B has now been at school for just over a week, and is working hard on equations and models and all sorts of complicated looking things which I have no understanding of whatsoever. Most of his time at home is spent at his desk with papers everywhere and his head in his hands, in true academic style. I've taken it upon myself to make sure that he spends enough time away from his desk every day. The word 'ice-cream' is the most effective way of getting him out the apartment that I've found so far.
At the end of a walk down to Brooklyn Bridge Park on a hot September weekend, you are instantly rewarded with the most spectacular views of Manhattan across the river. I have to pinch myself every time to realise that this scene isn't a filmset, it's real life. And then the post-walk reward increases dramatically as you join the queue for ice-cream.
Conveniently situated at 'our' end of the park, on Pier 5, is Ample Hills Creamery. A second branch of this ice-cream shop (those of you who follow me on Instagram will be all too aware of this fact) was one block down from the grotty apartment we stayed in for a couple of weeks when we first arrived in New York: we'll always think of Ample Hills as the happiest ice-cream shop in the world that kept us smiling (and cooled us down) in an exhausting and challenging first fortnight in this crazy city.
This ice-cream store has the most fantastic range of flavours for us sweet-toothed human beings: Snap, Mallow Pop; Salted Crack Caramel; Chocolate Milk and Cookies; Ooey Gooey Butter Cake... They've all been tried. They're all magical.
Please make sure you don't miss out on their handmade cones. You could be a boring grown up (as B was before he came here), and have your ice-cream in a cup, or you could have it in a standard sugar cone, or you could pay just a little bit more (believe me, it's worth it), for a handmade, chocolate-chip cookie, M&M or Pretzel cone. Just try it, you won't look back. Your view on ice-cream cones will be changed forever. Ask B if you don't believe me.
You'll need to start eating quickly to avoid ice-cream disaster, mess, and wastage as the sun does its best to work against your efforts to stop it dripping down your hand on to the floor. But do try to walk and eat, walk and eat, and make it to the end of the pier with your ice-cream.
Take a seat on the neon orange bench and eat away while gazing over at Brooklyn Bridge, at Manhattan, and maybe also turn around to watch the
football soccer matches going on behind you too.
We strolled back home, full of sugar and cream, along Atlantic Avenue, pass the Graffiti scene of the road and park, dipping in and out of the vintage and antique shops, before B declared he really did need to get back to work now. Ice-cream break time was over.
Ample Hills Creamery, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5, Brooklyn, NY 11201. See here for other locations.