May Your Every Step Be Sweet

Back on our honeymoon, when we were denied the chance to go to an ice cream shop that Katie had fondly remembered as a kid, we decided (at the recommendation of our concierge) to go to Serendipity 3, on 60th. As has frequently been the case since the movie prominently featuring the place came out, it was over an hour wait to get a table. This was, to put it mildly, ridiculous.
As we began to walk back down 60th towards the hotel, we passed a large colorful glass storefront. We decided to go in. And from there, it was practically written in stone: Dylan’s Candy Bar was now one of our favorite places in the city.
I realize that it was recently featured on an episode of Unwrapped, and that the 5 minute segment on it will give you a better feel for the store than my little textual blog entry will, but maybe I can capture at least slightly why it’s so fantastic.
I am quite fond of candy. I don’t know anyone who isn’t. From childhood to my current age, candy has played an integral role in my life. Everyone loves Halloween, for instance. The pains from doctors and dentists are tempered with sweets. Valentines Day exists almost entirely for chocolate consumption.
So when you walk into some place like Dylan’s, which looks exactly like Willy Wonka’s giant room with the chocolate river did – only smaller and a bit more commercialized and with Oompa Loompas only in candy form – your eyes will involuntarily light up. And you will instantly go off exploring.
Perhaps you’ll hit the ice cream area, where you can add practically any candy to the ice cream. Of course, if you’re ordering Birthday Cake ice cream, who needs added sugar?
Perhaps you’ll go to the bulk candy area, where there’s gummy everything and chocolate covered everything else. The gummy bears are sorted by flavor, folks.
Maybe you’ll wander down the candy-filled steps into the lower area, where there are giant fortune cookies, Tootsie Pop topiaries for sale, every color of M&Ms available, candy-scented makeup and clothing, and even things you won’t ever see anywhere else – primarily a flavored M&M-like candy from the Jelly Belly people.
The TVs run old candy ads. The music system plays songs like Pour Some Sugar On Me and Candy Girl. There is a giant chocolate rabbit (plastic, thankfully) in the center of the store. The tables you can eat the ice cream at are full of gumballs. The seats look like peppermints. And don’t get me started on the Pez section.
I don’t think it’s possible to walk into this store and not smile at least once. At a time when the real world can be utterly depressing and sad, it’s a relief to me to know that there’s still one place that’s magical enough to make everyone in it happy.
So if you’re ever in NYC – and if you come into NYC and don’t tell me, I’ll garrote you – make sure you stop at the corner of 60th and 3rd. It’s worth the trip.