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Warning: Cravings may begin shortly after reading this.

Credit
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Updated, 9:12 a.m.

Good morning on this numbing Thursday.

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but chocolate’s not going anywhere: It has been part of New York City’s recipe for more than 300 years.

“It’s always in season, and you don’t need a holiday to enjoy it,” said Michael Laiskonis, the former executive pastry chef at the highly rated Le Bernardin, who, in 2015, opened the bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab for confectionary research at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Mr. Laiskonis has been sifting through civil records, centuries-old cookbooks, dated directories and advertisements to reconstruct the history of chocolate in our city.

Here’s a taste of what he has found, so far:

While chocolate can be traced to 16th-century Aztec culture and then to Europe, long before it arrived here, Mr. Laiskonis discovered through ship manifests that by the early 1700s, colonial New York had become a major trade hub for cocoa coming up from South America and the Caribbean.

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“Today you can go to any drugstore and buy a bar of chocolate,” he said. “But in the lens of the 1700s, it was absorbed into daily life here as this exotic thing.”

Chocolate then was not the chocolate we know now; in those days, it was enjoyed in drinking form, often at breakfast.

“By the late 1600s and early 1700s, it was a beverage on par with coffee or tea, served in cafes,” Mr. Laiskonis explained. “In this stage, with fairly primitive machinery, cocoa beans were roasted, peeled, ground and then molded into cakes. And then those would be grated into hot water.”

It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century, thanks to the machinery of the industrial revolution, that New York saw the chocolate beverage evolve into the chocolate bar.

That’s when “the technology allowed for adding additional cocoa butter, the fat that’s in the cocoa bean, giving us the fine texture and smooth candy bars as we know them.”

And around the time of the Civil War, according to Mr. Laiskonis, American cooks began using cocoa powder or chocolate in desserts and pastries.

With the craft-chocolate movement of the past decade, which emphasizes enjoying the flavors of the cocoa bean in its purest possible form, “chocolate has become akin to drinking fine wine,” Mr. Laiskonis said. “The taste for subtle flavors in chocolate is developing.”

You can learn more (and indulge your sweet tooth) at the Taste for Chocolate exhibition, which opens tomorrow at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights.

Mr. Laiskonis also suggested taking a tour of Cacao Prieto, a contemporary bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn, or signing up for a chocolate-making class at the Chocolate Lab.

Here’s what else is happening:

Weather


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Sweets might make today more palatable.

You’re going to need something to take the edge off this cold: It’s going to feel like the low 20s.

Some of us may even see snow. Spotty patches, also known as snow showers, are on tap.

But hang on, because the weekend is looking glorious.

In the News

The city is preparing for a political brawl as the deal-making for the post of City Council speaker heats up. [New York Times]

Reports of discrimination are up around 60 percent, according to the city’s Commission on Human Rights. [DNAinfo]

The Police Department is investigating an incident in which a pregnant 17-year-old in the Bronx was stunned with a Taser. [Gothamist]

The attorney general issued a fraud alert in response to complaints of fake agents scamming immigrant communities. [NY1]

Some businesses are closing today to participate in the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” strike. [Pix 11]

New Jersey is limiting the amount of opioid pills in initial prescriptions. [Wall Street Journal, subscription required]

A look at politics on the runway during New York Fashion Week. [New York Times]

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “B Is for Bechdel Test

Scoreboard: Bucks buck Nets, 129-125. Thunder jolts Knicks, 116-105.

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Thursday Briefing.

Coming Up Today

The Color of Comics, an exhibition on African-American artists in the comic book industry, at Poe Park Visitor Center in the Bronx. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Free]

Learn about “The Women Who Made New York” in a talk with the author and former New York Times staff writer, Julie Scelfo, at the New York Public Library in Midtown. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

Join chefs, restaurateurs and culinary experts to explore how to build a food brand, hosted by Citymeals on Wheels at Distilled in downtown Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [Tickets start at $75]

Think happy thoughts at Happy Place Comedy, a show at Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens. 9 p.m. [$6]

Looking ahead: Catch a Led Zeppelin tribute concert with the band Kashmir, at St. George Theater on Staten Island. Saturday at 8 p.m. [Tickets start at $25]

Islanders host Rangers , 7 p.m. (MSG). Devils host Senators, 7 p.m. (MSG+).

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

Commute

Subway and PATH

Railroads: L.I.R.R., Metro-North, N.J. Transit, Amtrak

Roads: Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking: in effect until Feb. 20.

Ferries: Staten Island Ferry, New York Waterway, East River Ferry

Airports: La Guardia, J.F.K., Newark

And Finally…

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A different sort of sport.

Credit
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

“Famous one-eyed general.” (Six letters.)

That was the first clue on the first-ever The New York Times Crossword, which appeared in The Times’s magazine 75 years ago this week.

Back then, the puzzle offered a lighthearted distraction from the bleaker news of World War II. In 1950, it became a regular feature of the paper.

We’re celebrating the anniversary by sharing this special section, in which you can learn about the history of our crossword and stretch your mind with free puzzles from the past 75 years.

By the way, the answer to that very first clue? It’s a British commander named W-A-V-E-L-L.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

For updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at nytoday@nytimes.com, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Alexandra Levine and Jonathan Wolfe, on Twitter.

You can find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

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