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Double Scoop

Manhattan's Best Artisanal Ice Cream
  • van leeuwen

    Van Leeuwen ice cream (Images courtesy of Anna Schrod and Martin Adolfsson)

  • dream

    Beach Lounge at the Dream Downtown

  • kelvin

    Kelvin’s Natural Slush truck and ginger slush at the Beach Lounge

  • Standard

    Fresh gelato and sorbet at the Standard High Line

  • melt

    Melt Bakery on the High Line

  • crosby

    Crosby Street Bar

  • Chambers

    Momofuku Milk Bar at the Chambers Hotel (Images courtesy of Elizabeth Leitzell)

  • mercer

    Mercer Street Kitchen desserts

  • james

    David Burke Kitchen’s Monkey Bread at the James Hotel

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

On the Atlantic coast, where the Hudson and East rivers meet the sea.

WHY GO

This is one of just a handful of cities with a genuine shot at the title of Capital of the World. If it isn’t happening in New York, it isn’t happening.

HOW

It’s practically impossible to avoid — all roads, rails and flight paths in the eastern U.S. seem to lead to New York.

TABLET TIP

Try to see the city’s much-vaunted attitude as a positive rather than a negative. Rarely will a New Yorker leave you wondering what he really thinks.

New York City, August, 2013

Let’s face it: we’re never too old for ice cream, especially during these blisteringly hot New York summers. One way to get through (and perhaps even enjoy) an epic heat wave is with some sweet frozen treats downtown. Typical old-school ice cream trucks abound, but more and more places are putting their own sophisticated spins on the beloved summer staple — and they don’t require listening to an endless loop of “Pop Goes the Weasel” while you wait in line.

It may be hard to refrain from gorging yourself on Belgian waffles during brunch at The Standard, High Line, but try to save some room for dessert. No meal here would be complete without one of their cooling gelatos or sorbets, made in house. Afterward, head down to the High Line for a post-meal stroll. The wildly popular elevated park is a gem, especially in summer, and a fine place to walk off some calories. Or to put some on, for that matter; no fewer than four ice cream and popsicle stands dot the mile-long park. The best is an outpost of Melt Bakery. Started by Julian Plyter, a former pastry chef at the Crosby Street Hotel, Melt concocts treats like the Ethereal, a pair of pastis-crackle cookies with strawberry ice cream made from fresh local strawberries, and the Classic, a fail-proof combination of chocolate-chip-walnut cookies and vanilla ice cream.

The nearby Dream Downtown offers another way to cool off. The hotel’s rooftop Beach lounge, complete with a sparkling pool as its centerpiece, serves an irresistible spiked natural ginger slush. It’s the creation of the summer-treat masters behind Kelvin’s Natural Slush, whose roaming trucks seem to draw lines wherever they go — and for good reason. But while the nearby masses are lining up at street-level, those lounging poolside at the Dream can lean back and enjoy the rooftop breeze with an icy cocktail in hand, enough to keep cool on even the most scorching afternoon.

Though Chef Plyter has left Crosby Street for sweeter pastures, SoHo ice cream connoisseurs have more than a few forms of consolation. Steps from the Mercer Hotel and its Jean-Georges–run restaurant (with some serious frozen dessert offerings of its own) is the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck. Definitely not your average Mr. Softee, this pale yellow van cranks out artisanal ice cream made with high-quality local ingredients. Flavors range from tried-and-true favorites like vanilla or mint chip to the more exotic Ceylon cinnamon or Earl Grey tea.

For stranger flavors still, head uptown. Chambers, a hotel with a Midtown location but a Soho atmosphere, has an outpost of Momofuku Milk Bar right next door. Momofuku’s cereal-milk soft-serve tastes like pure nostalgia. Until you’ve tried it, it’s impossible to understand just how much it captures that childhood flavor of sweet milk at the bottom of a sugary cereal bowl.

At this point maybe it’s time for a real meal. The David Burke Kitchen at the James offers hearty — and, thankfully, intensely savory — American cuisine that will satisfy any appetite. After a prime porterhouse or dry-aged ribeye, you’ll need some assistance finishing off with dessert. There’s no better way to round out your sugar binge than with their toffee monkey bread, which serves two. Sure you could skip the whipped cream-, banana- and caramel-topped maple-pecan ice cream, but why would you? Just be warned: you may want it all to yourself.

Madeleine Steinberg

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CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

On the Atlantic coast, where the Hudson and East rivers meet the sea.

WHY GO

This is one of just a handful of cities with a genuine shot at the title of Capital of the World. If it isn’t happening in New York, it isn’t happening.

HOW

It’s practically impossible to avoid — all roads, rails and flight paths in the eastern U.S. seem to lead to New York.

TABLET TIP

Try to see the city’s much-vaunted attitude as a positive rather than a negative. Rarely will a New Yorker leave you wondering what he really thinks.

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