Tasty Gingerbread 'Hurricane Sandy Crane' Dangles at Midtown Hotel

By Mathew Katz on November 30, 2012 12:39pm 

MIDTOWN — A Midtown hotel evacuated when a crane collapsed during Hurricane Sandy is commemorating the event in the most festive way possible — re-creating it in gingerbread form.

The executive chef at Norma's in Le Parker Meridien Hotel built a 5-foot-tall, fresh-baked model of the now-infamous crane dangling off the hotel's luxe neighbor One57, a high-priced residential development with several billionaire buyers.

When the crane collapsed during Sandy's winds, officials closed the block around West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, shuttering Le Parker Meridien for nearly a week.

The "Candycrane" tower is one of six houses on display at the hotel until Jan. 3, part of its annual show benefiting City Harvest. The fourth-annual event is themed around gingerbread models of "Landmarks Around the World."

"We were originally going to do the Statue of Liberty," said Emile Castillo, the hotel's executive chef.

"But when the crane fell, I saw it. I was here. We were evacuated. It makes sense."

Castillo said the tower was by far the biggest gingerbread "house" he's ever made, built by five people over two weeks. The inside of the tower was made up of Rice Krispy Squares, with gingerbread "bricks" laid around it.

To complete the chaotic scene, Castillo lined the streets with gingerbread cops, firefighters, and gawkers, along with NYPD barriers, street signs, and TV trucks.

Creative bakers at other restaurants around the city contributed their own takes on the world's landmarks, including a Sphinx by Rolling Pin Productions, a Chichen Itza by Butterfly Bakeshop and Scotland's Urquhart Castle, complete with candy Loch Ness Monster, by the North End Grill.

Visitors to the display can pay $1 per vote or $5 for 8 votes to choose their favorite gingerbread creation, with all proceeds going to City Harvest to support their holiday food programs.

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