Queens, NY Crystal Window & Door Systems donated glass materials and coordinated the renovation of the historic Panorama of the City of New York glass walkway at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadow Park. The museum’s glass walkway, renamed “Crystal Walkway,” was officially opened by the institution’s board of trustees and officials with a ribbon cutting on February 25th.
The Panorama is an architectural scale model of New York City, originally created for the 1964 World’s Fair. At almost 10,000 s/f, it is one of the largest architectural scale models in the world and is surrounded by an elevated visitor viewing walkway. Four sections of the perimeter walkway use glass floor panels to permit viewing of the model below.
Thomas Chen, founder and chairman of Crystal Windows, has been a member of the Queens Museum’s Board of Trustees for the past 10 years. When the replacement of the existing obscured, scratched, and discolored glass walkway panels became a priority, Chen stepped up to donate resources for the project, saving the Museum tens of thousands of dollars in capital expense.
Signage placed along the glass railing of the walkway states “Crystal Walkway − glass flooring generously donated by Crystal Window & Door Systems.” As a thank you, Queens Museum trustee Seth Kupferberg, of Flushing business Kepco, Inc., presented Chen with the ceremonial title to the Crystal Window & Door Systems’ Queens factory land parcel on the Panorama.
The refurbishment used 248 laminated and tempered glass pieces totaling 1,500 s/f supplied by Tempco Glass Fabrication and Cardinal Glass Industries.
“It was a pleasure to be able to assist in preserving this treasured replica of New York City,” said Chen. “Crystal is always glad to lend a hand for our neighbors in this great city.”
At the ribbon cutting reception, Queens Museum president & executive director Sally Tallant thanked Chen and Crystal Windows for the donation. “Over the years as a Trustee, Thomas has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Museum,” said Tallant. “However, today’s gift is priceless.”
“Because of Crystal’s generous donation, visitors to the Queens Museum will be able to fully enjoy the experience of the Panorama once again,” said Debra Wimpfheimer, COO for the Museum.
The Panorama of the City of New York was commissioned by Robert Moses and was built by renowned model maker Raymond Lester & Associates for the 1964 World’s Fair, at a cost of $673,000, comparable to $5 million today. It took 100 model makers three years to create 895,000 to-scale structures in the Panorama representing the actual buildings, bridges, airports, and parks in all five boroughs. The model structures, many hand-painted, are crafted from wood, plastic, Formica, foam, paper, and even etched brass for the bridges. The lighting system for the entire Panorama was recently updated with LED lights operating in a continuous cycle to replicate day and night, with many model buildings decorated with phosphorescent paint to glow under the night cycle black light.
The Queens Museum building was built for the 1939 World’s Fair to showcase New York City. Designed by architect Aymar Embury, II, who also designed the Central Park Zoo and Triborough (now RFK) Bridge, the building once housed the newly formed United Nations General Assembly after World War II until the current United Nations building was completed in Manhattan. The Queens Museum, adjacent to the Unisphere, serves as the gateway to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The Queens Museum has many permanent exhibits of local and regional art, history, science, and technology displayed, along with rotating exhibits by artists from around the world. Also, the Queens Museum sponsors programs for the community including school field trip tours, after-school art classes, and adult professional development workshops. At the center of the main exhibit floor is a modern, multi-use space where events, performances, and programs are held.