A jaded city girl takes her godson on a mission to sample Serendipity 3's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
If you’re an over-privileged child – or parent to one – in New York City, you’ve visited Serendipity 3 on the Upper East Side. My own memories of it are visceral: gaudy white furniture; gadgets begging to be broken; shrieking children’s voices piercing through the pleasure of my sugar high/brain freeze. Despite its extensive menu of sweet and savory dishes, Serendipity means but one thing to me: Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.
I wonder if this iconic treat will live up to my childhood recollections and make my pulse race. It being hot out makes me think that it might. It being a Saturday, and hence brimming with shrieking children, gives me anxiety.
When I call ahead to see if Serendipity serves alcohol, the hostess sounds genuinely apologetic as she says no. Instinctively I think of my antique sterling revolver-shaped flask (obviously inappropriate) and what alcohol would go best with a frozen hot chocolate (obviously bourbon).
I need a companion who doesn’t drink. There is no less dissipated soul to join me on my mission than my three-year-old godson, Charlie.
Upon arrival, I see the cave of stained glass and sparkling toys through Charlie’s young eyes. I am surprised to note that there are at least as many adults sipping confections through straws as there are children. Though Serendipity 3 has become best known in recent years for its celebratory soirées featuring the boldfaced young and affluent, it’s been a mecca for “sweet teeth” of all ages and persuasions since opening its doors in 1954. Celebrities from Jackie O. and Andy Warhol to Cary Grant and Grace Kelly have visited the New York institution to get their fix.
"it’s just as I remember: an icy soup of frozen cocoa shards capped in a whipped-cream crown..."
My godson is enamored by his first sip of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, using all four straws at once to maximize the sugar rush. I borrow one to try it, and it’s just as I remember: an icy soup of frozen cocoa shards capped in a whipped-cream crown, scrumptious and sweet. The combination of chocolate, wacky decor and children’s laughter is heady and appealing. I try to imagine Marilyn Monroe at the table beside us eating chicken salad and wearing nothing but a headscarf, trench coat and Chanel No. 5 – just as Serendipity’s owner described her visit to me. Now that would make anyone’s pulse race.