A few weeks back, we had the final shoot for the movie. It was a return to the Queens Museum. The museum was also the site of one our first shoots. As such, we needed to re-visit it as much had changed. The name had changed, with the organization dropping "of Art" from the end of its name. And a 50,000 square foot expansion, which was just getting underway on our first visit, had just held its grand opening gala. Everything had a fresh feel: the whole museum had the feel of what I can only describe as promise. The Promise of a bright future.
It was one of the oldest parts of the museum that struck me though. As it has half a dozen times before, and as it has to millions before me: the NYC Panorama.
The panorama is a truly one of a kind. It took thousands of man-hours to bring it to life for the World's Fair. The amount of work that went into it would never be attempted by a museum today, making the Queens Museum quite lucky. There's something about the scale of it, and the psychological effect of how large it has to be to present all of New York. At the fair, the model was viewed from a series of suspended cars on a track, that looked like tiny helicopters. I know some people were upset when the helicopters went away, but in some respects, the overwhelming size and detail of the model becomes more apparent when you can stand and, linger, just feet above the model.
Shooting the model for the movie is nearly impossible. Get close enought to show the level of detail, and the size of it is entirely lost. Pull out for a wide shot, and you can't hope to communicate the level of detail. We use the phrase "one of a kind" a lot these days, but the NYC Panorama at the Queens Museum truly is. I'd encourage everyone to check it out.