Sukkah City 2010: The Night Before

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 at 6:32 am by

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Today is the last day to catch a glimpse of Sukkah City 2010, an assemblage of “radically temporary” sukkahs in Union Square Park. From dawn until dusk. Most of yesterday was a true mob scene, with huge crowds surrounding each structure, at least five to six heads deep. It was tough getting a good glimpse. And no one was allowed inside, either. But the best time to see the exhibit was past midnight Saturday evening as the designers and builders tirelessly toiled to erect the structures by morning.

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There was a certain electric fervor in the air that night, people waltzing to and fro with excitement. Indeed, it was a happening amidst the drunken bar-goers stumbling past and the hordes of photographers hugging the rope-lined perimeter. However, the security was fairly lax, so, not content with being at the periphery, we hopped the rope to get a closer look at the works in progress.

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In seeing all finalists in both phases – construction and completion – our vote is definitely the “Sukkah of the Signs,” designed by Ronald Rael.  Although it’s slightly different from the rendering on the official website, the overall theme remains the same – the difficult plight of the homeless. Built from scavenged homeless signs, this particular sukkah is the most poignant of the bunch.  No over-the-top modernist designs. No bells and whistles.  Just a humble structure with relevance.  Especially given the two homeless men passed out not ten yards away.  We were told by the builder that all the cardboard was purchased from random people on the west coast – places like San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Denver.

The whole event is timely since the Jewish Autumnal festival of Sukkot begins this Thursday.  The winning design will remain in place until October 2. Vote here.

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