LANDMARKS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Le Parker Meridien, 56th St. atrium lobby
119 West 56th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Daily through January 3, free
gingerbread extravaganza slideshow
Gingerbread dates back thousands of years, to the time of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. In the late sixteenth century, Queen Elizabeth I had gingerbread cookies designed to look like visiting guests. In the early seventeenth century, German families would pick up gingerbread creations in the Christlindlmarkt, baked by the Lebkuchler. And in 1812, the Brothers Grimm published “Hansel and Gretel,” a story of two children who get trapped by a witch in a house made of gingerbread and candy. The result is that wonderfully designed gingerbread cakes and cookies have become a longtime Christmas tradition in America. And fantastical gingerbread houses have now become a tradition at Le Parker Meridien in Midtown Manhattan, where the third annual Gingerbread Extravaganza continues through January 3. This year’s theme is “Landmarks Around the World,” with a half dozen inventive constructions made out of gingerbread. Baked Ideas has built a fabulous white-iced version of the Lincoln Memorial, featuring the sixteenth president keeping warm with charming blue earmuffs and mittens, looking rather regal in his blue bowtie. Hell’s Kitchen dessert bar Kyotofu has re-created the Edo-era Toji Tower, a World Heritage Site. Butterfly Bakeshop has constructed a gingerbread model of the Mayan city Chichen Itza. Rolling Pin Productions and Park Slope’s Aperitivo restaurant have designed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Sphinx of Giza — with a fondant Santa hat. Downtown’s North End Grill has come up with a model of Scotland’s historic Urquhart Castle, complete with the Loch Ness Monster rising from the water. And Le Parker Meridien’s own Norma’s has hoisted “Hurri-Crane,” a depiction of the dangling crane that hovered over Midtown after Sandy hit, surrounded by police cars, fire trucks, and curious onlookers. (There appears to have been a seventh entry, David Burke’s Chrysler Building, but it doesn’t seem to have made it.) The event is a fundraiser for City Harvest; visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite gingerbread display, with individual ballots available for one dollar each or five dollars for eight. One winning voter will win a five-day trip to the Parker Palm Springs in California.