Ice-cream addict Lisa Perkovic gets her just desserts on the streets of New York City.
We've trekked around Downtown alleys searching for long-gone book stores, gazed longingly at wares on 5th Avenue and just completed a humiliating jaunt around Central Park in an ageing horse-drawn carriage. It's only 5pm in the city that never sleeps and one half of this duo is ready to pack it in.
Like many first-timers to New York City, I've planned the itinerary down to the hour and can't afford to lose momentum. The unfortunate bookshop closure has left us with time to kill before the curtain rises on an 8pm musical. After four days of non-stop sightseeing, the carefully collated itinerary has done double-duty as a napkin, soaking up grease from an authentic street vendor hot dog.
We're standing on the corner of 5th and 59th streets, across from toy store FAO Schwarz. The steady stream of children going inside trigger something in my memory. An image is forming and it is looking good. Ice-cream. Lots of ice-cream.
Some people love a young French cheese, others go gaga over a vintage wine but for me, ice-cream is the perfect palate-cleansing treat. Mentions of Serendipity3 - in tabloid pages, novels and movie scenes - have put the quaint cafe on my dessert radar.
The topic is broached cautiously with my travel partner. Focusing more on the famous patrons and eluding questions of what's on the menu, I'm given the go-ahead.
Without the trusty list of New York hot spots, desperate times call for desperate measures. Surely the jovial bellman at FAO Schwarz has heard of the place?
With some vague directions that encompass half of the Upper East Side, we set off. Striding along purposefully, we discuss the menu options and it's decided there'll only be one of us eating. After an hour searching we've both worked up an appetite and finding the pokey shop front doesn't feel too serendipitous. But according to the signs, the name means "the art of making happy discoveries" and true to form, I know we'll be leaving happy.
Serendipity3 is a fairy cave with a 19th-century interior decorator. Clocks, lamp shades and fairy lights festoon the walls. Patrons dig into cauldron-sized goblets of the house speciality, Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. Forgetting the jumbo plastic menu, I spy my neighbour's old-school sundae and shout: "I'll have what he's having."
Luckily it's not the Golden Opulence Sundae. For $US1000 ($1153) this Guinness World Record holder brings new meaning to decadent dessert. I've missed out on rare Chuao chocolate, truffles and golden Grand Passion caviar but am dazzled by what arrives on the table.
The Forbidden Broadway Sundae is a mound of vanilla ice-cream drowned in hot fudge with a chunk of appropriately named chocolate Blackout cake on the side. It doesn't make me blackout but my knees definitely buckle out in the cold January night.
Weaving down the street there's a smile on my face as I savour the tastiest bite to take from the Big Apple.