Few foods are more synonymous with summer than ice cream, and New Yorkers are lucky to have an astonishing amount at the ready all over the city. A quick cone from one of the hundreds of soft-serve trucks does the trick in a pinch, but there are so many brick-and-mortar shops slinging sweet iced treats throughout the five boroughs worthy of a visit. Here are just a few we recommend hitting up for some high-quality scoops, no matter the season:
Astoria, Chelsea, The Essex Market Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park - Pier 1, Dekalb Market Hall, Gowanus, Red Hook, Prospect Heights, South Slope
The original Ample Hills location opened on Memorial Day 2011 in Prospect Heights and completely sold out of their inventory within just four days, forcing them to close for several weeks to replenish their stock. Ten years later, you can find nine locations around NYC serving fan-favorites like Corn to Run (sweet corn ice cream, cornmeal crumble, blueberry swirls) and Hopelessly Devoted to Moo (old-fashioned vanilla malt ice cream, chocolate pudding swirls, chunks of Brooklyn Blackout cake). Be sure to check out their shop-specific creations like the Meet Me on the Long Meadow (sweet tea ice cream, black currant jam, lemonade-iced cookies) available at their South Slope and Prospect Heights scoop shops, or their Astoria shop’s Nectar of the Queens (honey-cinnamon ice cream, baklava, galaktoboureko—a Greek semolina custard baked in filo).
After a successful popup in the South Bronx under the moniker “Triple Cream,” Caffe Panna founder Hallie Meyer (who shares a moniker with her restaurateur father Danny) opened her shop in 2019, quickly becoming a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Inspired by the gelaterias of Rome Meyer loves, Caffe Panna gets its name from a complimentary dollop of Panna (Italian whipped cream) served with every order. There are six staple flavors to choose from like their first-ever creation, Red Flag (sweet cream ice cream, strawberry swirl, graham crunch), along with daily specials such as pistachio cardamom almond and Aud’s Garden (black raspberry ice cream, Panna, Belgian dark chocolate chunks).
Harlem; Gotham West Market; Lower East Side
New York native Michael “Mikey” Cole opened his first spot in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2014, and within days was the talk of this ice cream-loving town. His talent and dedication have garnered tons of press, and celebrities like Jay-Z have even commissioned him for special creations. We promise you’ll enjoy every flavor on his regular menu like Foxy Brown (mocha ice cream, crushed chocolate wafer cookies, sea salt caramel swirl) and Brady Bunch (banana pudding ice cream, Vienna fingers, crushed vanilla wafers). Beyond delicious cold treats, you’ll feel especially good about supporting Mikey as he’s also a local hero, distributing boxes of food weekly to families in need, along with Thanksgiving turkeys and even winter coats.
Upper East Side
After scoring a position as a pastry chef at the world-famous Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan, and turning out sweets rumored to be favored by President Taft, Italian immigrant Joseph Sedutto founded Sedutto—the country’s first “superpremium” ice cream company—in Staten Island in 1922. Just shy of 100 years later, there’s still a lone store up on First Avenue continuing his butterfat-packed tradition with crave-worthy flavors like mocha almond fudge and a particularly good mint chocolate chip. Whatever your order, it should definitely include a scoop of their signature Hotel Black Bottom Pie (rum ice cream, graham crackers, chocolate pie crust, fudge, chocolate chunks).