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Modeling: New York City in Miniature

NYC Panorama
The Panorama of the City of New York is the jewel in the crown of the collection of the Queens Museum of Art. Built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair, in part as a celebration of the City’s municipal infrastructure, this 9,335 square foot architectural model includes every single building constructed before 1992 in all five boroughs; that is a total of 895,000 individual structures.

The Panorama was built by a team of 100 people working for the great architectural model makers Raymond Lester Associates in the three years before the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair. In planning the model, Lester Associates referred to aerial photographs, insurance maps, and a range of other City material; the Panorama had to be accurate, indeed the initial contract demanded less than one percent margin of error between reality and the model. 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 again Lester Associates changed over 60,000 structures to bring it up-to-date. In 2006 an up-grade of the lighting system - the first change to the model since 1992 - allowed for the Panorama to be displayed in different light conditions; highlight different buildings or areas of the City; and even recreate the sounds of the city. -- from the website.

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