The imperial woodpeckers of western Mexico are feared extinct; today they're known primarily from museum specimens and postage stamps. In northern climes, the sno-balls of New Orleans are uncommon, too, so a sighting in the West Village is cause for excitement.
A sno-ball consists of a flurry of shaved ice flavored with syrup. A soft, fine texture, without crunch, is essential; Hansen's Sno-Bliz is the benchmark. Imperial Woodpecker's almond-scented "nectar cream" sno-ball (small, $5, plus $1 for condensed milk) passes with flying colors.
Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls
145 Seventh Ave. South (at Charles St.), New York