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Life on the High Line with Fany Gerson

Fany Gerson had already begun selling ice pops at her popular La Newyorkina stands when she learned Manhattan’s High Line park was adding food vendors to their 2011 summer season.  Gerson, an acclaimed pastry-chef and author of the James Beard nominated My Sweet Mexico, knew the competition would be fierce, but applied anyway and was quickly accepted.  I imagined all these people walking around with their colorful and delicious paletas.  I felt I just had to be there,” she says.  “I still can’t believe it.  I’m pinching myself that we’re there.”

One doesn’t need to go to far along the elevated freight rail line re-imagined as an idyllic promenade on the west side of Manhattan, to understand there are no accidents on the High Line.  Every design element lends itself to a truly unique urban experience - from the forbidding industrial spaces that wrap around every twist and turn of its 1.45 miles, to the grand stand platform that transforms passing traffic into live theater, to the delicate wildflowers peeking out between the rails and rivets.

La Newyorkina, inspired by Mexico’s famed paleterias, was a natural fit for the park that attracts enthusiastic international tourist.  Handmade with high quality, all-natural ingredients, her top sellers include cucumber-lime, passion fruit filled with chunks of kiwi, pineapple and orange, and pink limeade tinted with hibiscus flowers.  While European visitors opt for straightforward flavors like strawberry or chocolate, tourists from Asia and India love the revolving roster of unique combinations like mango-chili.  Now in their second season at the High Line, the paletas have gained their own following.  “New Yorkers really like the unusual flavors like avocado,” says Gerson.  “People are excited to see something they’ve had before and ask what we’re making next.”

As part of the High Line’s programming, La Newyorkina will host a children’s workshop on how to decorate the small sugar skulls that are part of Mexico’s Day of Dead celebrations in the fall.  Not limited to a single venue, her frozen treats are also sold at the Hester Street Fair, New Amsterdam Market, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, La Esquina, Marlow & Daughters, the Brooklyn Victory Garden and are coming soon to Rockaway Beach.  Gerson’s latest book Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Agua Frescas, generously includes many favorites.  If you miss La Newyorkina in the sky or on the street, you can always bring the colors and flavors of her wonderful paletas into your own kitchen.

Avocado Ice Pop

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 small ripe avocados
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Get the full recipe.

Hibiscus Raspberry Ice Pops

  • 2 cups hibiscus water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen

Get the full recipe.

 Hibiscus Cooler

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or more if needed

Get the full recipe.

Recipe and photos reprinted with permission from Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice, & Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson, copyright © 2011. Published by TenSpeed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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