I recently had the opportunity to visit the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York. If you aren’t familiar with QMA, then you probably don’t know that the jewel in the crown of their collection is an incredible, 9,335 square foot architectural model – The Panorama of the City of New York – that includes every single building constructed before 1992 in all five boroughs of NYC. That’s a jaw-dropping total of 895,000 individual structures. I urge you to visit QMA and see the Panorama for yourself. It’s simply amazing!
The brain child of Robert Moses, The Panorama was built for the 1964 World’s Fair, in part as a celebration of the City’s municipal infrastructure. It took a team of 100 people working for the great architectural model makers Raymond Lester Associates three years to complete and was one of the most successful attractions at the ‘64 Fair. In planning the model, Lester Associates referred to aerial photographs, insurance maps and a range of other City material. The initial contract for The Panorama demanded less than a one percent margin of error between reality and the model so The Panorama had to be accurate!
After the Fair, The Panorama remained open to the public, its originally planned use as an urban planning tool seemingly forgotten. Until 1970, all of the changes in the City were accurately recreated in the model by Lester’s team. After 1970, very few changes were made until 1992, when Lester Associates changed 60,000+ structures to bring The Panorama up-to-date. An improvement of the lighting system was made in 2006, the first change to the model since 1992.
QMA has launched a program giving you the opportunity to “purchase” NYC real estate on The Panorama of the City of New York for as little as $50. Now you can adopt a building or landmark and/or give an incredibly unique and completely clutter-free gift to anyone you know who loves New York City. Want to adopt the dog run in Tompkins Square Park? Your daughter’s school? Your local library or fire station? The rooftop where you met your husband during the blackout? Katz’s deli? The Brooklyn Bridge? Central Park? The building where your father had his dry cleaning business for thirty years? No problem! Click here for more information about how you can adopt a building or favorite landmark and provide support for the ongoing care and maintenance of this beloved treasure.