1. MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream and Treatery
($4.12 for single vanilla cone)
1437 Second Ave., nr. 74th St.; 212-472-6249
The judges approved of the vivid pink color scheme and somewhat ridiculous cow motif in this newly arrived chain. They liked the plain vanilla (there’s also a vanilla-bean flavor). “It’s tasty, it’s simple, and it’s not too strong,” said Platt’s daughter, Jane.
2. Ciao Bella
($3.25 for kid’s cup or single vanilla cone)
285 Mott St., nr. Houston St.; 212-431-3591
Two thumbs up to the thick vanilla gelato. “It’s sweet and it’s creamy, and it’s really messy,” said Platt’s niece, Claire.
3. Il Laboratorio del Gelato
($3.25 for single vanilla cone)
95 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St.; 212-343-9922
The girls liked the ice cream’s smooth texture, but they liked the wafer cones even more. This was Dad’s favorite.
4. Sundaes and Cones
($2.98 for single vanilla cone)
95 E. 10th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-979-9398
The proprietors of this new parlor used to peddle their ice cream in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Jane liked the “fresh, really icy” quality of the house vanilla.
5. Cold Stone Creamery
($4.88 for one scoop and one “mixer”)
Astor Pl., nr. Broadway; 212-228-4600
There was no vanilla available on the day the girls visited. So the store offered them something called “Sweet Cream.” Both girls tasted it, made a face, and said no. Then they tried a cup of Cotton Candy flavor, which is a deep aqua blue, like liquid antifreeze. “This is my favorite,” said Jane. “Can I get a really big one?”