The Colgate Scene
March 2007

People on the go

[Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

In the glass-front counter at Tribeca Treats, you might find peanut butter and jelly cupcakes made with raspberry jelly and peanut butter icing, or handmade caramels with a dark chocolate coating sprinkled with sea salt. Or the S'mores cookie: a homemade graham cracker with a marshmallow cream filling dipped in chocolate.

"We try to offer something different every day," said owner Rachel Schifter Thebault '97. "The unique flavors are attracting a lot of customers."

"Traditionalists" shouldn't worry, though; Thebault still offers the time-honored vanilla and chocolate combinations, too. It's all part of her plan to run a truly different New York City treat shop — one that focuses on fulfilling all the entertaining and gift-giving aspects of sweets.

"I try to make everything elegant, so that you can put it out at a nice cocktail party or give it as a gift to a hostess or friend," she said.

And if your cookies or chocolates are being given as gifts, it's only natural to need a birthday or thank-you card to go with them. So in the "Treat Your Friends" area of the 1,200-square-foot store, Thebault sells cards, napkins, and plates. In the "Treat Yourself" section, customers find specialty bakeware, including kid-sized cookware and cookbooks, and rolled-out cookie dough ready for cutting and cooking at home. And there's a large table where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with your favorite confection.

The idea for her one-stop bakery and chocolate shop, she said, began when she started a dessert catering business. "People wanted to order a birthday cake and little chocolate favors to take home, all from one place." So Thebault, who catered for friends while also working as a successful investment banker, started putting together her business plan while making chocolates out of her home.

"It would be like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory in my kitchen," she said, laughing. Eventually, she left her job, went to culinary school, and rented a kitchen on the Upper West Side. A year later, she found the space for Tribeca Treats.

Since then, Thebault, who is married to Robert '99 and has a 22-month-old daughter, has worked with companies such as automaker Subaru, which ordered 2,000 of her chocolates as promotional items when it launched its B9 Tribeca. She also caters private events, and an upcoming 10-year-old's birthday party — a "chocolate tasting" — will be held right at the store. She sells hundreds of cupcakes a day to "snackers" — walk-ins looking for a sweet treat — and a favorable item on the store in the New York Times has already brought clientele from as far away as Los Angeles.

"The scary thing is trying to always deliver on everyone's expectations," Thebault said. "But it's been amazing." Eventually she might consider opening a few more stores in select markets. Right now, though, she's having fun conjuring new concoctions to tempt customers — and herself. A chocolate and caramel buttercream cupcake, sometimes sprinkled with chocolate covered pretzels, is one of her favorites.

"Of course," she said, "my favorite changes every week!" — Vicki L. Wilson


[Courtesy of Frank McManamon '73]

Frank McManamon '73 has a long history with the past. As a young boy, he collected fossils and searched for arrowheads, but it was a Colgate professor, the late John Longyear, who introduced archaeology as a career possibility to him. Through taking Longyear's courses and his strong mentorship, "I was hooked," McManamon explained — and his present has been filled with history ever since.

After many years working in the public sector as an archaeological investigator and cultural resource manager, McManamon is today chief archaeologist of the National Park Service (where he has worked since 1977). He and his staff manage 65,000 archaeological sites recorded within national parks and historical areas. They range, he explained, "from very large places like Cliff Palace in Colorado and the ancient pueblo sites at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, to the site of Jamestown in Virginia, and all the way down to small scatters of artifacts that were the result of a campfire that occurred hundreds or thousands of years ago."

A major responsibility of his job is "coordinating activities across the country, seeking funding for the investigation and preservation of archaeological resources, and reviewing the progress of current projects." Although these days he does not participate in traditional field archaeology, he oversees the investigations carried out by park service archaeologists and universities doing archaeological studies in parks, making sure that the work is being completed appropriately.

The standards that govern archaeological digs were established through the Antiquities Act of 1906, and signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt. Its original intent was to protect archaeological sites on public land in the Southwestern United States from looting by settlers and pioneers traveling west, but it also included a general "statement of public policy by the American people to protect these resources of our cultural heritage," said McManamon. By asserting this public interest, he said, the law guarantees that artifacts found on designated federal archaeological sites will be collected, studied, and preserved "for public education and to obtain through scientific observation a better understanding of the past," protecting them by emphasizing their non-commercial, educational, and scientific value.

To commemorate the act's centennial, McManamon recently coedited a book, The Antiquities Act: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation (see Books and media). It received the State of New Mexico's 2006 Heritage Preservation award in the area of heritage publication.

Proud to have honored 100 years of preservation, McManamon said that he visualizes the next century as being filled with "the push and pull of debate about public land use and the appropriate uses of public resources." Although much may have changed since 1906, McManamon's work promises that dedication to the conservation of our nation's history will continue. — Brittany Messenger '10

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