Le Parker Meridien New York launched the gingerbread bake-off five years ago with the goal of earning a place on the annual holiday decoration circuit made by tourists and locals alike, said Marisa Zafran, the hotel's director of marketing.
Anyone can walk in and see the gingerbread creations through Jan. 6. People can also buy a vote, $1 each, to help determine the winner. All proceeds go directly to City Harvest, a food rescue organization.
In recent years, the event has raised $8,000 to $16,000 annually, Zafran said. This year, voting is also available online.
"It's incredible to see the intricacy of it," Michele Marsh of Long Beach Island, N.J., said last week while examining the gingerbread architecture. Earlier in the day, she had seen the Rockettes, and the Rockefeller Center tree and ice rink, and had window-shopped on Fifth Avenue.
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The holiday theme extends to the hotel's partners and restaurants, including the downtown offshoot of its Burger Joint, where a gingerbread milkshake is on offer. The Burger Joint also has a new location in Korea, and restaurants in the works in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Zafrans said. (Despite Web rumors, she said, D.C. and Cambridge, Mass., are not currently being planned.)