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NY Mets lead off Queens Museum of Art's new Adopt-A-Building Program as Citi Field replaces Shea Stadium on the Panorama of the City of New York
03/16/2009 12:00 PM ET

March 16, 2009 - Queens, NY - The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) officially launched its Adopt-A-Building on the Panorama program this morning as Tom Finkelpearl, QMA Executive Director, and Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, New York Mets, made the first change to the historic model since 1992 by replacing Shea Stadium with Citi Field. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was on hand and congratulated both the museum and the Mets on this new partnership and their contributions to the borough, and then pledged a $250 personal donation to adopt her Queens home. Also participating in the program were Claudia Ma, a student in City College's School of Architecture partnering with the QMA to build the new additions to the Panorama, and John Stewart, President, Local Markets, for Citibank.

The Adopt-A-Building Program allows real estate tycoons of every age - from children to bona fide real estate developers - to own a piece of New York. Donations ranging from $50 for an apartment to $10,000 for major landmarks and new developments will allow interested fans of the Panorama and the city it represents to not only receive a "deed" to their property, but also support the maintenance and updating of the model and ensure that ongoing Panoramabased educational programming continues. New buildings, like Citi Field, will be created by first and second year architectural students from City College's architecture program through an internship.

"This is a landmark day for the Queens Museum of Art," said Finkelpearl. "The Panorama is an important part of what this museum is all about and to take this step in not only ensuring that it will be maintained and updated, but also inviting the public to participate in the ongoing history of this treasure, is both exciting and rewarding. The Mets have been longtime supporters of the museum and we are proud to have them as the first participants in the Adopt-A-Building program. The Borough President has already followed their lead and I invite the rest of the city, and beyond, to participate in our own mini-stimulus package."

The Adopt-A-Building Program, offering every contributor the opportunity to own their own little piece of real estate in New York City, features prices ranging from $50 for an apartment or $250 for single family homes, to $10,000 for naming rights to landmark buildings or new developments for up to five years:

  • $50 - Individual Apartments
  • $100 - Cars, boats, piers
  • $250 - Single family homes
  • $500 - Firehouses, police stations, libraries, schools
  • $1,000 - Small commercial buildings/low-rise buildings, warehouses, piers
  • $2,500 - Neighborhood or Park Maintenance
  • $5,000 - Parks, Cultural Institutions (Museums, Zoos, Libraries)
  • $7,500 - Hi-rise buildings and commercial spaces, bodies of water, highways
  • $10,000 - Stadiums, arenas, major landmarks, bridges, airports, etc.

The Adopt-a-Building program proceeds will be expended for the ongoing care and maintenance of the 9,355 square foot architectural model featuring 895,000 building replicas on a scale of 1:1200 feet with partial donations included against a challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation for the Museum's capital and endowment campaign. Donors will be acknowledged on all Adopt-A-Building related materials, within the museum and on our web site, with major donors being featured in a listing in the Panorama's audio/video program. This is the first step in an open-ended multi-year program to update the model.

For the creation of new structures to the Panorama, the QMA has entered into a partnership with The City College of New York/CUNY's School of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture in which students will participate in paid internships and model the new pieces in the style and scale of the original model. The first structure, Citi Field, was built of bass wood, graphic images and glue by students Ricky Shum, Steven DiLaurentiis and Claudia Ma, with supervision from their professors Marta Gutman and Fran Leadon, and Dean George Ranalli.

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; 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 materials; 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 65,000 structures to bring it up-to-date. During 2005/6 we will again be making a number of important improvements to the Panorama. In 2005, the Museum overhauled the lighting system and introduced a 12-minute audio/video program outlining the history and landmarks of the model and the city it represents.

Those interested in participating in the Adopt-A-Building Program should e-mail or call 718-592-9700 x141. Digital photography available upon request.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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