i can’t get a carton of milk in my Brooklyn neighborhood (aka Dumbo) without a hike, but there are 10 places where I can get ice cream within a few blocks. (I am not including anything that can be bought in a deli or bodega as that wouldn’t be a big deal.)
Probably the most famous place is the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, situated in a landmark former fireboat house on the pier at the corner of Old Fulton and Water Street. Unlike the over-rated pizza up the street at Grimaldi’s, this is something worth waiting in line for. If you have to stand in line, this is a very scenic and historic place to be, as the Brooklyn Bridge hovers above you, the glories of Manhattan extend before you, and the flashes from Asian wedding photo shoots make every day and night sparkle. It’s a great spot for people-watching.
And if you really enjoy people-watching, a few feet away is another stand serving the same ice cream on the pier. You can stand on your line and enjoy the sight of dozens of patrons as they order and finish their cones, before your line starts to move.
Personally I have never understood why people stand in that line when the fresh cones are beckoning so closely in front of them. Maybe they think that ice cream tastes better if you wait?
Just kidding. I know they are tourist losers.
Jacques Torres Ice Cream (62 Water Street) This is without question the best ice cream in the neighborhood, as it is part of the world-famous Jacques Torres gourmet chocolate empire, and next door to his factory and store. This is truly ice cream as a work of art. There is only one problem: they are almost never open, and the times when they are open are a carefully guarded secret. Pick any time when you think it would be a good idea to have an ice cream shop open. Say 7 pm on a Saturday night, or 12:30 on a nice Sunday afternoon. They’ll probably be closed. Even though the sign says they’re supposed to be open, they’ll be closed. But if you happen to be walking down Water Street for some other reason, stop, because this is something you won’t want to miss.
At the southwest corner of new Brooklyn Bridge Park, to the left of the pier, you will often see a lonely guy sitting next to his Blue Marble ice cream cart reading a book. By the time anybody gets to him, they have probably already eaten their fill of ice cream elsewhere (although they do bang-up business when there is a special event in the park). That said, this is some of the best ice cream you can get in the neighborhood, and like most of the ice cream listed on on this page, it is MADE IN BROOKLYN, USA!
There is a war going on between two soft ice cream trucks on Old Fulton Street. Sometimes Mr. Softee has the spot and sometimes the fake Mr. Softee has the spot. If the fake Mr. Softee is there and you have a yen for this kind of thing, it’s worth heading a few blocks north until you find the real Mr. Softee, because the fake Mr. Softee blows.
Kosher ice cream at The Landing at Fulton Ferry, Old Fulton and Everitt. When I pass this sign every day, I always imagine a Rabbi with an apron scooping away , but this is just pre-packaged ice cream in a freezer, sold in a nearby courtyard, where hot dogs are offered for sale. For some reason, Brooklyn Bridge Park is very popular with Chasidim, who come in by the busload, so maybe that’s the reason for these products are being so prominently advertised in this way.
GELATO! There is excellent gelato in front of the new Italian restaurant /wine bar at 7 Old Fulton Street and if you go a few blocks down Front Street to Rice (at 81 Washington) you can buy take-out gelato just like on Mott Street!
Maybe this is pushing it, but there is an unnamed tourist store across from our apartment called and they have a freezer full of stuff. It is no worse than what’s on display at the Kosher Ice cream store and they have gelato!
So tell me… anybody else have so many dfferent kinds of ice cream available within a few blocks of their house? Comments???