This weekend before you smear on the suntan oil or scoop out events in our Latin Summer Guide, head on over to the High Line Park and try a paleta from La NewYorkina. Founded by former pastry chef Fany Gerson, La NewYorkina brings you a sweet and refreshing way to beat the heat with flavors inspired by Gerson’s native Mexico.
Last spring, after traveling around Mexico researching traditional desserts for her first cookbook, Gerson returned to New York feeling a need, not just a want, to start a business that celebrated her culinary roots. She eventually landed on the idea of Mexican ice cream. “In Mexico paletas are representative, they’re in all the towns, like gelato in Italy,” she said. She got help from a friend and they started making and selling paletas at the Hester Street Market with non-traditional flavors like mango-piquín and avocado. The reviews started pouring in and LaNewYorkina was born.
A year later, Gerson continues to make a splash. This past June, she published her second cookbook Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas. She sells ice creams and aguas frescas in the New Amsterdam market with exciting flavors like queso fresco y fresas and nieve de jalapeño. She’s in the High Line Park every day, always surrounded by a cluster of tourists and locals, who flock to her cart like bees to honey. On a particularly auspicious weekend, the line of customers stretches for blocks, and she sells up to 1600 paletas in one day. Her near future plans involve expanding her paleta reach into City Hall and Rockaway Beach.
Gerson prepares her paletas in a commercial kitchen downtown. She arrives at 4 p.m. working through the night until 1 a.m., sometimes even 5 a.m. On the day we spoke, she had just filled a catering order (she also makes booze-spiked paleta flavors like mojito), stopped by the Essex Market to pick up her Latin ingredients, including papaya, pineapple, mango, and cucumber, as well as printed aprons, before arriving in the kitchen to “start” her day.
She attributes much of her dedication and passion to her Dad. “They taught us as kids to follow something and watch it grow,” she said. “I realized there were things that I wanted to do, so I did it. It’s also empowering, you know?”
For $4 a pop, pick up a bright paleta and delight in nostalgic Latin flavors, like Gerson’s best-selling mango-chili, coconut, papaya-passionfruit or tamarind—and don’t forget to sprinkle the chile piquín. Near West 23rd street every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.