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Brooklyn Farmacy
Photograph: Jolie Ruben Brooklyn Farmacy

The best soda fountains NYC families can't resist

Time to introduce your little ones to the tasty floats, malteds and egg creams at these classic soda fountains in NYC!

By Oliver Strand
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UPDATE: Events, venues, shops and restaurants in NYC have been cancelled or closed due to coronavirus. Some offerings here might be affected—if you're unsure, please call to confirm.

Everybody loves a soda fountain! Part ice cream parlor, part luncheonette, it’s the restaurant a kid would dream up. Where else do you find a menu with a dozen different kinds of sundaes—and where it would be strange if you didn't order some kind of dessert?

A visit to a soda fountain is a must for any city kid. Along with classic candy stores in NYC and the best ice cream shops in NYC, these awesome soda fountains guarantee a good time. So make a plan, save room for dessert and get your camera phone ready: These are some of the most amazing Instagrammable dessert spots in NYC!

Best Soda Fountains

1. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Carroll Gardens

Counter service, tile floors, ceiling fans: Brooklyn Farmacy is the picture book version of a soda fountain, the one you imagine when you dream of being served a root beer float served in a fountain glass. The room dates to the 1920s, but Brooklyn Farmacy opened in 2010, so it looks at the classics with fresh eyes. The fluffernutters and grilled cheeses and sundaes egg creams are made with great care, and with good ingredients. Most important, it will delight your little food critic. It doesn’t matter what you order, your kid will love every last taste.

Eddie's Sweet Shop
Photograph: Joanna Fantozzi

2. Eddie's Sweet Shop

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Forest Hills

Happy birthday, Eddie’s! This Forest Hills institution will turn 95 in 2020, which makes it the oldest operating ice cream shop in NYC—even the fridge could get a senior discount on a MetroCard. The soda fountain was already a classic when current owner Vito Citrano took it over in 1968, and he keeps the old traditions alive: All the ice cream is made inhouse. Even the hot fudge and caramel sauce are made by hand! If it was up to us, every New Yorker would be required to go to Eddie’s at least once.

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3. Dichter Pharmacy & Soda Shoppe

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Inwood

Manny Rameriz started working at Dichter’s as a delivery boy in 1982, when he was a student at Bronx Science High School. He took it over in 2007, becoming the caretaker of a neighborhood institution that opened in 1943. But Dichter’s isn’t a quaint nostalgia trip, it’s a busy pharmacy and lunch counter where members of the community come to grab a sandwich and a black and white cookie, or sit and linger over the Manny RX, a signature sundae big enough to share.

Lexington Candy Shop
Photograph: Michael Kirby

4. Lexington Candy Shop

Restaurants Diners Upper East Side

That storefront sign, that counter, those white uniforms: Lexington Candy Shop is the real deal and a New York original. Opened in 1925, this soda fountain and luncheonette is a time capsule from another era. So what if the ice cream isn’t artisanal, and the chocolate syrup out of a squeeze bottle you could buy at a grocery store—you come here for the experience, a family snack after wandering around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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5. Hildebrandt’s

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Long Island

OK, so Hildebrandt’s isn’t in the five boroughs. But this soda fountain in Williston Park, Long Island, is so iconic that it’s worth a pit stop if you’re on the LIE—or even an excursion on the LIRR. This is where you go when you want to introduce your kid to the pleasures of a lime rickey, a malted shake, a marshmallow sundae. All the ice cream is made in house so that even the pie à la mode is special.

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