It’s not something you would typically see in the galleries of the Museum of the City of New York — a giant biosphere, which is basically a live experiment.

It’s from artist Mary Mattingly, designed to address rising sea levels due to climate change.

“In real life it’s supposed to float, it’s supposed to be on the shore, on the coast, growing plants in saline water, salty water,” said Monxo Lopez, Associate Curator, Museum of the City of New York, who curated “Food in New York, Bigger than the Plate.’

What You Need To Know

  • Food in New York, Bigger Than the Plate, is a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem

  • It features works by more than 20 contemporary artists and designers

  • It addresses issues of sustainability, resiliency, labor justice and equitable access to food

  • The centerpiece is a biosphere designed to grow native plants in salt water, addressing rising sea levels and climate change

It’s an exhibit which features the work of more than 20 contemporary artists and designers, all looking at the future of how New Yorkers get, grow and eat food.

It looks at food system issues like sustainability, resiliency, labor justice and equitable access to food.

“It’s a fun exhibition because it’s meant to be uplifting and empowering, and to invite visitors to become part of the solution rather than to just be passive eaters, I mean I love to eat but obviously we need to do more than that if we want to support each other,” Lopez said.

The exhibition is divided into sections on trading, how food is brought into the city, food production in the five boroughs and, of course, eating.

It’s indoors and outside too, the first time the museum is using its north terrace as an exhibition space.

Outside is a greenhouse made from recycled materials, and recycled lobster traps turned into furniture.

Inside is a piece that visitors can smell the differences between sweet smells and bitter smells, with a soundtrack to accompany it. Plus, a customized tricycle turned into a cart for a neighborhood favorite, shaved ice, from artist Miguel Luciano.

”It’s also honoring the bicycle clubs that we see here in the Bronx and Harlem, it’s a mix, it’s like a centaur, half piragua cart, and half a bicycle,” Lopez said, who noted the exhibition is a combination of pieces from the museum’s extensive collection plus, commissioned works.

To plan your visit, head to: