When it's July 4th weekend and it's this hot, a man's thoughts turn to ice cream.
With the temperature and humidity levels ridiculously high this weekend, I am pleased to report that the Otto ice cream cart is back at the NW corner of Washington Square Park. I ordered a half lemon, half coconut cup last week and got a half lemon, half vanilla instead, but it didn't matter. This is truly great ice cream, made by Meredith Kurtzman at Otto, where the gelati and sorbetti are almost uniformly sublime. Otto is definitely one of the great NY ice cream spots.
Here are my other favorites:
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory:
OId-fashioned ice cream (in an incomparable setting overlooking the East River) made in a classic Thompson ice cream machine by Mark Thompson (no relation). I'm crazy about the strawberry, butter pecan or the chocolate, which is made from Scharffenberger cocoa and other good stuff. BROOKLYN ICE CREAM FACTORY -- Fulton Ferry Landing Pier, Old Fulton Street (Water Street); (718) 246-3963. Best flavors: vanilla, strawberry, and peach.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato: The original Ciao Bella ice cream maker Jon Snyder plies his trade here, and the results are often astonishingly good. -- $2.75, 95 Orchard Street (Broome Street); (212) 343-9922. Current faves: hazelnut and sesame.
Ciao Bella: So Snyder's not around anymore. They're a little more corporate, but most of the ice creams are still damn good. I'm addicted to the malted milk ball ice cream. CIAO BELLA GELATO -- $2.50, 285 Mott Street (between Houston and Prince Streets, and at two other locations); (212) 431-3591. Best flavors: mint and malted milk ball.
Cones: Two Argentinian brothers who know their way around a gelato machine. I'm partial to the dark chocolate and the fruit flavors.
Shake Shack: I know people are sick of hearing about Shake Shack these days, but it's still the home of the best frozen custard in NY. I usually just get a small cup of vanilla, but their toppings are outrageously good and the shakes are even better. I had a coffee shake there yesterday that just blew me away.
ELI'S MANHATTAN -- $2.75, 1411 Third Avenue (80th Street); (212) 717-8100. Best flavor: cookies and cream.
Of course, you can never go wrong with Haagen-Dazs or Sedutto's ice cream, which you can find all over NYC.
For more on ice cream see my piece in the Times from a few years ago.