Sweet Spot With Mike Sugerman: Canned Food Donations Become Elaborate Art Pieces In New York City


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It's estimated that 1.2 million New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table during the year.

Architects and engineers with a "can-do" spirit brought attention this need leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday with a creative display called "Canstruction" at Brookfield Place, a luxury mall near the World Trade Center.

"This year we have over 100,000 cans in the exhibition itself," said Elysa Marden of Brookfield Properties. "'Canstruction' is this amazing charity-slash-food drive-slash-competition where architects and engineers build these amazing creative sculptures out of cans of food which are then subsequently donated to City Harvest."

Among the sculptures on display was the Statue of Liberty made up of 2,800 cans, amounting to 1,100 pounds of tomatoes, fruit cocktail and corn.

The Manhattan Bridge was constructed of 6,000 cans of baked beans, pineapple and tuna weighing 4,500 pounds.

The Apollo Lunar Module, in honor of the 50th anniversary of man on the moon, was made out of 3,700 cans, totaling 1,200 pounds of tuna and instant ramen.

The structures seem to defy gravity, mostly.

"Sometimes they tilt a little bit and that's always interesting to watch as the weeks go on to see if they're going to fall down or not. It adds a little bit of tension to the exhibition," Marden said.

Jenna Harris, of City Harvest, said the idea was that you could bring your own food as payment for the exhibition, which was actually free all over the mall.

"It's a great way to get people out to donate food to City Harvest," said Harris. "City Harvest is New York City's largest food rescue organization. This year alone we'll rescue 64 million pounds of food. Thanks to Canstruction over the last 27 years they've been a huge part of helping to feed New Yorkers in need every holiday season."