Christmas in New York: Day 3 of 3 – Part 2

December 22, 2012

This is the final post in a four-post series about my trip to New York City. You can read about Day 1, Day 2 and Part 1 of Day 3 here.

I left Central Park in search of a place I could go inside and put my feet up, and found myself at Serendipity 3. The lineup was long and I heard the host taking names and telling people to come back in two hours or so. Wondering if a table for one could get me a shorter wait time, I put in my request and was surprised that the host seated me right away.


Now, it was never my intention to dine here solo. I have actually never gone out for a meal by myself before (that I can recall, anyway). But I knew I was in sort of a now-or-never moment, so I decided to go for it. The menu was huge but only had a few vegetarian options, so I ordered the spicy black bean burger for lunch (meh).

Serendipity’s Menu

And, of course, I had to sip away at one of their famous frozen hot chocolates. I would guess that meal consisted of twice my daily calories… but it was sooo good! No regrets.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

When I left, I was chilled to the bone. You know the feeling of being so cold that your insides shake? I could barely walk out of the restaurant. My shoes and socks were completely soaked through, from the rain, and my toque was only doing so much to keep my head dry. In this moment, I made a bit of an impulse purchase: that’s what happens when you walk past a Clarks store with a 25% off sign. I walked out of the store with a pair of boots and a dry pair of socks, feeling like a new person.

In heading towards Bryant Park, to meet the girls, I didn’t even realize that I was about to walk past Grand Central Terminal. Before noticing where I was, I walked by a girl about my age who quietly whispered, “excuse me?” I stopped and quickly realized how upset she looked. She began to tell me that she only had a couple dollars and desperately needed to get a ticket home to Stamford. Her boyfriend had just broken up with her and wouldn’t give her any money, and she wondered if I could spare anything to help her get home to her mom.

I’m not going to lie… my first reaction was that I didn’t trust her. I’m sure that stems from a) the fact that I was alone, and b) I’m a sucker for wanting to help people. But I looked into her eyes and just knew she was telling the truth. I was nervous to reach into my purse, but I did so carefully and with the intention of grabbing a $5 or $10 bill. When I pulled out a $20, I thought about putting it back… but I handed it to her and her reaction let me know I had made the right decision: she burst into tears and hugged me.

Grand Central Terminal

We went inside, where I quickly marvelled at the sight of the open room, and purchased her ticket. Before saying goodbye, we hugged and wished each other a Merry Christmas. I did tell her my name, and told her to look me up on Facebook, but I have yet to hear from her. If she ever happens to look me up and comes across this blog post, I hope she knows I have thought about her everyday since and that I sincerely hope she is ok.

Inside Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal Ceiling

After saying goodbye to her, I headed back in the direction of Bryant Park, stopping quickly in front of the New York City Public Library. I wish I had gotten there early enough to go inside because the building itself was absolutely stunning. Next time…

New York Public Library

Around 5:30pm, I met up with the girls at Bryant Park, where we stood under the big blue tree and marvelled at everyone on the ice skating rink.

Bryant Park

Even though Bryant Park was busy, I stopped for a good ten minutes and just soaked up how happy everyone seemed. There was a great mix of tourists and locals and they were all in good spirits. I can’t tell you how many pictures I was asked to take, before the girls showed up… but it was so fun to watch kids play with their parents and couples sneak in kisses on the rink.

Citi Pond at Bryant Park

One of the last things on our to-do list was to go inside Macy’s and walk through Santaland. If we hadn’t been so wet and tired, it might have been more enjoyable… but standing in line with screaming kids was not fun. We cut through the line about halfway through and walked out. Oh well, at least we went.


From Macy’s, we walked around until we finally found a Chinese food restaurant to eat dinner at. I was still a bit full from my frozen hot chocolate, but I ate a plateful of vegetable dumplings while the girls mowed down a couple hot dishes. At the end of our meal, we opened our fortune cookies and found that our fortunes were not actually fortunes at all; they were statements. Am I a total dork if I say that mine made me think of budgeting?

My Fortune

We finished eating around 8pm and decided it was time to head back to our apartment. En route, we realized we were staying just a few doors down from  The 40/40 Club, a sports club owned by Jay-Z. As it was hidden behind multiple closed doors, we weren’t sure that walking in in our jeans and sweaters would be appropriate… but we were pleasantly surprised to find it was nearly empty and the few people who were there (including a guy from Toronto) were also in jeans, etc.

After a couple hours of Sunday night football, I left the girls a little early, because I was the only one who had to work on Monday morning. I crawled out of bed just after 3am, showered, and woke the girls up. We left our little loft apartment before 5am, jumped on the plane, landed and it was back to work I went. I’m still in awe with how much we accomplished in just three days. My only regret is that we didn’t do Top of the Rock, but the rain on Day 3 would’ve ruined the view anyway.

Can you tell I’m in love with New York? I have, have, have to go back. Hopefully sooner than later.

Day 3 Spending: ~$269.00
Total Spending with Flight and Accommodation: ~$985.00 and worth every penny.

  • Rob December 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    What a beautiful way to end your bounteous year – helping another who was in need. Your $20 “karma investment” will be repaid to you several fold in time. Trust me.

    Dang but your picture of that frozen hot chocolate looks so downright decadent mmmmmmmmm !!! :-)

    • Cait December 30, 2012 at 10:32 am

      I had to help her; too many people did good things for me this year… I don’t know how NOT to do the same.

      And it was delicious!

  • Canadianbudgetbinder December 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Your spending wasn’t too bad for the day and it looks like you ventured around quite a bit. I must say that frozen hot chocolate looks pretty darn awesome mate. Thanks for sharing your journey to NYC! Mr.CBB

    • Cait December 30, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Thanks for reading!

  • Liquid December 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Hm, black bean burger, wonder what that tastes like. The lighting in the city looks gorgeous at night ;) It definitely seems like it was worth the money. Now I’m interested to visit NY as well.

    • Cait December 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Haha, the burger just wasn’t good… but you should definitely visit NYC!

  • eemusings December 29, 2012 at 5:01 am

    You did a good deed there Cait.

    I ate by myself for the first time in a proper restaurant this year when I went to Sydney. Felt a bit weird asking for a table for one but really everything was new and different so it was just another thing! As a natural lone wolf I enjoyed it just fine once I was seated (they were nearly full but I had walked a long way to get ther and didn’t mind sitting outside).

    • Cait December 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

      I also enjoyed it. I got to do a little reading, people-watch, etc. Was nice :)

  • B. (Below Her Means) December 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Helping that young woman was the right thing for your heart to do. If she misspent the money or lied, that’s her journey.

    • Cait December 30, 2012 at 10:34 am


  • munchkin December 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    that was really nice of you to help out that girl!
    P.s. Love all your pictures and hearing about New York. I want to visit some day as well!