Imagine the aroma and whimsical fun of walking through the world’s largest gingerbread village. What if we told you that one actually exists in New York City? If you’re planning on spending Christmas in NYC, then be sure to head over to the Lower East Side’s Essex Market and check out the amazing and delicious creation brought to you by “The Gingerbread Man” Jon Lovitch.
My tip: this is our complete guide to Christmas in New York.
The History of GingerBread Lane
Artist, owner, and creator, Jon Lovitch, is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, where he drew inspiration from the holiday windows of stores he saw in the Crown Center. His gingerbread story began with a simple village of just twelve houses but has ballooned into so much more over the years.
Jon’s dedication to his creations isn’t just on the surface; it’s been his dream from the beginning. His career began as an executive chef but quickly turned into him being a self-taught gingerbread baker. He has over 25 years of restaurant experience under his belt, and has been an Executive Chef in renowned spots such as the Algonquin and the Plaza in NYC, and even across the street from the White House at the Hay Adams at one time.
Eventually, he gave up his full-time career in 2015 to pursue his dream of creating GingerBread Lane. So, what was once just a hobby has grown into a complete labor of love, and he’s living a dream.
When And Where Can You See GingerBread Lane?
This year Jon used 1,000 pounds of gingerbread and more than 8,000 pounds of frosting to create 1,500 gingerbread houses. However, he’s doing it a bit differently, with 500 houses being put on display in three cities: New York City, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City. The entire family will marvel at the cute candy cane decor, jelly bean roof tiles, and clever signs made from frosting.
Tt’s the largest edible gingerbread village in the world!
GingerBread Lane begins delighting crowds in early November and runs until the middle of January. If you’re hoping to catch this amazing event in New York City this year, you can see it from Saturday, November 26, until Sunday, January 15, at Essex Market on the Lower East Side. This is one Christmas event in NYC that you don’t want to miss!
About GingerBread Lane
Jon works hard during the entire year, drafting, planning, designing, baking, building, and decorating to unveil his masterpiece annually in cities around the Midwest, Florida, and the Eastern seaboard. A full year of planning and work is required to put on these displays each year, and adults and children alike flock to see his displays every holiday season.
For Jon, there’s nothing better than seeing their eyes filled with wonder, awe, and even a bit of sweet tooth. And the last part comes for a good reason! GingerBread Lane has evolved into a Guinness Record Book holder for the last four years, as it holds the record for being the “largest entirely edible gingerbread village.”
In fact, this is what makes GingerBread Village so special! Each and every gingerbread house on display is made from ENTIRELY edible components. Hence, these homes don’t contain stands, fake snow, or even cardboard backing! This year, Jon has created 1,500 gingerbread houses that will be used to make his amazing holiday display. He initially set the record in 2013 with 1,251 houses and has upped his ante each year to prevent being unseated.
But don’t misunderstand. GingerBread Lane doesn’t just show up anywhere that there’s exhibition space available. Jon is very picky about which locations he’ll use for his delectable creations. In the past, the village has been shown at theme parks, children’s museums, science museums, shopping malls, hotels, casinos, restaurants, and even the famed Rockefeller Center. As you can see, none of these locations are fly-by-night destinations, having been decided by just anyone.
The truth is that as soon as one season ends, Jon gets busy nailing down the venues for the next season. Between finding brand new spots and rebooking old ones that were top performers, it’s an arduous task. Jon spends a great deal of time speaking with Executive Directors and CEOs, touring facilities, and hours on the phone conducting research to see if the venue would be a perfect fit for GingerBread Lane.
As we mentioned, GingerBread Lane has appeared all over in places such outside of New York City, like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Boston, Southern Virginia, Orlando, Kansas City, and more.
How many houses are on display for GingerBread Lane?
For 2022, Jon Lovitch created 1,500 gingerbread houses. They will be put on display in groups of 500 homes between three cities: Salt Lake City, New York City, and Kansas City.
Is GingerBread Lane edible?
Yes! Jon Lovitch makes the entire village out of edible products, so it does not contain stands, cardboard backing, or fake snow. In fact, this is the primary reason it’s been awarded a Guinness Book World Record – it’s the largest edible gingerbread village in the world.
How long does it take to create GingerBread Lane?
It takes Jon Lovitch an entire year to create the holiday display. His work starts with hunting for acceptable venues and then he spends each week baking and building. As the event inches closer, he works 100+ hour weeks to get it done.
How much gingerbread does it take to make GingerBread Lane?
This year’s village comprises 1,500 houses which required 1,000 pounds of gingerbread and over 8,000 pounds of icing. There are also countless jelly beans and candy canes found around the village.
Where can you see GingerBread Lane NYC 2022?
This year you can catch GingerBread Lane at Essex Market in Manhattan’s Lower East Side from Saturday, November 26, until Sunday, January 15, 2023.
How much is admission to GingerBread Lane?
Admission is free and open to all ages!