Old World Ice Cream Parlors

Old World Ice Cream Parlors

Photo of The New York Times

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Scoop

8 Places
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    Johnny Air Mart, a Filipino market in the East Village, for a tub of Magnolia ice cream, produced by a California-based company run by a Filipino-American family. Cross your fingers that they have macapuno ube, coconut mixed with sweet purple yam.
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    The Greek owners of Fresco Gelateria, in the East Village, honor their roots with a beautifully light goat cheese fig gelato, with the fluffiness of goat cheese and just enough honey and fig to approach rather than fully embrace sweetness.
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    Thai ice creams tend to be more crystalline and sweeter, at least the ones found at SkyIce in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which does well with evanescent flavors like cucumber lime and lychee rose.
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    Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has the scenic advantage of a cinematically claustrophobic Chinatown block. Scoops are wildly generous. Zen Butter captures the essence of cold sesame noodles without their slickness.
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    Sundaes and Cones started out in Brooklyn, before moving to the East Village. Here green tea yields just enough bitterness to prove its origins; black sesame tastes more exactingly of its title ingredient than any I’ve had.
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    Sweet Dynasty, next to a gas station on a noisy avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, favors the standard voluptuous American style of ice cream, in flavors like purple taro (almost a deeper, rounder vanilla) and red bean.
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    Try to scoop up the ice cream & it stretches upward, tugging at the spoon, resisting. The tackiness comes from a base of kashta, Lebanese clotted cream, skimmed off the top of boiled & slowly cooling milk & mixed with glassy teardrops of mastic resin.
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    Only three stops from Lower Manhattan, folks. It has three flavors of kulfi to get giddy over: malai (in which the rich milk reduction is steeped with cardamom pods), pista (pistachio, with a nubby rind of nuts) and kesar (saffron, the lushest).
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