Rockefeller Center unveils 193 new flags inspired by NYC food

April 6, 2023

All photos courtesy of Rockefeller Center

Normally representing the 193 nations recognized by the United Nations, the flags around the plaza at Rockefeller Center will look a little different this month. Rockefeller Center collaborated with City Harvest, the city’s largest food rescue organization, on its fourth annual Flag Project, an art installation that transforms the flags around the Rink at Rockefeller Center with designs submitted by the public. This year’s theme celebrates the global food culture of New York City, with new flags displaying iconic scenes of neighborhood bodegas, food markets, favorite restaurants, and iconic city grub like hot dogs and pizza.

The Flag Project first debuted at Rockefeller Center in the spring of 2020, to celebrate the strength of New York City during the height of Covid.

This year’s theme celebrates New York City’s world-class dining in its many forms. Participants were asked to submit designs inspired by a favorite food-related memory in the city, whether it be an unforgettable meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant or an unexpected gem found at a hole-in-the-wall eatery, as a press release described.

A committee from City Harvest selected the submissions to be displayed on the 193 flagpoles.

“We are honored to partner with Rockefeller Center and some of our city’s best chefs and fellow New Yorkers to spotlight the foods that make our city the diverse, delicious place we call home,” Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest, said.

“As millions of our neighbors struggle to put meals on their tables, City Harvest stands ready to rescue and deliver tens of millions of pounds of nutritious food New Yorkers need to thrive — one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time.”

This year’s Flag Project includes artwork from several new restaurants in Rockefeller Center’s culinary community, including NARO, Lodi, Pebble Bar, Le Rock, and more.

A number of famous chefs, like Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, Andy Baraghani, Dana Cowin, Jenna Lyons, and Mira Mariah, also submitted designs for the flags.

For last year’s installation, The Flag Project partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Climate Museum with the theme of “Only One Earth.” The winning flag designs were made to be bio-degradable and served as part of Rockefeller Center’s Earth Day festivities.

The 2023 Flag Project will be on view from April 3-12 and April 17-30.

The event is free and open to the public. Those unable to make the trip to NYC can view the selected designs here.


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