Summer is here! Whether you’re soaking up the sun at a local beach, taking a dip in the city’s pools, or staying inside with air conditioning on full blast, you deserve ice cream. With so many great places in the city, it’s almost impossible to actually pick one. But we’re here to help. Ahead, find some of our favorite scoop shops in New York City, from the iconic (The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Big Gay Ice Cream) to the inventive (Malai, La Newyorkina).
Rendering by Edward M. Weinstein Architecture + Planning, courtesy of the LPC
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory will open a new stand in Dumbo, just steps from its former home at Fulton Ferry Landing. After 17 years of operation in the landmarked Marine Fire Boat Station, the ice cream shop was not chosen by the Brooklyn Bridge Park during last year’s request for proposals process. Instead, the organization went with Ample Hills Creamery as the building’s new tenant. But according to Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory filed plans with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to open a new stand across the street from its old home.
All photos courtesy of Costas Picadas
Last December, Ice Scream opened at the Mall at Bay Plaza, giving the Bronx its first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor. In addition to serving up futuristic frozen treats, the shop provides a fun and relaxing rest stop in between shopping. Founded by New Yorker Julien Albertini and Alina Pimkina, from Moscow, interior design firm Asthetíque specializes in luxury hospitality and residential design. Although developing a brand for a family business tailored to children was a totally new concept for Julien and Alina, the duo took on the design for Ice Scream and came up with a concept that “benefits society and makes peoples’ lives and businesses more beautiful and functional,” according to the designers.
Inspired by the 1980s Memphis design movement, Asthetíque has created a space for guests to have “plenty of Instagrammable moments.” From the ceiling’s coordinated light show to the fun mantras written in neon script throughout the 24-seat store (ie: “Ice Scream is better than therapy” and “Count your sprinkles, not your problems”), Ice Scream’s design not only provides a spot for families to make memories, but as a declaration that the “Bronx can contribute to the world of design.” For its innovative and playful ice cream parlor design, Asthetíque was a winner in the 46th annual IIDA Interior Design Competition this year. Ahead, see inside the eye-catching ice cream parlor and hear from Julien and Alina on the brand development process.
This summer, Brooklyn ice cream phenomenon Ample Hills opened NYC’s largest ice cream factory in Red Hook. Founders Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith wanted “to create a place where people from all over the world could come together, share a scoop and learn the magic behind making ice cream.” From a single cart in Prospect Park eight years ago to the new 15,000-square-foot factory, museum, and shop that can produce 500,000 gallons of ice cream a day, Ample Hills certainly has delivered on this goal.
6sqft recently visited the factory and, of course, had a sampling of all the whimsical flavors (including the factory’s signature flavor that is an homage to the Dutch settlers of Red Hook). We also took a tour of the space with Ample Hills’ creative director Lauren Kaelin, who designed the space’s interactive 22-foot-wide map of Brooklyn and educational exhibits. She took us behind-the-scenes in both the ice cream production side and the bakery (Ample Hills makes all its mix-ins by hand) and filled us in on some secrets of the sweet company.
Ben (left), Laura and Pete in their UWS store
Ten years ago, with $60,000 on hand and no factory, Laura O’Neill and Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen decided to operate an ice cream truck in New York City. Instead of using gum stabilizers and fillers, they wanted to make their ice cream with all-natural, pure ingredients. The trio, none of whom have a culinary background, started testing ice cream recipes in the kitchen of their shared Brooklyn apartment. Today, Van Leeuwen has grown into a multimillion-dollar, multi-city dessert empire with numerous trucks and brick-and-mortar stores throughout NYC and Los Angeles.
Van Leeuwen remains known for its rich and delicious vegan flavors, which hit their menu about five years ago. With a formula of raw cashews, extra virgin coconut oil, pure cocoa butter, coconut cream, and organic cane sugar, the ice cream is beloved by vegans and non-vegans. “It’s not just good vegan ice cream–it’s incredible ice cream that happens to be vegan,” Laura told us. Pete, Ben, and Laura recently gave us a tour of one of their new NYC stores, a small pastel-painted shop on the Upper West Side. Ahead, hear from Laura about Van Leeuwen’s humble start in Brooklyn, the decision-making-process behind new flavors, and plans to expand even further.
6sqft’s series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the Boerum Hill home of Ample Hills founders Jackie and Brian. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
If you’ve ever indulged in an Ample Hills ice cream cone, you know that their fanciful flavors (Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, the Munchies, and Snap Mallow Pop, just to name a few!) are perfectly matched by the Brooklyn company’s whimsical shops. But founders Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith definitely didn’t grow in seven years from their first storefront in Prospect Heights to nine locations, including one in Disney World, and a forthcoming Red Hook factory where they’ll produce 1 million gallons a year, without a lot of hard work and business smarts.
And it’s this combination of playfulness and attention to detail that they’ve carried over to their adorable Boerum Hill home, which they moved into two years ago with their eight-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. A triplex in a quintessential Brooklyn brownstone, their home has cheery pops of color, mid-century-modern furnishings, and an eclectic mix of decor and family mementos. 6sqft recently visited the couple to tour their space, hear why they love Brooklyn, and learn about Ample Hills’ plans.
Häagen-Dazs’ store in the Bronx, via Yelp
Despite its European-sounding name, Häagen-Dazs is actually born and bred right here in New York. In fact, there’s a fascinating history behind how the brand reached national success under a seemingly random title, picked by two immigrants from Poland. It all started in 1921, when the Polish Jewish couple Reuben and Rose Mattus emigrated to New York, according to Atlas Obscura. They worked for the family’s ice cream business, selling fruit ice and ice cream pops from a horse-drawn wagon in the busy streets of the Bronx. In the 1960s, Reuben and Rose struck out on their own, starting an ice cream company with three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee.
If you’re walking on East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A or in the West Village on 7th Avenue near Christopher Street and see a long line on the sidewalk coupled with smiling faces walking by with ice cream cones, you’ve found Big Gay Ice Cream. The two shops are places where ice cream is not scooped, but swirled, in offerings that have become famous not only for their imaginative ingredients, but their fabulous names. There’s the Bea Arthur, named after the “Golden Girls” actress and activist, comprised of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed ‘nilla wafter; the Cococone with chocolate ice cream and toasted curry coconut; and perhaps their most well-known, the Salty Pimp, made up of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and a chocolate dip.
One of the visionaries behind Big Gay is Douglas Quint, who, along with Bryan Petroff, founded the business in 2009. While it started out as a summer experiment when the two opened an ice cream truck, it quickly developed into something much bigger (a third location recently opened in Philadelphia and the duo published a cookbook last year). 6sqft recently spoke with Douglas to discuss all the magic that takes place at Big Gay, including how the flavors come to be, their three locations, and the best time to stop by for a cone.
Blue Marble co-founders Alexis Gallivan (L) and Jennie Dundas (R) in one of their scoop shops, via Blue Marble
Spring may have taken its time this year, but the sun is shining, the trees are finally starting to bloom, and this means one thing–it’s officially ice cream season. If you’re looking for the perfect local scoop, which also happens to be consciously sourced and organic, then you might just stop by Blue Marble Ice Cream’s Cobble Hill or Prospect Heights shops or pick up one of their pints on your next grocery store trip.
Blue Marble Ice Cream was co-founded in 2007 by former roommates turned entrepreneurs Jennie Dundas and Alexis Gallivan. For Jennie and Alexis, who originally connected on Craiglist, a love of ice cream inspired them to open a scoop shop. And while neither had a business background, they were determined and opened up in Brooklyn. Fast forward several years, and Blue Marble is ready to expand nationwide after being picked up by a number of major supermarket chains. On a local scale, they’re part of a wave of businesses helping to transform Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, something of which the company is extremely proud.
We recently spoke with Jennie to get the scoop on Blue Marble’s founding, its headquarters in Industry City, and of course, to find out why ice cream is everyone’s favorite warm-weather (or year-round!) treat.