Free admission (all visitors, all hours)
The Panorama 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. The Panorama was one of the most successful attractions at the ‘64 Fair with a daily average of 1,400 people taking advantage of its 9 minute simulated helicopter ride around the City.
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 again Lester Associates changed over 60,000 structures to bring it up-to-date.
In the Spring of 2009 the Museum launched its Adopt-A-Building program with the installation of the Panorama’s newest addition, Citi Field, to continue for the ongoing care and maintenance of this beloved treasure.
The Queens Museum of Art has a program giving you the opportunity to “purchase” NYC real estate on The Panorama of the City of New York for as low as $50. To learn how you can become involved click here.