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Food

44 Frozen Treats You Need To Try In NYC This Summer

So, you’ve decided to spend the summer in a city that smells like hot garbage! You’re going to need some really good ice cream to see you through.

Chris Ritter

1. Zen Butter Ice Cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

This longtime neighborhood establishment specializes in delicious Chinese-inflected scoops like Zen Butter (peanut butter with sesame seeds), almond cookie, lychee, red bean, and black sesame. Lame stuff like chocolate and vanilla is relegated to the “Exotic” section of the menu. (65 Bayard St., Manhattan)

2. Banana Nilla Wafer Ice Cream at Cafe Cluny

Kathy YL Chan / kathyylchan.com

If you like banana pudding, this is the ice cream of your dreams. But it appears only sporadically at the summer ice cream cart in front of Cafe Cluny, so you must be vigilant. (284 W 12th St., Manhattan)

3. Small-Batch Ice Cream at Davey’s Ice Cream

The “special” flavors here are truly special. Past editions include “ultra babka,” made with chocolate babka from a local bakery, and “brunch,” loaded with chunks of maple-soaked french toast and coffee-glazed bacon. But once a batch is gone, it’s gone — so just stop by and see what’s on the board. (137 1st Ave., Manhattan)

4. Wine Ice Cream at Williamsburg Creamery

The menu is a veritable wine list in creamy frozen form, from Port and Chocolate Cabernet to Raspberry Chardonnay. Quirky non-alcoholic flavors like Popcorn and Apple Pie are worth trying, too. (201 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn)

5. Chorizo Caramel Swirl Ice Cream at OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

“Odd” isn’t an insult when you’re using it to describe deliciously savory-sweet combos like chorizo and caramel or miso and cherry. And good news for Manhattan-based fans of this creative Williamsburg scoop shop: It’s opening a new branch in the East Village this spring. (175 Kent Ave., Brooklyn)

6. Taro Ice Cream at Sundaes & Cones

S&C does the traditional stuff well, but the real draw is its slightly wacky, pan-Asian flavor options: taro, black sesame, Thai tea, wasabi, and more. And if you know anyone with a birthday coming up, keep in mind that S&C also makes killer ice cream cakes. (95 E 10th St., Manhattan)

7. Any Flavor Ice Cream at Ample Hills Creamery

You’ve probably heard murmurs of Ample Hills Creamery’s salted crack caramel, but the always-evolving flavor lineup at this neighborhood hangout is full of other fun surprises, from the white Russian-inspired “The Dude” (espresso, coffee liqueur, vodka) to “The Munchies” (pretzel-infused ice cream with potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&M’s). Be warned, the lines are long — but that’s for a reason. (623 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn)

8. Frozen Gin and Juice at Roberta’s

If you’re waiting for a table, you might as well head to the tiki bar out back and wait with a huge, Snoop-approved OJ slushie in hand. And when you realize later that it’s haunting your dreams, you can make it at home. (261 Moore St., Brooklyn)

9. Affogato at Corsino

In an affogato, the sophisticated Italian cousin of an ice cream float, everything depends on the quality of your two ingredients: ice cream and espresso. So trust that you’ll be in good hands with this version, made with top-notch vanilla gelato from the nearby Il Laboratorio de Gelato. (637 Hudson St., Manhattan)

10. Boozy Slushies at Bushwick Country Club

Take your pick: Jim Beam and Coke slushie or frozen homemade sweet tea vodka. Either one makes a great buddy for the free unlimited cheese puffs and backyard mini-golf at this fun, hip-kitschy bar. (618 Grand St., Brooklyn)

11. Ice Cream Float at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

Opened in a restored 1920s pharmacy in Carroll Gardens, this place is a dead ringer for a classic mid-century soda fountain and ice cream parlor. The methods are old-fashioned, but the menu isn’t; try the Pink Poodle float, made with hibiscus soda. (513 Henry St., Brooklyn)

12. Frozen Vodka Pink Lemonade at Bungalow Bar & Restaurant

The only thing you’ll need after a long, hard day at the beach. (377 Beach 92nd St., Rockaway Beach)

13. Australian Iced Coffee at Milk Bar

Espresso, milk, and two big scoops of vanilla ice cream. Warning: It’s going to be hard to go back to normal iced coffee after this. (620 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn)

14. Frozen Piña Colada at Connolly’s Bar

This thing is the truth, it is pure summer, and it will knock you on your ass. (155 Beach 95th St., Rockaway Beach)

15. Vodka Ginger Slush at Pork Slope

This starts with an innocent base from the Kelvin slushie truck, and then proceeds to adults-only territory. Look out for seasonal specials. (247 5th Ave., Brooklyn)

16. The Salty Pimp at Big Gay Ice Cream

BGIC’s flagship cone is hard to top: perfect vanilla soft-serve dressed up in dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate dip. (61 Grove St. and 125 E 7th St., Manhattan)

17. Key Lime Pie Sundae at Culture

CarbZombie J / foursquare.com

Local milk gets cultured (…get it?) on-site to make a super-creamy, tangy, truly yogurt-y frozen yogurt that wants nothing more than to be tucked in beneath a blanket of your favorite toppings (like, say, graham cracker crumbs and key lime sauce). (331 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn and 60 W 8th St., Manhattan)

18. Eclair Cone at Dessert Club, Chikalicious

The peerless vanilla bean soft-serve ice cream here comes in many formats, but piped-into-an-eclair is the one you won’t find anywhere else. (203 E. 10th St., Manhattan)

19. Frozen Yogurt at Yogorino

There’s something to be said for the dizzying empowerment of self-serve froyo, but sometimes surrender to a higher ‘yo power can be even sweeter. This Italian chain starts with tart, extremely (like, unbelievably) creamy yogurt and classes it all the way up with fancy toppings and sauces. Get the pistachio sauce, which looks like snot and tastes like heaven. (193 Bleecker St. and 657 Broadway, Manhattan)

20. Cereal Milk Soft Serve at Momofuku Milk Bar

Milk Bar Queen Christina Tosi’s sugar-drenched empire was built, more or less, on the fateful decision to liberate sweet cereal milk from the bottom of the bowl. Enjoy it in creamy soft-serve form at any location, or head to the Williamsburg outpost to try it in a “fancy shake” with booze and various magical add-ins. (382 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn + four more locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.)

21. Twist Cone from Mister Softee

Or Master Softee. Or Captain Softee. Or Mister Soft. Accept all substitutes, because as far as anyone can tell, every truck serves the same blessedly creamy ice cream–type product, and it’s all probably full of chemicals and guar gum, and it’s all delicious. Also, know this and be forever changed: the truck jingle has lyrics. (Trucks throughout NYC; keep your ears peeled.)

22. Ice Cream Doughnut Sandwich at Peter Pan Donuts

Peter Pan is a Greenpoint institution worth visiting just for its incredible (and surprisingly cheap) doughnuts. But when they’ll cut a doughnut in half and slap a huge scoop of ice cream in between? Then we’re really talking. You might attract some attention when you order one, but there’s nothing wrong that. This creature deserves to be noticed. (727 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn)

23. Chocolate-Covered Frozen Banana at Motorboat and the Big Banana

There’s always money in the banana stand. And it’s your money, because you couldn’t stop buying these delicious bananas. (Boardwalk & Beach 96th Street, Rockaway Beach)

24. Paletas from La Newyorkina

A little cart tucked away in the elevated High Line Park is filled with frozen treasure: refreshing Mexican–style popsicles in flavors like mango-chile and cucumber lime. (On the High Line at 10th Avenue & W 17th Street, Manhattan; they’re also sold at other retailers around the city.)

25. Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich from Coolhaus

1. Pick an ice cream flavor.
2. Pick a cookie.
3. Witness their beautiful union.

Pro tip: Ask which cookies on the menu are the softest, since crunchier types can squish the ice cream when you bite down and cause serious structural difficulties. (Check Twitter for truck locations.)

26. Gelato on a Stick at popbar

If you can’t bring yourself to choose from the endless rainbow of gelato and sorbetto pop flavors, sometimes getting the frozen hot chocolate instead is the better part of valor. (5 Carmine St., Manhattan)

27. Rice Krispie Ice Cream Bars at Treat House

Of course there’s a place in New York that sells strictly Rice Krispie Treat-based foods. And of course the one you should eat is the one filled with ice cream. (452 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan)

28. Dipped Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwich at Holey Cream

This beast will see Peter Pan’s doughnut sandwich and raise it your choice of frosting and topping. Not for the faint of heart. (796 9th Ave., Manhattan)

29. Cake Batter Soft-Serve at The Shop Formerly Known As Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

This shop went through some confusing name-change/owner drama last summer, but whatever it’s called, it’s serving the amazing dairy-free ice cream of every vegan’s dreams (the base is made with cashews). Keep an eye out for pumpkin flavor in the fall. (516 E 5th St., Manhattan)

30. Fruit Soft-Serve at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.

Chloe’s just uses fruit, water, and sugar to make its dairy-free soft serve flavors. So yes, it’s technically something you could feel OK about eating for breakfast. Also: pretzel cones! 25 East 17th St., Manhattan

31. Butterfinger Shake at Terri

This vegan-but-you’d-never-know-it treat is made with cookie dough soy ice cream, chocolate syrup, and your choice of non-dairy milk. And yes, it’s good enough to go up against any milkshake in the city. (60 W 23rd St. and 100 Maiden Lane, Manhattan)

32. Vegan Mango Frozen Yogurt at Brooklyn Swirl

Try a cup of sunny, dairy-free mango froyo topped with fresh strawberries, coconut, and maybe a few rainbow sprinkles. Then go ahead and sign up for this super-friendly Bed Stuy shop’s “loyalty program,” since chances are you’ll be back soon. (445 Marcus Garvey Blvd, Brooklyn)

33. Cholado at Las Americas Bakery

wEnDaLicious / foodspotting.com

Colombia’s contender for the global title of most badass shaved ice dessert is not for the sugar-shy; this baby comes loaded with multiple fruit syrups, chopped fruits, coconut, condensed milk, and a necessary cherry on top. For those up to the challenge, this version is Serious Eats-endorsed as the best in the city. (40-30 82nd Street, Queens)

34. Shaved Ice at People’s Pops

Between the super-seasonal fresh fruit syrups (think red plum and watermelon-lemongrass) and the hand-shaved ice, this is the ultimate “artisanal” ice. But it’s so darn refreshing you’ll forget to be annoyed. (On the High Line at 10th Avenue & 16th Street in Manhattan and 808 Union St. in Brooklyn + more locations)

35. Creme Ice at Ralph’s Italian Ices

If you need a reason to get on the Staten Island Ferry, this is it. (501 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island + more locations in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island)

36. Patbingsu at Tous Les Jours

This YOLO Korean take on shaved ice comes loaded with tons of fruit, condensed milk, sweet toppings, and — just for good measure — a scoop of ice cream. (31 W 32nd St., Manhattan + more locations in Queens)

37. Helado from Delicioso Coco Helado

The family-run business that puts these carts on the streets is a Bronx institution. For just $1, a paper cup of fruity sorbet that can literally save your life on a scorching-hot day is a pretty good deal. (96th Street at Broadway in Manhattan or 149th Street at Third Avenue in the Bronx, plus more locations throughout the Upper West Side and the Bronx.)

38. Halo Halo at Purple Yam

This fabulous, towering Filipino dessert is busy in the best way. You might not be able to identify everything in it (shaved ice, coconut, tropical fruits, sweet beans, flan, and purple yam ice cream, to start with) but you’ll be too busy eating it to care. (1314 Cortelyou Rd., Brooklyn)

39. Lemon Ice at the Lemon Ice King Of Corona

You know how you always decide last-minute that lemon will be boring and get something else instead? Don’t. Get the lemon. (52-02 108th St., Queens)

40. Banana Royal Sundae at Eddie’s Sweet Shop

Three scoops. Bananas. Sprinkles. Whipped cream. Cherries. Syrup. Walnuts. NO EXCUSES. (105-29 Metropolitan Ave., Queens)

41. Mixed Spumoni at L&B Spumoni Gardens

Why would you get just vanilla, chocolate, or pistachio when you could have all three at once? (2725 86th St., Brooklyn)

42. Salted Caramel Sundae at ABC Kitchen

Yes, there’s caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts on it. Yes, it’s sitting in a pool of hot fudge sauce. Yes, it’s famous for a reason. (35 E 18th St., Manhattan)

43. Gelato at A.B. Biagi

There is plenty of great (and expensive) gelato in New York, but this friendly little shop in Nolita is worth seeking out. You can watch classic and not-so-classic flavors (try the white chocolate bergamot) being spun before your eyes in the shop’s glitzy Italian freezer. (235 Elizabeth St., Manhattan)

44. Ice Cream Cake at Parm

This towering slice of pistachio-strawberry-chocolate delight is made in-house and has the magical ability to transform a normal dinner into YOUR AWESOME BIRTHDAY! Keep an eye out for flavor variations like the Elvis (peanut butter, jelly, and banana). (248 Mulberry St., Manhattan)

Bonus: We scoped out a few of these spots IRL with New York Live:

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