Where To Get A Paleta In NYC
The best spots in the city for Mexican ice pops in more flavors than you can keep track of.
Unless you have ice running through your veins, we assume you'd like an icy treat to offer some relief from the sweltering New York heat. Unfortunately, we haven’t been blessed with palaterias on every corner of the city yet, so you’re unlikely to stumble upon an avocado ice pop without some planning. Here are the best spots to grab a paleta or three.
La Newyorkina La Tiendita
Ever since La Newyorkina started doing summer popups in 2010, they’ve become the go-to spot for Mexican ice cream and desserts in NYC–or at least the first place most people think of when in desperate need of a paleta or nieves de garrafa on a hot day. They’ve taken a few major blows over the years, including a pandemic shutdown, but New York’s need for pineapple chile and horchata paletas endures. Their new shop in Red Hook is a cozy, colorful staple near the waterfront in Brooklyn (they also do seasonal pop ups throughout the summer) with flavors like coconut and oaxacan chocolate that are as crowd-pleasing as you’d expect. Considering the sweet-tooth behind the brand is Fany Gerson–creator of Dough and Fan Fan Donuts and author of three books on Mexican desserts including one straight up called Paletas–you can trust that even the more unique flavors like their roasted corn or queso fresco y fresas paletas don't disappoint.
Walk into any of Maya’s Snack Bar’s three locations, and you’ll feel a touch of Willy Wonka magic in the brightly colored walls and carefully constructed pina locas and tostilocos. Truthfully, we can’t tell you to go to this whimsical Mexican snack shop and only get a paleta, but they’re pretty damn good and should be included in every order. We always get the watermelon one because it’s super cute (with a little green and white ice on the bottom to emulate the fruit) and refreshingly fruity, but the oreo is a must, too. Two whole oreos are lodged in a milky paleta with flecks of chocolate, making a perfect frozen candy bar to cool you down. Really, anything you get here will look and taste like the best kiddie birthday party you’ve ever been to. For the ultimate cool-me-off-please combination, start with the crunchy cucumber snack pepinos locos, eat an oreo paleta in the shop, and grab a watermelon ice pop for the road.
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At this nondescript Bushwick deli, you’ll see kids running around impatiently until they discover the rainbow lineup of paletas sitting in the freezer. This deli deserves a shoutout for their selection of distinctly Mexican flavors you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere in the city. Go with the bright red grosella if you're in the mood for super sweet, but if you prefer something tart, cheesy nance fruit transforms into a surprisingly good icy treat. A creamier option is mamey–the fruit’s dense, silky flesh makes for something that’s like frozen pumpkin pie filling on a stick. But for the adult attempting to corral the kids into the car (and perhaps regretting letting them have dessert before dinner), rompope is key. It is frozen almond-y Mexican eggnog, and tastes like it has enough rum in it that it's almost (blissfully) inappropriate for an ice cream party.
Paleteria Los Michoacanos
The milk pops and water ices at this Corona paleteria are so deeply flavorful we’d eat them in a blizzard. Of the 30 milk-based options, the queso con zarzamora (cheese and blackberries) is one of their most popular flavors, and we can confirm that our love of cheese extends to the frozen variety. If you’re with friends, convince them to get the pine nut, rice pudding, and guava ones so you can try those too. If you’re dairy-free, or just can’t fathom putting anything in your body on an especially hot day but ice and more ice, their water ice pops are the perfect upgrade to an otter pop, except instead of running around with something bright blue that tastes like medicine, you’ll get tamarind-chili ice in your mouth before it melts. The shop gets crowded in the summertime, with people also filing in for scoops of gansito flavored ice cream, strawberry ice cream sandwiches, and other treats you'd shamelessly cut the line in front of a bunch of kids for.
Big Gay Ice Cream specializes in excellent soft serve while also having La Newyorkina’s most popular paleta flavors on deck. But in a fun New York ice cream collab, La Newyorkina helped develop a paleta just for Big Gay Ice Cream that is, of course, a rainbow of five fruit flavors that can be found at any location.