Record-breaking Gingerbread exhibit comes down, piece by tasty piece
by Sarah Iannone
Jan 15, 2014 | 504 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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"This crowd is tremendous,” said John Lovitch, chef and creator of the 164-piece, 1.5-ton Gingerbread Lane exhibit at the New York Hall of Science. “There is still over an hour to go, and the line will probably be stretched further down the hallway and around the corner soon."

Gingerbread Lane had been on display at the museum since November, and Sunday was the day Lovitch gave away each piece.

As the minutes passed, kids and their parents poured in. Some began sitting and reading in line as they waited to be given a piece of the house that Lovitch spent 11 months crafting in his Bronx kitchen.

But many kids couldn't sit still. Two little girls circled Gingerbread Lane, pointing with excitement, "I like that one and that one. No I like that one!" Another girl ran by shouting, "I want to explore."

This was Lovitch's 28th gingerbread village and 15th giveaway. Living in such an electronic age, Lovitch feels these types of experiences are very important for families.

"People grow very attached to these events,” he said. “They come from all over to take pictures of Gingerbread Lane with their kids.”

Year after year, Lovitch is creating an experience that families can keep in their homes. "People will use clear spray paint or shellac to preserve it," Lovitch explained. “I recently came across a picture in 2012 from a house that I made in 1997.”

"We saw it when it was first built, that's why we’re back," said Pat Russo, who came to the giveaway with her mother and two daughters, eagerly holding a place in line. "They want a piece to take home.”

When Lovitch isn't slaving away in his Bronx kitchen constructing pieces for Gingerbread Lane, he is a chef at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriot.

His talent in the culinary arts has taken him to Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, but he feels that relocating to New York City has been the best decision; a decision that he expects will keep the Gingerbread Lane project going for years to come. 

In November, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Lovitch's creation the world's largest entirely edible gingerbread exhibit.

"This is the biggest gingerbread village in the world,” he boasted. “It only makes sense to make a home base in New York. New York is good for media attention, and long term I need the media attention to keep the project going.”

"I read about this event in the New York Times," said Fabiana Rezak, a Long Island resident who brought her two children to the giveaway. "This is always something I wanted to do before the holiday season, but I didn't have time.”

Recently Lovitch has been repurposing pieces for children around the area and plans to visit cancer patients and autistic kids in the New York area to deliver them their very own piece of Gingerbread Lane.

"Today we'll give all of this away, and in two weeks I'll start right back up again," Lovitch said.

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