What Is It: N.Y.C.’s buzzy new Museum of Ice Cream
Who Tried It: Grace Galivanes, features writer-reporter
I really, really love ice cream, which I guess isn’t saying much since most people with a pulse share this opinion — especially in the sweltering summer heat. Regardless, I was super-psyched when the opportunity to preview N.Y.C.’s new Museum of Ice Cream came about…so much so that I squealed when the invite popped into my inbox. “Yes, of course! Yes!” I said out loud, before even opening the email.
On a humid Thursday afternoon — a.k.a. the most appropriate time to visit a museum dedicated to summer’s go-to dessert — I, along with my co-worker Lydia, made our way to N.Y.C.’s Meatpacking District to check out the museum, which is really only a pop-up that’s open to the public (tickets go for $18 per person) from July 29th through August 31st.
Since this was most likely going to be our only visit — tickets for the attraction were already sold out — we decided to make the most of it and to experience every little offering this one-of-a-kind gem had to offer.
Upon entering, we were greeted with a large neon sign above a counter where our complimentary ice cream would be served.
Each week, the pop-up changes up its ice cream offerings, treating customers to signature flavors dreamt up by eateries like Black Tap, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream & Maman. For our visit, we got vanilla topped with agave, lime, marshmallows and Froot Loops — an unexpectedly perfect combo.
I’ll be honest, when I first read about the museum, I assumed the exhibit would mainly feature out-there paintings and sculptures of the dessert, accompanied by a free cone. While my assumption was proven right for the most part, it completely blew me away with its interactive stations.
After finishing up our scoops, we walked into the next room, which featured a bright pink wall adorned with waffle cones and a booth dedicated to edible balloons, which were being made for every attendee. The balloons were comprised of different sugars and blown up with helium before being served on a stick. The balloon, which is said to be sweet and have a texture reminiscent of plastic, also leaves those who try out the treat with a high-pitched, squeaky voice due to the helium.
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What followed was the chocolate chamber, a dark room that featured screens on its walls that played clips of melting chocolate, as well as a chocolate fountain, and two bowls filled with dark chocolate candies — you know, in case the initial burst of the chamber’s scent left you craving something sweet. It was a great midday pick-me-up.
The next room was hands down, without a doubt, my favorite of the entire exhibit: the sprinkle-filled pool. Sadly, it wass not comprised of actual sprinkles (which would melt into a real mess), but brightly colored plastic beads. That didn’t ruin the magic for me. Lydia and I spent a good 10 minutes laughing, “splashing” around and throwing around pink beach balls. We channeled our inner kids again, which the “sprinkle pool lifeguard” told us is the pool’s main purpose.
After leaving the pool, we walked into another room, where an employee handed us a tiny berry pill that is said to manipulate our tastebuds into sensing bitter or sour tastes as sweet. The effect would last 30 minutes, she said. We were then given a waffle cone, topped with pink vanilla ice cream and two slices of lemon. Curious to see if the pill actually worked, we tried out the lemon slices … and they tasted just like candy. It made me wish I had packed lemon wedges for lunch; they would have served as the perfect guilt-free dessert.
I literally felt like a kid in a candy store (or ice cream shop, in this case) at the pop-up museum, a feeling so many of us are quick to dismiss as we get older. I, personally, wouldn’t trade that carefree feeling for anything — well, except maybe for a lifetime supply of ice cream and those magical berries. Maybe.