snowdays
OK, shaved ice treat shop Snowdays does not technically serve ice cream, but its derivative of Taiwanese and Korean shaved ices, which is fluffy (like snow), is actually creamy and tastes like ice cream. Pretty cool, right? The business has operated a shop in the East Village for years, and now there's also a Brooklyn store in Bay Ridge. Flavors can be as exotic as Roasted Black Sesame or as basic as Sweet Milk, and they have great toppings from the classics like Oreos and M&Ms to a cereal-lovers dream with Fruity Pebbles and Cap’n Crunch (and many more!)
241 East 10th St.
7025 Third Ave.
For Small-Time, Family-Owned Ice Cream Fun on the Upper East Side: The Sweet Shop NYC
You might have heard of The Sweet Shop, an Upper East Side throwback for sweet treats. But here, you’ll find more than just candy. This retro shop has OddFellows’ ice cream, and Il Laboratorio gelato and sorbet, so you don’t have to head downtown for great ice cream. In the summer, their cold options include handmade shaved ices they call "New York City Snow Balls" that come in 12 flavors, and their artisanal ice cream sandwiches are amazing. The Sweet Shop is open for curbside service, or you can order on Seamless or GrubHub for pick-up or delivery.
404 East 73rd St.
Upper East Side
For Fish-shaped Cones and Interesting Options: Taiyaki NYC
Taiyaki is a kind of fish in Japan, but don’t let that confuse you. Taiyaki NYC sells fish-shaped waffle cones filled with soft serve (a popular street food in Japan) because, why not? Yet another treat that made appearances on Instagram feeds everywhere, this unusual dessert is pretty and delicious. And the cones aren’t just filled with ice cream — they also have custard or red bean paste in them if you like — alongside unusual ice cream flavors like matcha or black sesame. For those traditionalists looking to try this, no worries, you can get the cone and the custard or bean paste with chocolate or vanilla, too. Find the original store in Little Italy, and newer outposts in Williamsburg and Flushing; all are open offering takeout.
119 Baxter St.
294 Bedford Ave.
136-17 39th Ave.
Queens Crossing Food Court
For a Few Dozen Gelato Flavors: Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Now in its 18th year, this shop is still our favorite for hand-crafted traditional Italian gelato and sorbet. Tucked inconspicuously next to the Lower East Side’s famous Tenement Museum, the atmosphere at Il Laboratorio del Gelato HQ is spare and industrial, but don’t let that fool you. On any given day customers can choose from 48 artisanal and vibrant flavors like kid-friendly banana chocolate chip, and concord grape, alongside more unusual offerings like rose petal, tarragon pink pepper and Guinness. Everything at Il Laboratorio is fresh and made at the shop, and the kids will love watching the ice cream makers hard at work in the “lab” through the glass windows on Ludlow Street.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
188 Ludlow St.
Lower East Side
56 University Pl.
For a Classic Banana Split: Eddie's Sweet Shop
This old-school soda fountain and candy shop, founded decades before most of its hipster competitors, doesn’t put on airs or stuff its homemade flavors full of bric-a-brac that would make Ben & Jerry blush. Here, you can find familiar favorites like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (along with a few other classics like rum raisin, butter pecan and coffee almond chip) served up in metal footed ice cream dishes and drowned in thick hot fudge, caramel sauce, home made whipped cream and nuts. The kids will also love the old fashioned register, cast iron swivel stools and retro storefront. Head to Eddie's for a nostalgic taste of a bygone era, but take note: it's currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 3 - 9 p.m. for takeout only.
— Lambeth Hochwald & Kim Sunshine
main photo: Lori L. via Yelp