Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Adopt a Miniature Manhattan

The Queens Museum of Art in New York is employing a creative fund-raising effort called an Adopt-a-Building program - miniature buildings in fact. Building Collector reader Howie G. alerted me of this news. The museum’s most famous asset, a 9,335-square-foot scale model of New York City, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair, has 895,000 structures, includes every street, bridge and skyscraper in the five boroughs. The city model is the centerpiece of the museum which located on the old fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park near the Unisphere. Through the Adopt-a-Building program, you can “own” an apartment in the model for $50. A single-family house in the model will cost $250. For $10,000, developers can have their brand-new glass-tower condo buildings added to the panorama. Basically, donors are helping to update the miniature city model. Until now, the panorama has represented a snapshot of New York, frozen in time. In 1992, workers updated 60,000 structures to reflect the city’s constant churn of construction and demolition, but it has been untouched since then. In this miniature world, the World Trade Center still stands and the luxury towers now lining the Long Island City and Williamsburg waterfronts are nowhere to be seen. Now, the panorama will evolve gradually along with the city — at least, for those who pay. The first adopters were the New York Mets. In a recent ceremony, a City College architecture student walked onto the panorama and, like a giant monster in a Japanese disaster film, pulled the model of Shea Stadium from its foundation. She replaced it with the new Citi Field into place. Adopt-a-Building will raise funds dedicated to maintaining the panorama and the educational programs built around it.

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