During our month-long series of posts focusing on the Upper West Side, we've shared many of our favorite neighborhood haunts, including toy stores, play spots and family-friendly restaurants. Now we've got something really sweet for you: our top dessert spots on the UWS.
There are of course a slew of UWS places where you can pop in for a quick treat. We've picked the nine that we always have trouble resisting, jam-packed with all kinds of goodies from cupcakes to ice cream, cake to cookies.
Silver Moon Bakery
2740 Broadway at 105th Street
Perpetually packed with locals, this super-tiny bakery serves some of the most delicious treats in the neighborhood, including French pastries, mini-macarons, chocolate chip madeleines, tarts (which come in three sizes: large, medium and individual) and cakes. It's not cheap and there's no seating, but it's worth waiting on line (which there will invariably be) for a sweet treat to take home or eat in nearby Riverside Park.
Momofuku Milk Bar
561 Columbus Avenue between 87th and 88th Street
I'm craving sweets just thinking about this dessert "bar," which opened an UWS outpost earlier this fall. Although there are all kinds of treats here, the cookies are my family's favorite. $5 gets you three kinds. We have a serious addiction to the cornflake-marshmallow cookie, though you can't go wrong with any of the varieties. I've heard friends rave about the crack pie, cereal milk soft serve and birthday cake truffles, too. Savory pastries, and Korean veggie or pork buns are also available.
Baked by Melissa
2325 Broadway between 84th and 85th Streets
This sleek bake shop opened this Broadway location in 2011, and it's generating big buzz for its delicious tiny cupcakes. Drop by and try one (or five—hey, they're small!). At home, check out the website's cool create your own cupcake feature. Your kids can customize a colorful mini-cupcake and share it in the gallery. If you're buying 300 or more, you can even have Melissa bake your creation.
460 Amsterdam Avenue at 82nd Street
The desserts at this vegan cafe have no dairy, egg or refined sugar, but they sure taste good. Enjoy grasshopper cookie sandwiches, raw key lime pie, cakes and daily baked breads. It can be crowded in the evening, but come early or during the day and you can grab a table inside the bright space. Early birds can also snag baked goods from the previous day at a discount. By the way, some of the hot drinks on the menu are just as good as dessert, like my favorite, apple ginger soy.
407 Amsterdam Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets
Started by a bunch of undergrads who craved sugar late at night, this inventive chain serves (and even delivers!) cookies and brownies during the wee hours of the morning. Not that we're suggesting you give your toddler a snickerdoodle and a glass of chocolate milk at 2am. But it's an option.
Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream
389 Amsterdam Avenue near 79th Street
This little ice cream joint has seriously amazing scoops. If you're used to Pinkberry or other healthier ice cream options, your tongue will fall in love at first lick. There's a long list of exotically named flavors to choose from, like grasshopper pie (crème de menthe liqueur, Oreo cookies and chocolate flakes) and deep purple cow (black raspberry ice cream with white and dark chocolate chips and blueberries). There isn't much seating inside, but there's a small bench out front.
325 Amsterdam Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets
Looking for fabulous fro-yo? Well, you've found it. This shop is nifty for families for several reasons. First, its treats are a bit easier on the hips. Second, your kids will love choosing from the 16 flavors, and getting to pull levers to fill their bowls themselves. Third, they can then head over to the toppings bar to put the final touches on their creation. The only downside is that the portions aren't controlled, so you're going to be the one to tell them to put the hot fudge and jimmies down. Also, there's not much seating. We love this spot so much we also mentioned it as a great place for a snack after a visit to the nearby Children's Museum of Manhattan.
167 West 74th Street near Amsterdam Avenue
This small side street bakery has a big following for its large cookies. They're six ounces each and yet somehow once you've polished one off you still want another. There are only four varieties: chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and dark chocolate peanut butter cup. You can buy breads here too, but whatever you do, don't leave without a cookie! Note for stroller pushers: It's tough to get down the tiny stairs with one in tow.
200 Columbus Ave between 69th and 70th Streets
You aren't a New Yorker if you haven't had a cupcake at Magnolia—or even a seasonal tourist for that matter. Despite its crazy popularity, Magnolia is still one of my favorite UWS bakeries. The spacious back room is perfect for enjoying a treat with little ones, and can accommodate strollers and toddling tots. The cupcakes are light, fluffy and not too big for kids. There are lots of other desserts to try, too; the banana pudding often calls my name.
Read more about eating with kids in New York City or check out all of our posts about the Upper West Side.