Accessibility links

From Huge to Extra Small, at New York City Museum

A part of the 'Panorama of the City of New York.'

A part of the 'Panorama of the City of New York.'

Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English. I’m Caty Weaver.

Inside the Queens Museum in New York City there is another New York City. It is a 50-year-old model of the town in which every street, building and park was reproduced in small.

The so-called “Panorama of the City of New York” was built as an exhibit for the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Over time, artists added to the model. Now it represents the way the city looked in 1992.

The model is huge. It covers 870 square meters. Visitors to the Panorama observe from beside and above it as day turns to night every 20 minutes. Little lights shine from buildings until the morning light appears.

Hitomi Iwasaki is the museum exhibitions organizer and director. She says the Panorama presents an unusual problem – even though it is the museum’s main appeal.

“No matter what fantastic exhibition you think you put outside everybody goes back to the Panorama and goes ‘wow!’”

Currently the Queens Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the fair and the Panorama. The show is called “Bringing the World Into the World.” Ms. Iwasaki said she decided not to try to compete with the Panorama. Instead she made it part of the exhibition.

The show includes the museum’s largest piece, the Panorama. It also includes its smallest piece: a microscopic reproduction of the Queens Museum itself. Artist and engineer Jessica Rylan created that piece using nanotechnology. It is just 120 micrometers long and it cannot be seen by visitors. Guess why? It is hidden inside the model of the Queens Museum itself within the panorama of New York City.

Other objects include a scale model of our solar system made in 1983 by artist Chris Burden. The sun hangs over the panorama of New York City. Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus hang in other museum rooms.

But, the outer planets are not even on museum property. Jupiter hangs at the nearby Queens Zoo. Neptune is in a restaurant more than a kilometer and a half away.

The show at the Queens Museum in New York City will end October 14th.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Show comments