Apartments go for $50 at Queens Panorama

Apartments go for $50 at Queens Panorama
Model maker Claudia Ma (l. to r.) joins Queens Museum Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl, Mets executive Dave Howard and Citi executive John Stewart on the panorama floor before replacing the model of Shea Stadium with the new Citi Field. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Jeremy Walsh

The now complete Citi Field sitting at the northern end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park took 850 construction workers two years and $850 million to build. By comparison, the 6−inch model version just installed at the Queens Museum’s New York Panorama took three part−time interns four months and $40 to complete — a drop in the bucket.

But both projects are an economic stimulus in their own right. The 1:1,200−scale model is the centerpiece of a new adopt−a−building program at the museum that hopes to raise the money to continue upgrading the massive model version of the five boroughs.

Contributors can fork over a range of contributions for naming rights, from $50 for an apartment to $250 for single−family homes to $10,000 for landmark buildings or new developments.

“That’s the way we fix up a neighborhood,” said Queens Museum Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl, noting the last time the museum updated the 895,000−building panorama was a massive $1 million renovation in 1992. The funds will also go toward supporting educational programming at the museum, he said.

The program got an enthusiastic thumbs−up from Borough President Helen Marshall.

“My house is on that map, but I do not think it reflects the renovations we did to it,” she said. “For $250, my house can be straightened out, down there, and that’s great.”

The new Citi Field model was created by three students at the City College School of Architecture: Ricky Shum, 20, of Elmhurst; Steven di Laurentiis, 22, of Ozone Park; and Claudia Ma, 20, of Brooklyn.

“It was a big honor,” Shum said, noting he and his fellow students started building the basswood model in December.

“I’ll definitely be able to come in with my dad and say, ‘I made that,’ ” di Laurentiis said.

Ma got the final honor of placing the model on the floor of the massive panorama. Wearing blue plastic booties on their socked feet, she, Finkelpearl and New York Mets Executive Dave Howard walked north along the East River, tiptoed past Rikers Island and stepped gingerly over the model jetliners on permanent string flight paths in and out of LaGuardia Airport before Ma kneeled and replaced the borough’s baseball capital.

The old model of Shea Stadium they removed will go in the museum’s display of Shea memorabilia, Finkelpearl said, noting it dates back to the 1964 World’s Fair.

“This is the end of an era,” he said, holding up the model after the ceremony. Then, recalling the Mets games he attended as a child at the stadium, he added, “This was the beginning.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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