3. Panorama of the City of New York

Panorama of the City of New York, a remnant of  the 1964 World's Fair in Queens

The Panorama of the City of New York was commissioned by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair and was originally a ride. During the fair, visitors to the exhibit would board a mini helicopter car and “fly” above the panorama for a 9-minute tour of the 9,335-square-foot architectural model. The model features over 895,000 plastic and hand-painting wooden structures originally created over the course of three years by a team of 100 craftsmen from Raymond Lester & Associates. The tiny replicas represented every building in the five boroughs constructed prior to 1992. You can also see every street, every park, and 100 bridges.

The Panorama ride operated for about four years after the fair. The model was updated a few times, largely by donations from architects and developers including Emery Roth and Sons. A major restoration project was undertaken by Raymond Lester & Associates in 1992 to update the model. The most recent buildings and places to be added since then include Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and 27 buildings in Battery Park City. The Panorama became a permanent exhibit in the Queens Museum in 1972. Today, visitors don’t fly above the floor anymore but instead walk around the display on see-through balconies. Every hour you’ll experience a simulated sunrise and the model goes into a glowing night mode. You can even own a piece of the Panorama through the museum’s Adopt-a-Building program launched in 2009 as a creative way to raise funds for its care and maintenance.