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QMA Panorama gets Citi Field

About $40 in materials and three part-time architecture students later, Citi Field replaces Shea Stadium – again.

This time the facelift comes not to the ‘real’ Queens skyline but to the New York City Panorama at the Queens Museum of Art (QMA).

Representatives from QMA, the New York Mets, Citibank and one of the model makers swapped the stadiums on the panorama at a press conference to launch the museum’s Adopt-A-Building on the Panorama program on Monday, March 16. This fundraising initiative by QMA comes at a time when the museum laid off about 15 percent of its staff, and like other arts institutions across Queens, tries to alleviate some of the pressure brought on by city budget cuts and the downturn in the economy.

Even Borough President Helen Marshall, who attended and spoke at the event, said she would adopt her house to raise money for the museum.

The QMA looks to fund future changes with $250 donations from city residents who wish to have their house renovated on the panorama. That’s a bargain compared to the $10,000 donation the Mets and Citigroup made to replace Shea with Citi Field. According to a museum spokesperson, someone had already made a call to adopt the Chrysler Building, which like the naming rights to other landmark buildings or new developments, comes with a $10,000 price tag.

Even Borough President Helen Marshall, who attended and spoke at the event, said she would adopt her house to raise money for the museum.

The Panorama of the City of New York contains 895,000 buildings. In 1992, the last grand-scale actualization of the panorama took place with 65,000 buildings undergoing renovation. The task took 3 years, 100 people and $1 million to complete. The addition of Citi Field marks the first change to the landscape in seventeen years.

The original Shea Stadium, and the Shea Stadium model, went up with the 1964 World’s Fair. Though the physical stadium has been leveled, the model will become part of the 1964 World’s Fair panorama at the QMA.

The Citi Field model, and most future changes to the panorama, will be undertaken with City College’s School of Architecture. For the Citi Field model, two out of the three model makers hailed from Queens.

“It’s a really big honor and it’s been a really great experience,” said Ricky Shum, one of the model makers and a third year architecture students from Elmhurst. “To think that we contributed to this and how kids in the future will look back on it makes me really proud.”

Steven de Laurentiis, another one of the model makers and a third year student in architecture from Ozone Park, wouldn’t disclose if the Mets were his favorite baseball team. But he said “It’s nice to contribute to my home town.”

“I can’t wait to bring my friends and tell them I worked on this,” he said. “Hopefully they don’t change the Mets stadium for another 60 years.”

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