Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Because We Have an Ice Cream District

New York has long welcomed ice cream lovers there is evidence that shops here peddled the stuff as far back as the American Revolution but it is now in an ice cream golden age, and the cartoonishly abundant mecca is a stretch from the edge of Chinatown to the East Village.

This summer, 10Below (10 Mott St.) began serving ice cream Thai style, strong-armed workers pouring ingredients onto cold plates and rolling it with metal blades into swirling roses. Around the corner is a stalwart, the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard St.), which has sold pleasures like durian, litchi, and red bean since 1977. (Records show that, in the summer of 1790, President Washington spent some $200 on ice cream at a nearby store, now long gone.)

Not far away is another newcomer, Ice & Vice (221 E. Broadway), a bourgie-flea-market favorite that now has a storefront. Its decadent and outré offerings include Milk Money (toasted milk, salt, chocolate ganache) and Blue Cheese (blueberry maple, corn-mascarpone mousse). To the north: the redoubtable year-and-a-half-old Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream (2 Rivington St.), which has multiple vanillas, chocolates (bitter, salted, Szechuan), and coffees.

A Bowery street seller invented the ice cream sandwich in 1899, and the area is still a stronghold for a wild array of takes on the delicacy. Cookie sandwiches abound, but A.B. Biagi (235 Elizabeth St.) and OddFellows (75 E. 4th St.) scoop the good stuff into brioche and toast it in a panini press. Melt Bakery (132 Orchard St.) sandwiches cream-cheese ice cream between hunks of red-velvet cake, like a frozen whoopie pie. Those who prefer red-velvet waffles can head to Mikey Likes It (199 Ave. A), which opened in 2014 and whose flavors honor pop culture icons like Salt-N-Pepa (salted caramel, a chocolate-ghost-pepper swirl, peanut-butter cookies).

And there are more! Alphabet Scoop (543 E. 11th St.), a job-skills program for teens that does solid work; Davey’s Ice Cream (137 First Ave.); a branch of the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (48 E. 7th St.) empire; Big Gay Ice Cream (125 E. 7th St.), for soft-serve partisans; and of course, the glorious Il Laboratorio del Gelato (188 Ludlow St.), with its rotating arsenal of more than 100 flavors. There are at least three Baskin-Robbins stores in the neighborhood as well and a few dairy-free options, but the less said about them the better.