Fieldtrip by Chef JJ Johnson

The Flag Project, 2023. It’s all about bagels, burgers, and bialys; noodles, nori, and nuts; and donuts, dumplings, and dogs. Are you hungry yet?

Several months ago, I received a note and a call for entries from the Rockefeller Center folks. They were collaborating with City Harvest for RC’s fourth annual The Flag Project. What fun!

I followed along as entries came flooding in from New Yorkers and people around the world. How cool!

The selection committee chose 193 flags from the hundreds of crowd-sourced designs. What talent!

The winning flags are now flying high in honor of New York City’s rich food heritage. These are four of my favorite flags, along with the creator’s description.

Jane Hanstein Cunniffe, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
“I love hot dogs. I love Jews. And I love New York. Not in that order.”

Frieda Christofides, Whitestone, NY
“I am a born-and-raised Queens native. I have seen the Flushing area change over the years into a vibrant and ever-changing community. My eldest son loves Ramen, so we are always looking for the ‘best’ Ramen in Flushing. And, as a plus, a wonderful way to discover your own neighborhood and spend more time with my son.”

Connor Hage, New York, NY
“For me, any memory of food in New York isn’t just about the food itself—it’s also about the expedition of finding the restaurant, eating in a place that’s new and exciting, and exploring whatever part of the city I now happen to find myself in. There’s so much food to try, and every time I discover something new, it’s an adventure. This makes me think of a treasure map, and in this city, what’s more of a treasure map than the iconic map of the subway? On my flag, classic New York foods—pizza, dumplings, bagels, coffee, kebabs, and more—are drawn in a line-art style that evokes the look and feel of the lines on a subway map. Plus, they’re designed entirely using the distinct colors of the trains, with the paths of the subway sprawling between and interconnecting them. Next stop, food!

Raul Carvajal, New Rochelle, NY
“Native New Yorkers and tourists have places to go, people to see, things to do in the Big Apple! We try to eat on the go. If there are three iconic street foods that you have to TRY while on the go it’s a quick delicious New York pizza slice, street vendor hot dog or salted New York soft pretzel. Better yet, grab all three and have the TRYfecta! Enjoy!”

The Flag Project catalog of all selected flags and a map of each flag’s location is on

I’m thinking I might enter 2024’s The Flag Project. Food and flags, I’m a fan of both!