Canstruction: NYC’s Most Imaginative Food Charity Competition
Friday, October 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Naomi Stark
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Fall is a magical season—eliciting within us a sense of wonder, and a tingling feeling of optimistic anticipation. Is it because Thanksgiving is nigh? Or is it those beautiful leaves transformed into fiery canopies above our heads? Whatever it may be, fall in New York City is ephemeral and meant to be cherished.

And there is no better way to welcome in autumn than by checking out—and hopefully, participating in—the 21st annual Canstruction exhibition and food drive. This spectacular display will feature the panoply of sculptures made entirely of unopened canned food that will then be donated to City Harvest to be distributed to approx. 400 soup kitchens and food pantries throughout the city. 

The Canstruction exhibition challenges 26 teams of NYC’s top architecture, engineering and design firms to transform over 100,000 cans of food into quirky, larger-than-life pop art pieces in order to raise hunger awareness. These displays can be found in the Winter Garden and 200 Vesey Street lobby of Brookfield Place. Last year’s Canstruction sculptures included a Jeff Koons'-inspired Balloon Doga classic Greek coffee cup, and the Staten Island “Eye” Ferris wheel

This year’s sculptures will remain on display from October 31 until November 13 from 10am – 6pm daily (closes at 5pm on November 13). Admission is free, however, visitors are encouraged to bring high-quality, non-perishable cans, which will be donated, along with the cans used in the exhibition, to City Harvest, an organization responsible for feeding more than one million hungry New Yorkers.

Serving New York City for over 30 years, City Harvest works with Canstruction each Thanksgiving season to distribute canned goods to New Yorkers in need. After last year's 20th Annual Competition, City Harvest collected a record 91,000 pounds of food, helping City Harvest feed over 90,000 hungry New Yorkers. 

Although each of the 26 teams to participate in the Canstruction competition spends months of preparation designing their entries, they are only allowed one night to scrupulously compile cans into stacked, color-coordinated triumphs of engineering and creativity. An elite judging panel culled from the architectural, design and culinary fields will chose the winning teams for categories including Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, Most Cans, and Jurors’ Favorite. And for the first time, the public can vote for the People's Choice Award via Facebook. 

From  October 21 through November 8, highlights from last year’s contest can be seen in various locations throughout the city, such as: One Liberty Plaza will host a gigantic bee's hive made of 3,350 cans of mushrooms, chickpeas, tomato paste and honey; 245 Park Avenue will showcase a rocket ship heading to the moon made from 4,200 cans of tuna fish and red kidney beans; and the Grace Building will display a Jefferson Memorial made from over 3,600 cans of tuna fish.

During your busy week, maybe take just a moment to appreciate a new autumn and all the splendor NYC offers us in our public spaces.

Tags: balloon dog, staten island, staten island ferris wheel, One Liberty Plaza, 245 Park Avenue, grace building, Jefferson Memorial, fall, autumn, Happenings, canstruction, food charity, charity competition, food drive, city harvest, jeff koons