from the new york times:
A Shocking Thing Happened to the Big Popsicle. It Melted.
Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
Snapple hoped to set a record Tuesday with a 17-ton frozen treat, but instead, under the summer sun, it turned into a pink blob.
By ANTHONY RAMIREZ
Published: June 22, 2005
Under the noontime sun of New York's first day of summer, Snapple, the soft drink maker, answered the question of whether a 171/2-ton Popsicle can be made to stand upright in Union Square.
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Video: The Streets Ran Pink With Goo
In a brave attempt to surpass a Guinness record - "The World's Largest Popsicle" - Snapple mixed and froze a gargantuan icy doppelganger of its new kiwi-strawberry flavored Snapple on Ice. Then the frozen treat was hauled by freezer truck from Edison, N.J., and raised with an enormous crane in Manhattan.
Alas, like James Arness in the 1951 alien thriller "The Thing From Another World," the giant Snapsicle began to melt. Soon pedestrians were fleeing in not-quite terror, fire trucks were converging and the police were closing off streets to contain the publicity stunt gone wrong.
Snapple officials first started to worry when the pink liquid began to flow onto East 17th Street. They feared cyclists and automobiles would slip in the ooze.
Ice sculpture specialists who were helping Snapple with the publicity event also wondered whether the Snapsicle was beginning to become hollow in the middle and would topple when set upright.
Snapple officials then decided to stop the Snapple-raising at a crowd-disappointing 25-degree angle. The mushy giant block was then trucked away and a television-sized ice sculpture in the shape of the Snapple logo took its place.
Maria Ortiz, 45, a cleaning worker at Sephora, a makeup and perfume store at the north end of Union Square, noticed the hubbub.
"There was a lot of pink water, pouring all the way down" onto East 17th Street, she said. Then she noticed the crane stop as it tried to lift the giant Popsicle, like a frozen flagpole.
Ms. Ortiz, of East New York, Brooklyn, said she and her co-workers were waiting for the Popsicle to go up. "But we didn't see the pop, just the pink water flowing down the street," and here she spread her hands, as if parting the Red Sea.
The Police and Fire Departments were summoned. Breaking News Network, which monitors police scanners for news organizations, sent out an alert:
"A giant Popsicle being displayed by Snapple has melted in the heat and sun and spilled all over 17th Street. F.D. on scene attempting to wash down the roadway - sticky goo all over the area."
What went wrong?
Jeanne Koivunen-Zuleta, co-owner of "Sculptures in Ice," of Zion, Ill., the ice consultant to Snapple, had one theory. "The large amount of liquid that came out," she said, "made the interior hollow, so it was a frozen shell on the outside. We didn't think that it was safe enough to erect."
Lauren Radcliffe, the Snapple official who ordered the end to the stunt, had another theory.
"It got mushy," Ms. Radcliffe said, "on the trip" from Edison, where the Snapsicle was mixed, molded and frozen. Vibrations inside the freezer truck might have changed the structure's consistency, Ms. Radcliffe said.
Whatever the case, the Snapsicle was plenty cold, she noted. The core temperature when it was prepared in New Jersey was minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 46 degrees colder than the temperature at which an 18-percent sugar suspension, like the pop, would normally freeze. The freezer truck that transported it was cold, too, about minus 15 degrees, she said.
At any rate, if the Snapsicle had been raised upright - a condition of the Guinness World Records judges - it would have established a new record.
It was 35,000 pounds and 25 feet tall, compared with the record holder's 20,000 pounds and 21 feet.
So, Jan van den Berg and his friends from the Dutch village Katwijk aan den Rijn remain the Guinness book's champion Popsicle erectors. And they managed to do so on the business end of summer, in August 1997.
Will Snapple get off the mat and try once again, maybe in August? Ms. Radcliffe scrunched her face. "Probably not."