By Krista Didzbalis and Ryan Stolz, Media Relations Staff
Usually found in the fields of Asia, a real rice paddy—yes, you read that right—is now sitting in the heart of downtown Manhattan, connecting the world’s most widely grown food source with the world’s most bustling city.
The Port Authority has partnered with lifestyle brand LUCKYRICE to foster the idea that rice isn’t just a versatile and delicious food, but a celebration of New York as a multicultural community, symbolizing remembrance and renewal. And the Oculus Plaza on the World Trade Center campus, where a ceremony was held this morning to celebrate its unveiling, is the perfect location to showcase the seemingly atypical art installation.
“This unique rice paddy installation celebrates a food staple embedded in cultures around the globe,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This display is perfectly suited to the World Trade Center which, both by its name and its heritage, seeks to celebrate and support global diversity.”
With an emphasis on sustainability, the three-tiered display was designed using eco-friendly practices while also doubling as seating in an area used by more than 250,000 people a day. The varieties of rise include Purple Jamon Upland Rice from Italy, Yukikihari Lowland Rice of Japan, Mamorika Upland Rice of Madagascar, Amaura Upland Rice from Uzbekistan and Carolina Gold Rice of America.
“I hope that coming across a rice paddy at the World Trade Center will put a smile on the faces of all visitors, and they will stop and think and wonder more about the grain that feeds the majority of the world,” said Danielle Chang, LUCKYRICE founder and CEO.
The site also will serve as an outlet for programming and events for residents, students and tourists. The programs will include school tours, culinary demonstrations, sustainable architecture, eco-friendly farming practices and multicultural public art talks, all taking place between now and the Harvest Festival in late September.
The rice paddy will remain on the Oculus Plaza until the Harvest Festival on September 28, at which time residents, schools, local organizations and tourists are encouraged to take part in harvesting and — of course – consuming heavy amounts of rice.