Felt for Thought: Inside Lucy’s Deli on 6th



Lucy’s Delicatessan provides visitors the quintessential New York deli experience — except that all the food is hand-stitched and made of felt.


Displaying a huge cash register and offering selections of crab, oranges and avocados, Lucy’s Delicatessen could be any deli on any street corner — except that it isn’t a real deli, and most of the food available for purchase isn’t real either.  

Located at Rockefeller Center on the corner of 49th Street and 6th Avenue, Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen on 6th is an art installation on view through Oct. 20. It was created by artist Lucy Sparrow to mimic the experience of shopping at an upscale deli. Unlike at other upscale delis, though, the $10 cream cheese bagel and fresh produce at Lucy’s are all made entirely out of felt.

Walking up to Lucy’s Delicatessen is an experience all on its own with its bright pink walls and vintage milk crates overflowing with handfuls of colorful hand-stitched produce, ranging from bright red apples to stalks of asparagus tied together with a small brown string. The real magic happens once you step indoors and realize that each of the 300,000 products is adorned with tiny smiley faces. 

Aside from produce, you’ll also find a variety of soft, plush seafood, including scarlet red lobsters, shiny sardines and oysters you can shuck by removing the smiling bivalves from their shells. Next to it is a cheese counter carrying everything from mozzarella to Muenster, and in the meat counter, giant slabs of T-bone steak stand tall next to strings of sausages. If you are looking for something more exotic, head to the back of the deli for some delicious-looking sushi.

Everything in the deli is extraordinary; however, my favorite section was the immaculately planned patisserie, which included glazed fruit tarts, chocolate cake with thick white frosting and key lime pies adorned with small felt limes. 

The only downside of the exhibit is the elevated prices of the various felt products. Although some items such as the strawberries and sardines can be bought for $10, many of the items range higher on the price spectrum, with some such as the lobster going as high as $200. But for such beautiful craftsmanship, can you blame them?

Nonetheless, Lucy’s Delicatessen is a fun and unique place to spend some time. I highly recommend that next time you’re in the area, you pick up a grocery basket and get to shopping. However, if you do miss out on this delicious exhibit, you can look at more of Sparrow’s work on her website.