Ice Age: NYC's Frozen-Dessert Revolution
by Jonathan Zeller, 05/30/2012
The Soft Serve Fruit Co (left) and People's Pops. Photos: Laura Miller
It may seem like a trained monkey could operate a successful ice-cream shop during the blistering New York City summer. When it's 100 degrees outside, it's almost a reflex to pull out your wallet to pay for something—anything—cold and edible. But in the past few years, perhaps due to a marketplace crowded with people who figure that, as ice-cream maker Ben Van Leeuwen puts it, "[ice cream] is sort of a safe thing to try and sell," New York has witnessed an explosion in frozen-dessert innovation. Artisanal shops are using natural and organic ingredients, pushing boundaries by serving unusual flavors—durian, mastic and "Sunday Brunch," for example—and even creating new categories of dessert, including goat-milk ice cream and soft-serve fruit.