By Terry Trucco
After Occupy Wall Street could Occupy North Pole be far behind? Hey, elves have issues, too. And they’re writ large in gingerbread, gumdrops, icing and candy canes on a stand-out gingerbread house on view in the third annual show of gingerbread creations – houses and otherwise – at Le Parker Meridien hotel.
Brandishing signs like “Make Candy Not War” and “Visions of Sugar Plums Won’t Feed My Elfin Kids!!” cookie elves voice their demands peaceably atop mounds of white icing in front of Santa’s merrily decorated gingerbread workshop by Tribeca Treats, a specialty bakery.
Clad in immense plexiglass boxes, seven fanciful creations by Manhattan restaurants and bakeries occupy the hotel’s back lobby through January 6. Unlike like last year’s exhibition themed to movies set in New York, bakers this year could cook up anything they liked. Though nothing towers like last year’s King Kong, cleverness abounds.
We love Just My Type, a gigantic green typewriter rising amidst a scattering of alphabet gingerbread cookies by Baked Ideas (the sheet of fondant paper at the ready is a nice touch). The witch, tamed into a gingerbread cookie, in Cupcake Café’s Come on to My House (Gretel’s Temptation), makes us smile. And for economical elegance, kudos to Happy Times, a winsome grandfather’s clock straight out of The Nutcracker, planted in a field of Nekkos by Soutine Bakery.
Two entries indulged in autobiography. Olson Manor, a designer gingerbread house camera ready for Architectural Digest with a lake, a welcome mat and iced skis parked against an edible wall, salutes Nancy Olson, pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern. And Mini Parker by Norma’s restaurant, a witty dollhouse rendering of Le Parker Meridien, respects the details, down to gingerbread tables in the restaurant and iced flatpanel TVs in the bedrooms.
As for the good-looking Central Park Boathouse by BLT Steak, the details are spot on even if the house is rendered in plywood and paint instead of batter (no plexiglass case for this entry).
Visitors can support their favorites for $1 a pop. The concierge desk sells tickets with proceeds going to City Harvest, a local charity that collects unused food from restaurants and distributes it to the hungry. When the gingerbread comes down, expect two winners – best in show and one lucky ticket holder who scores five nights at the Parker Palm Springs, Le Parker Meridien’s left coast resort.
Want more? Check out Le Parker Meridien’s holiday tree near the concierge desk, decorated bottom to top with gingerbread cookies. No plexiglass here – these cookies are inedible. So feast your eyes.
Gingerbread rendering of Le Parker Meridien.
Nancy Olson’s classic gingerbread house garnished with Jelly Bellies and M & Ms.
The fanciful Nutcracker-inspired gingerbread clock.
The not-quite-gingerbread boathouse.
The witch guards her gingerbread house.
Peaceful protesters at Santa’s workshop.