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Christmas Day Wonder: Gingerbread Monolith Mysteriously Appears at SF Park

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A gingerbread monument mysteriously appears at Corona Heights Park in San Francisco on Christmas Day. (Courtesy of Twitter user @aprilzero)

Updated Dec. 26, 2020: The ginger has snapped. Or more to the point, the gingerbread monolith collapsed and was captured in a photo in shambles on Saturday morning.

The original story follows. 

It's a Christmas Day wonder: A nearly 7-foot-tall gingerbread monolith is now towering above San Francisco at Corona Heights Park, a hilltop sloping just above the Castro neighborhood.

As the gingerbread tower rises, so do questions.

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Who built it? Did Christmas-happy aliens beam it down from above? Did some rogue artificial intelligence escape a nearby Google campus, and, driven mad by our plethora of Christmas music (thanks, KOIT!), design an art piece to brighten our days? And just how expensive is it to rent a high-rise apartment within its crumbly, ginger-pungent walls? (If it's cheap, please contact this reporter ...)

We do know a few things are pretty likely: First, the gingerbread monolith is surely an homage to the Utah monolith that captured the nation's attention earlier this year, but with a Christmas twist.

And second, many have had their day brightened by this gingerbread wonder already.

"I just thought it was hilarious," said Raemond Bergstrom-Wood, a neighbor who spotted the monolith on his morning walk.

When KQED reached out to San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg to ask the agency's reaction to the monolith in a city park, he asked for photos. We sent him a few.

"Wow. Even makes a Jewish parks director smile," he said.

But will city rules or regulations prompt the director to pull down the (assumedly delicious-tasting) towering monument at Corona Heights Park?

"Looks like a great spot to get baked," Ginsburg said. "We will leave it up until the cookie crumbles."

Beyond the puns, Ginsburg confirmed his staff will leave the monolith alone for "awhile," at least. "We all deserve a little bit of magic right now," he said.

Magic is what Anand Sharma, founder of the Gyroscope app, found when he posted a photo of the monolith on Twitter Friday morning, featuring a stunning sunrise coloring the sky behind it. He told KQED he didn't see the monolith first.

"I think I smelled it before I saw it," Sharma said.

He went on a run around 7 a.m. up through the park and climbed the hill to see the sunrise. He spotted a double rainbow and wanted to peek at that, too. At first, he thought the monolith was "a big post," but as he got closer, he smelled the gingerbread scent wafting toward him. The monolith is standing in panels separated by icing.

Sharma, like many of us, saw his 2020 darkened by lockdowns and the orange and red skies caused by recent wildfires.

"Just a few months before, from this same spot, the whole sky was red and unbreathable," he said.

Now?

"It made me smile. I wonder who did it, and when they put it there," he said.

KQED is hoping to speak to the artist who created the gingerbread monolith. If you're the creator and would like to be interviewed, please reach out to this reporter at jrodriguez@kqed.org

This article has been updated with comment from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

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