On Sukkot this week, if you were looking for a standard sukkah, the place to go was Union Square. Chabad Loft, which serves part of downtown Manhattan, put up a 500-square-foot wooden hut, above, with cedar branches atop, where volunteers from the Lubavitch chasidic movement provided meals and snacks and the chance to shake the Four Species.
And if you were looking for a non-standard sukkah, the place was also Union Square. That’s where the Jewish cultural Reboot organization held its Sukkah City competition for quirky sukkah designs. The winner, “Fractured Bubble,” above right, the work of New York architects Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan that features plywood and marsh grass in the shape of a giant bad-hair day, remained in place during the holiday, half a football field away from Chabad’s sukkah.
Even if you weren’t necessarily looking for a sukkah, one might come to you. That would be the Pedi Sukka of the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, a small lattice booth mounted on the back of a bike. Rabbi Uriel Vigler, director of the Chabad Israel Center, and some young volunteers pedaled the portable sukkah around the neighborhood. “It was exhausting,” the rabbi says.
Ariel Stern, a volunteer from Israel, is cycling with the Pedi Sukka, inset above.
“Not everyone came to the park,” Ruppert Park, where a standard canvas sukkah went up, says Rabbi Vigler.
In Union Square, left, the dueling sukkot were a big draw, despite inclement weather most of the week, says Rabbi Yaakov Bankhalter, director of Chabad Loft. Folks who came to see Fractured Bubble, which is open to the elements and can accommodate only a few people at a time, then came over to Chabad’s sukkah, which could fit a few dozen, Rabbi Bankhalter says. “It brings us business.”