Ice cream is the new cupcake. It seems like there are a million places selling high-end, artisan produced frozen specialties around nowadays. But seriously, is that any sort of ice cream for a kid? They don’t care if it the cream is steeped with Tahitian vanilla beans or if it was hand spun that morning and they are going to find the contemporary flavor combinations just plain weird. All kids really care about is cold, sweet and NOW!
Of course, being in New York City, you don’t want to go to just any old chain store ice cream place and luckily you don’t have to. There are lots of places to get ice cream in New York City that are a step above the ordinary, every day chain with delicious ice cream that can be the highlight of your child’s day (or maybe even their whole summer!) Read on to find our favorite ice cream experiences to cool down your NYC kid.
1011 Third Avenue (shops on Long Island, too.)
Beware – once you bring the kids here - -there is no turning back! They will be begging for a return trip on a daily basis. The second floor of this over-the-top candy emporium is a quick serve ice cream parlor with really fun flavors. My son and his friends love the bright blue hued cotton candy, the multi colored birthday cake and even the pancake and syrup flavors. One kid sized scoop is $3 with toppings of sauces or candies extra. An even more indulgent treat is a sundae where ice cream, candy or cake are all served together in one dish and topped with syrups and whipped cream, for about $10. Get it to stay so you can grab a seat at a candy festooned table overlooking Third Avenue and hope you can get out of there without emptying your wallet in the candy store downstairs.
153 Second Avenue
Technically, not ice cream, but frozen yogurt, and my son really doesn’t know the difference anyway. And if he does, he doesn’t care. We both love this self serve frozen yogurt joint. It gets it's name from the pull down handles on the 16 yogurt machines mounted on the wall, each serving up a different flavor. If you need to know what flavors are on deck before you arrive – just check out their facebook
page for the low down. After you choose from flavors like red velvet, margarita, peanut butter and blueberry you put on your own toppings, they offer everything from healthy fruit, nuts and seeds to the not so healthy gummy bears, m&ms and jellybeans. The price is based on the weight and it usually comes out to about $5. 16 Handles is an obsession at our house.
5 Carmine Street
Premium Italian gelato in a popsicle that looks just like the popsicles from your youth but tastes so much better. The hook here is that these are customizable by having the attendant dip your pop in melted dark, milk or white chocolate and then coat it in crushed nuts, coconut or granola. Or you can eat it plain. Kids go ape for the banana gelato dipped in milk chocolate but you can also go for a fruit based sorbet or my favorite –cream gelato. Yum! They have no seats only a small bar for standing (they go down quick) so get it to go and eat it across the street in Father Demo Square. The best thing about this whole popsicle concept is that they are much easier for kids to eat than an ice cream cone, they can bite instead of lick them, and they are done much faster so less melty ice cream mess to clean up. One customizable pop is about $5.00.
Corner of Old Fulton and Water Streets (Dumbo)
97 Commerical Street (Greenpoint)
One of our favorite things to do is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Inside the tiny fireboat house practically under the bridge is a real ice cream parlor where they dish up traditional flavors like chocolate, strawberry, peach, butter pecan and vanilla (which is considered by some to be the best in the country.) in cones, scoops, sundaes, shakes and even banana splits. Eat in at the parlor style tables or take it outside to eat while looking at the harbor. Brooklynites love this place so much that they had to open a second shop in Greenpoint. 1 scoop is $3.50.
65 Bayard Street
This small family business is a Ctown mainstay that has been serving up ice cream from it's location on the tiny crooked Bayard Street for over 25 years. You may have heard about their red bean or green tea ice cream (both delicious) but they also offer 20 other flavors--Asian inspired ones like almond cookie, black sesame, taro, lychee and ginger, sorbets and more mainstream flavors like vanilla and chocolate. Like most places in Chinatown, this place is small, usually pretty crowded and has no seating. 1 scoop is $3.75.
Find more summer fun in the Mommy Poppins Summer Fun Guide