Best place to be awed by the metropolis (2008)

Queens Museum of Art

There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding your own building in the 9,335-square-foot Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, an appropriately dazzling scale model of the greatest city in the world. Locating your high-rise or brownstone from among the model's 895,000 buildings—every single New York City structure built before 1992—testifies to one's smallness in the vast city, but also confirms your place in it. A survivor of the 1965 World's Fair, the Panorama fills a room the size of a large movie theater and can be viewed from a glass-walled ramp that circles the entire model, from the upper reaches of the Bronx to the sandy edges of Staten Island. It's the only way to grasp the topography of Manhattan, the vastness of Queens, the way the city interlocks with the sea. And the rest of the Queens Museum also fascinates, with its rotating exhibits of photographs and contemporary art reflecting the ethnic patchwork of the borough—Latin American, South Asian, Middle Eastern, and just about everything else. Right outside is the 140-foot-high, 900,000-pound Unisphere, the largest globe in the world, and nearby are the bustling neighborhoods of Corona and Jackson Heights.


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