(NEW YORK-AFP) – Animal rights charity PETA declared New York vegan capital of the world on Wednesday as Scottish actor Alan Cumming unveiled a replica of the Manhattan skyline carved out of vegetables.
Dan Mathews, senior vice president of PETA, said the Big Apple was “2014 most vegan-friendly city” of the year due to a first vegetarian public school, vegan fast-food outlets and increasing offshoots of vegan gourmet restaurants.
Mathews said celebrities such as Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez were among those who had taken the 22-day vegan cleanse, saying that incorporating vegan elements into diets was healthy.
“I am a vegan and to be in a city which is so vegan friendly is great,” Cumming, who went vegan a couple of years ago and currently stars on Broadway in “Cabaret,” told reporters.
“Everyone realizes that these things are delicious and good for you and I think it’s an indication of how we’re becoming more conscious about what we do to our bodies,” he added.
Previous winners of “most vegan-friendly city” are Los Angeles, London and Austin, Texas, Mathews said.
The vegetable skyline took three days to carve from squash, taro root, radishes, eggplant, broccoli, carrots, lemongrass, banana leaves and beets by food artist James Parker, organizers said.
It was shown to New York mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom Cumming said he discussed Thursday’s independence referendum in Scotland.
Cumming, who on Wednesday published an op-ed in The New York Times calling for independence, told AFP he would not be able to vote because he was in New York.
City Council member Corey Johnson said he was “thrilled” that New York was number one in vegetarian and vegan dining, saying there were more than 140 vegetarian restaurants in the city.
PETA, known for its media stunts, is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters.