We're only 3 days away from football, the official start of fall, plus Pumpkin spice lattes have already been available at Starbucks for weeks, and soon it will be time to start working on our chili recipes. However, it's still crazy hot outside and the end of air conditioned days still feels like a far off dream, so for our very first edition of NYC Huskers favorite things we're bringing you a list of our top ice cream recommendations in New York City.
Aside from a love of Nebraska, it's hard to get the NYC Huskers board to agree on much of anything, but when tasked with the question of where to find the best ice cream in the city, we were surprisingly unanimous on our two top picks - Big Gay Ice Cream and Ample Hills Creamery.
In my early years in New York City there was just one location of Ample Hills Creamery on Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn, and once upon a time a group of NYC Huskers trekked all the way there to buy pints of ice cream to take to a baby shower in an entirely different party of the city. Over the past 4 years they've been popping up everywhere with 8 locations currently in the Boroughs, and they are expanding nationally as well. According to the Ample Hills website - " We opened Ample Hills Creamery in the Spring of 2011, terrified no one would show up, and wholly unprepared for when they did.... We dedicated ourselves to making ice cream the old-fashioned way, slowly, by hand.....(our) playful, whimsical flavors reflect the creativity of our Amployees, the vibrancy and spirit of our community, and our daily pledge to not take life too seriously – or at least ice cream." We took a trip to the Gowans location after the B1G cornhole tournament where we picked up some of our favorites flavors - Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, The Munchies and Snap Mallow Pop! - but if you asked me to pick my favorite flavor, I'd still trek to the original Vanderbilt location for The Commodore, one of their "inspired by the neighborhood" flavors only available at individual locations.
After starting as an Ice Cream truck in 2009, Big Gay Ice Cream currently has 2 New York City locations, one in the East Village, one in the West Village, with another opening soon at the South Street Seaport. According to their website - "Big Gay Ice Cream spins a new take on the old school ice cream parlor experience by mixing high quality ingredients with guilty pleasures, traditional flavors with the unexpected, and a youngster's imagination with an adult's know wink and satirical tongue. It's both for kids and for those of us who are kids at heart." Their names are punny and creative, the dipped soft serve cones are very instagram-able, and best of all, it's delicious! NYC Huskers did not make a group trip here specifically for this blog post (though now that we've been talking about it, a trip is definitely on the to-do list) but our consensus on the must-try items are the Salty Pimp and the Bea Arthur.
If you're heading for ice cream before the summer is over, these would definitely be our top picks, but if you're looking for more off the beaten path options (and one equally as mainstream), here were our runner-ups for our NYC Huskers favorite things:
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream - Multiple Locations - You can also pick up pints at most local grocery stores (Big Gay Ice Cream and Ample Hills Creamery are also available in pints at many local grocery stores). The Honeycomb is EXCELLENT!
Mikey Likes It - East Village and Harlem - Try the rotating flavor of the month
Taiyaki NYC - Chinatown and Williamsburg - Fish shaped cones make for the best ice cream photos