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NEW YORK CITY BICENTENNIAL 

"NEW YORK 1776 II 

OVER 

"NEW YORK 1976 II 



A. SCOPE 

I. Two hundred years ago, our na.tional leaders and 

the American people created a nation from a philosophy. 

2. In 1976 the United States will celebrate the annive-rsary 

of that memorable event. 

3. This proposal recreates the City of New York in "1776" 

in three dimensional model form, and suspends it over 

the presently existing "1976 11 three dimensional model 

of New York City. 

4. The visitor, both public and student will be able to 

view American history as it was lived in 1776 and 

compare the physical aspects of the Past and 

Pre sent in an exciting and unique presentation. 

It will be both an educational and emotional experience. 

5. The visitor from our disadvantaged rural and urban 

areas will be made aware of our humble beginnings. 

6. It is a unique proposal and will provide an example 

for other cities to adopt for themselves. 

1 



II 

B. PURPOSE 

I. This proposal is for a Community Educational Program 

in its broadest sense. 

2. 

3. 

To increase the public's awareness of its existence in 

the . Past { 1776) and the Present ( 1976 ). 

To educate through a "Real Time" three dimensional 

historical project - the public and the student at 

all educational levels, public, high school and college. 

4. To provide the City of New York with both a "Bi-

centennial" .exhibit and a permanent exhibit in 

conjunction with the Past (1776) model and the 

Present model (1976). 

5. To show what New York City looked like in "1776 11 

and to allow the student and public to compare it 

with the pre sent city. 

6. To show the growth of the city as a Past-Present 

device with sound and light animation so that an 

exciting period in our Past history is as memorable 

as man's first step on the moon. 

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I 
C. PLACE 

1. The New York City "1939" and "1964" World's Fair 

Pavilion in Flushing Meadow Park. 

2. The Geographical Center of New York City. 

3. The Present Model of New York City "1974" 

a. In 1964 the Mayor of New York authorized con-

struction of an engineering and planning model 

of New York City "1964" as a permanent 

device. 

b. The model became the New York City 1964 

World's Fair Exhibit in conjunction with the 

Museum of the City of N~w York's "1664" New 

Amsterdam model. 

c. The two models celebrated the 300th anniversary 

of the city. 

d. The 1964 model cost $700, 000. 00. 

e. The 1964 model is 15, 000 square feet in size. 

f. The 1964 model is an accurate topographical, 

three dimensional map of New York City. 

g. The 1964 model has 865, 000 individual detailed 

accurate buildings on it. 

h. The 1964 model is an accurate replica of the real 

3 



C.. P LACE (continued) 

3. h. (continued) 

city - see pho t o enclosed. 

4. This vast de_vice, the largest and most detailed in the 

w orld is continually u pda ted so that the "1964" model is 

accurate i n "1976". 

5. Sixty t h ou sand m a n hours were required to build,twenty 

thousand of which were research and engineering. 

6. Two thousand public buildings are animated with 

distinct light codes controlled from a console both 

automati cally and manually, so that all fire houses 

light in red, all police stations light in green, all 

schools light in white. 

7. A Lowell Thomas recording presents all the cultural 

and civic activities via sound. 

8. Two thousand school children visit this building each 

week. 

9. Hundreds of city planners, public officials, architects 

and engineers use the device to assist in their plan-

ning. 

1 o. " Transportation, railroad, subway, highway systems 

are depicted. 

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D. PROPOSAL 

1. To design, research, engineer and build a three dimension-

al model of New York City as it existed in 11 1776". 

2. To suspend the 11 1776" model ten feet above the presently 

existing 11 1976 11 model. 

3. To depict in three dimensions the topographical map of 

New York in 11 1776 11 • 

4. To depict the water lines of the harbor and rivers in' 

"1776". 

5. To depict the city streets as they existed in 111776". 

6. To depict all public and private houses and other physical 

aspects of the man made culture. 

7. To accentuate by light animation the public buildings as 

they existed in "1776. 

8. To have a duplicate model of New York City - in the 

same scale - "1776" over "1976 11 • 

9. To present to the visitor, through sound and light anima-

tion, the exciting historical moments of New York 11 1776". 

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E. PROJECT DETAILS 

1. Historical research, source materials will be gathered 

from: 

a. Museum of the City of New York 

b. The New York Historical Society 

c. Long Island Historical Society 

d. Staten Island Historical Society 

e. Bronx Historical Society 

f. New York Public Library 

g. New York City Archives 

Estimated cost - $18, 000. 00 

2. Three Dimensional Topographical Map from Above 

Research 

a. Scale - l" = 100' (same as "1976" existing model) 

b. Area covered in lower Manhattan -

Battery to Canal Street - four square miles. 

Estimated cost - $35, 000. 00 

3. . Street Layout 

a. To be derived from the Archives . . 

• .b Superimposed on the topographical map. 

Estimated cost - $12, 000. 00 

6 



E. PROJECT DETAILS (continued) 

4. City Buildings 

a. All model buildings will be built from Archives 

data. 

b. Roof style, chimney.s., window character will be 

detailed and historically accurate. 

c. Approximately three thousand individual public 

and private buildings will be required. 

Estimated cost - $25, 000. 00 

5. Rural Buildings 

a. Outside the "1776" New York City environs -

"Battery to Canal", all known buildings of a his-

torical character will be at a larger scale - 1 : 48. 

b. This will include all present five boroughs -

Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten 

Island. 

c. An example, Van Cortland House in the Bronx -

approximate! y 100 buildings. 

d. Each historical building would be suspended ten feet 

above its correct location on the present "1976" 

·model. 

Estimated cost - $22, 000. 00 

7 



8 

E. PROJECT DETAILS (continued) 

6. Light Animation 

a. Each of the large scale five borough models will 

be individually spotlighted with both manual and . 
automatic punched tape controls. 

b. The Manhattan model will have similar spot-

lighting for its historic buildings. 

c. Ultraviolet overhead lighting to create an animat-

ed night scene will be ceiling mounted. 

d. High intensity lamps to duplicate sunlight effect 

will be ceiling mounted. 

Estimated cost - $19, 000. 00 

7. Sound Animation 

a. Audio equipment will consist of both individual 

"visitor control" units, hearphones, and 

visitor group units using speakers. 

b. A console will be engineered and built to house 

the tape drive units and to coordinate the visitor 1s 

audio demands at various locations around the 

historical "1776" Over "19 7 6 11 exhibit. 

c. "Historical Script" (research data from the 

/ 



E. PROJECT DETAILS (continued) 

7. c. (continued) 

Archives), writing, recording, sound effects and 

appropriate musical background. 

Estimated cost - $17,000.00 

8. In stalla ti on 

Estimated cost - $25,000.00 

9. Design and Engineering 

Estimated cost - $15, 000. 00 

10. Building Modification 

Estimated cost - $10, 000. 00 

11. Building Electrical System Modification 

Estimated cost - $20, 000. 00 

9 



THE SUNDAY HERALD TRIBUN E M A GAZ I NE 

JULY 12, 1964 

[n the New York City Pavilion, just west of the 
Unisphere, lies one of the most fascinating-and least 
expensive-treats at the World's Fair: An elaborately 
detailed, magnificently scaled model of New York City 
itself. Froµi the southernmost tip of Staten Island to 
the farthest reaches of the Bronx, every bridge, hous-
ing project, private home, hotel, tenement, church, 
hospital, skyscraper, dock, museum, street, park and 
parkway within New York City limits is faithfully 
reproduced on a scale of 100 feet to the inch. 

For just a dime, visitors to the pavilion can board 
a moving gondola that simulates a helicopter flight as 
it moves round the 18,000-square-foot model. For one 
New Yorker, straining for a glimpse of his own block 
as well as the whole ci.ty, the six-minute ride was not 
long enough. But at the end of the ride, the moving 
gondola r ises to a balcony where, debarking at a simu-
lated 9,000 feet, the visitor can stand as long as he 
likes to study the awesome view he has there of five 
boroughs, two rivers and a bay. Indeed, he can spend 
simulated days and nights there; the model grows dark 
p.eriodically and is animated with many hundreds of 
twinkl ing lights. 

The model was built at a cost of $800,000 by 
Raymond A. Lester Associates, of Thomwood, N. Y., 
at the suggestion of Parks Commissioner Newbold 
Morris. It is up to date as of January 1, 1964. (Ray-
mond Lester guesses it would take five men working 
nearly a month to keep up with the amount of new 
building in New York each year.) 

It took 30 men three years to construct the model. 
By far the hardest part of the job, according to Mr. 
Lester, was the labor involved in gathering informa-
tion. In addition to maps, aerial photographs, and 
a rchitects' plans, they depended on almost daily obser-
vations (especially of Manhattan) to stay current. 

Their work produced all sorts of staggering num-
bers. There a re a total of 835,000 buildings in New 
York, Mr. Lester reports, and that is the number on 

~ NftD York I Heral4 Tri1n111e I 11"1 1Z, 1964 

view in the model. Wit):10ut a Pharaoh's manpower 
resources, Mr. Lester divided the city's buildings into 
three classes to get his model built. In one category 
were New York's 47,000 tenements, 75,000 brownstones 
and-<:ount 'em-500,000 private homes (ranch-type, 
semi-detached, etc.) ; all these models were more or 
less mass produced, many of them by injection-mould-
ing on a production line. The second category consisted 
of structures with an important degree of uniformity. 
Churches, for example, could be divided into two basic 
types, those with single and double steeples, and, 
within these groups, into small, medium and large. 
These were cast in epoxy. In the thjrd category fell 
the 100,000 structures in New York that are so unique 
-skyscrapers, museums, cathedrals, hospitals--that 
short cuts were unthinkable. Every one of these 100,-
000 was hand-made from plexiglass. 

The model was built in 300 sections, each 4 feet by 
10 feet, and mounted on a platform three feet high. 
(The height permits electricians to get under it and 
adjust the lights.) As administrator and prime mover 
of the exhibit, Newbold Morris made certain that the 
city's 9,000 acres of park land, 17.3 per cent of the tota~ 
are conspicuous in the model. The vivid green park 
sections are treated with a special type of paint that 
remains luminous even when the rest of the model is 
blacked out. 

Mr. Morris hopes to keep the model in the New 
York City Pavilion (where it occupies space used 
in non-Fair years as a roller-skating rink) until space 
can be found for it as a permanent exhibit, perhaps 
in the projected Civic Center in lower Manhattan. 
Already it has been useful to city planners. "Not long 
ago," Raymond Lester said, "Paul Screvane sat down 
in the Hudson River to take a sight on some East Side 
housing." The .view the President of the City Council 
ha,d from there-the accuracy of the model notwith-
standing- was seriously distorted : no smoke, no noise, 
no cars, no litter, no people. ~ 

Model City 

by John Molleson 



NEW YORK CITY TERRAIN MODEL 

NEW YORK CITY INFORMATION CENTER 

FLUSHING MEADOW, NEW YORK 

DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, NEW YORK CITY 



NEW AMSTERDAM " 1664 " , FOR NEW YORK 

WORLD 'S FAIR TRICENTENNIAL CELEBRA-

TION, NEW YORK CITY " 1664 " - " 1964" 

LESTER ASSOCIATES, INC. 



TH~ QUEENS MUSEUM NEW YORK CITY BUILDING, FLUSHING MEADOW-CORONA 
· .... PA~ .. ~ FLUSHING, NEW YORK 11368 

This picture of Rayn10nd A. Lester 
"holding the George Washington Bridge" 
gives a good idea of the model scale 
and size. 

An aerial view in miniature 
looking south on Manhattan Island. 

This remarkably detailed model of 
the five boroughs of New York City, 
built to a scale of 1"=100', fascinates 
thousands of visitors to the New York 
City Building at Flushing Meadow each 
week. The model is also an accurate 
tool for the planning and development 
activities for the Parks and Highway 
Departments 

Close-up view of the model showing 
lower Manhattan and Battery Park. 



36-A The Boston Sunday Globe - March 26, 1961 

Today's Architecture 

A Model City 
Needs 

A City Model 
B1 WOLF VON ECKARDT 

WASHINGTON - A good 
way to start building a mod-
el city is to build a city 
model-a scale model of the 
entire city that ·would show 
everyone, including school 
children, housewives, home 
owners, builders, officials 
and planner.s, exactly what 
the city looks like now and 
how new- plans and propos-
als for any given area would 
affect it in the future. 
This idea was proposed 

1ome time ago by Lewellyn 
A. Jennings, chairman of the 
Federal City . Council, as a 
means . fo bring the weight 
of public- opinion to bear on 
the solution of planning prob-
lems ·and to make the "plan.;. 
ning with people," everyone 
talks about, more practical 
and effective. Jennings asked 
for ''a giant model of the 
city that people can inspect 
and dream about." 
To niake our voice ef f ec-

tive and · constructive we all 
must know what we are 
talking about. This is often 
difficult-and not only for 
laymen-on the basis of ~lue­
prints, charts and drawmgs, 
let alone the planners' jar-
gon. Models of in~ivid';lal 
projects help us to v1suahze 
only that one project. It does 
not show us how we get 
there, where the nearest 
schools and shops are, or how 
it would affect its surround• 
ings. 
The idea for a model of 

an entire city is not new. 
Memphis, Tenn., has recent-
ly built such, a model of its 
entire downtown. New York 
City has one, covering all its 
five burroughs, on public dis-
play at Flushing Meadows, 
the former World's Fair 
grounds. There are other 
smaller ones, too. 
Such a model would be 

built to ·a scale of .one inch 
to 50 feet. In Washington, 
that would mean that a mod-
el for the entire dis-
trict would take up about 88 
feet. square. The Washington 
Monument would show 101h 
inches high. At this scale you 

would conveniently view the 
city as you would from a low 
flying helicopter. 
All the important buildings 

would be shown as exact 
miniature replicas, their ac• 
tual colors and all. Small 
homes might just be blocks 
in the correct size, shape and 
color. But it would, of course; 
be possible to show all the 
details on the street; down 
to the last fire hy~rant. 
If such a miniature Wash-

ington were built, the pla,n-
ning and fine arts commis-
sions might require that the 
builders of every major pro-
posed structure furnish a 
model of it in the proper 
scale. The model would then 
be dropped in place and ev-
eryone could see the change 
in the cityscape for better or 
worse. 
As the builder of the New 

York City model, Raymond 
A. Lester, has proposed a 
continuous conveyor system 
of small gondolas, seating 
four people each, would move 
a tape recorded voice de-
slow ly above the model while 
scribes the trip which lasts 
about four minutes. A small 
charge for the ride would 
help defray the cost. 
In New York, Lester has 

provided telescopes so you 
can focus in on whatever 
section you want to study 
and rejoice · when you find 
your house. 
There are also ways to 

show what goes on in the 
city. In New York, for in-
stance, the model shows all 
city-owned housing in a spe-
cial color and the amount of 
it is astounding. Push a but-
ton and little red lights show 
all the fire stations, green 
lights show police stations, 
white ones hospitals and so 
forth. You can see where the 
schools, the parking lots, the 
recreation centers and other 
vital services are distributed 
and how the traffic moves. 
The model of downtown 

Philadelphia which had a 
great deal to do with gaining 
support for that city's much 
praised urban renewal pro-
gram, first shows the city as 
it was. As you push a button 

certain sections flip over and 
show what they will look like 
after they are rebuilt. But 
a model can help study and 
intelligent decision making 
as well as information, edu-
cation and propaganda. 
You can, for instance, pro-

ject colored lights and ani-
mated charts on the model to 
show such factors as chang-
ing income, racial distribu-
tion and other demograhpic 
facts and trends. You could 
show the movement and in-
tensity of traffic flow, pres-
ent and future, and thus see 
at a glance what problems 
are likely to develop. A com-
puter could keep the infor-
mation constantly up to date. 

In New York, both Mayor 
Lindsay's and Robert Moses' 
differing proposals for new 
freeways are shown on the 
model to help the people of 
the city make up their minds 
which one they prefer. A new 
housing project at Brooklyn 
Heights was considerably 
changed when it became 
clear on the model that the 
first design would damage 
the sky line. 
The model saved the en-

gineers retained by the arch-
diocese over $100,000 when 
they set out to install a cen-
tral .closed-circuit education-
al television network for the 
city's parochial schools. The 
model showed them the 
building heights and clear-
ances in the path of the net 
without elaborate surveys on 
the city streets. 
Avoidance of just one cost-

ly mistake might pay for an 
entire city model which 
would cost about $1 million 
without the building, of 
course. 
As one city planner said, 

any child who has been to 
a planetarium knows more 
about the universe than he 
knows about the city 
in which he lives. A city 
model would remedy this. It 
could be an important edu-
cational tool, a self-1iquidat-
ing tourist attraction as well 
as a potent device to m~ke 
city planning more effective. 'l'he wa1hlnston Post 



FEATURES OF THE 

NEW YORK CITY MODEL 

A. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HA VE WORKED WITH 
THE MODEL? 

1. City Planners 

New York City Planning Commission, 
W. Ballard, Chairman 

2. Architects 

D. Chait; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; 
Kelly & Gruzen 

3. Civil Engineers 

Madigan-Hyland, Inc. ; Andrews & Clark 

4. Lawyers 

Gladstone and Lowell 

5. Photographers 

Campbell Studios; Allen B. Howard & Associates, 
Inc. 

6. Educators 

New York City Board of Education, 
B. E. Donovan, Superintendent 

7. News Media 

Herald Tribune; Look Magazine 

8. City Government 

Mayor of the City of New York 
Hon. John Lindsey; Hon. Robert Wagner 

Office of the President of the Boroughs of 
Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens 
and Brooklyn 



A. 8. (Continued) 

New York City Police Department, Fire Depart-
ment, etc. 

9. LandscaEe Architects 

Clark &··Rapuano, Inc. 

10. Communication Engineers 

Adler Educational Systems Div., Teleprompter 
Corp. 

11. General Public 

B. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MODEL AS A WORKING 
DEVICE 

1. The Model is constantly being updated to incorporate 
new construction and eliminate structures that have 
been demolished. 

Example: Removal of Penn Station and substitution 
of New Madison Square Garden and Penn 
Plaza. 

2. The Model is a true geographical representation of 
the New York City area. The terrain is accurately 
contoured and every building is represented in 3-D 
form. There are 854, 635 buildings. 

3. The Model may be walked on, thus permitting a 
close-up view of any area by a person or a group of 
people. Over 1000 people have actually walked on 
the Model in the process of using same. This does 
not include over 3 million visitors who have viewed 
the Model from peripheral viewing facilities. 

2 



C. HOW IS THE MODEL BEING USED? 

1. As an Information Tool 

a. By actuating the proper switch at the remote 
control console the following items can be 
indeper.idently shown on the map: 

( 1) Schools - Elementary, High Schools 
and Colleges (8 70 facilities) 

(2) Fire Department (251 facilities) 
(3) Police Stations (123 Precincts) 
(4) Parks and Recreational Centers (1991 facilities) 
(5) Courts and Penal Institutions (53 facilities) 
(6) Health Centers and Hospitals (113 facilities) 
( 7) Libraries ( 18 6 facilities) 
(8) Museums (25 institutions) 
(9) Sanitation Department (265 facilities) 

(10) Water, Gas & Electric (20 facilities) 
(11) Public Housing (131 projects) 
(12) Welfare Centers (219 Centers) 

2. As a Planning Tool 

a. Future Housing 

Example: Studies of the New Trade Center 
Complex by Port of New York Authority 

b. Future Highway Possibilities 

Example: Proposed Cross-Manhattan Highways 
are superimposed on the existing con-
ditions in a temporary mode to study 
structures effected and impact on 
environment. 

c. Sight Line Study for Closed Circuit TV throughout 
the City. 

Example: Study of TV line of sight transmission 
interference for proposed Educational 
TV System for New York City Parochial 
School System. 

3 



c. 2. (Continued) 

d. Traffic Pattern Study 

Example: Evaluation of one way street modifi-
cation - Traffic Commissioner 
H. Barnes 

. 
e. Future Fire Station and School Sites 

selection based on location of new private home 
developments in Staten Island 

£. Police Protective Programs 
Studies to determine most suitable routes and 
protection overlook points at occasion of VIP 
visitors. 

3. As an Educational Device 

a. Pointing out the size of the City of New York 
to thousands of people and especially school 
children. 

Example: Over 50, 000 students have visited 
the Model on formal class trips. 

b. The Entire City (all five boroughs) can be viewed 
from a single position. 

c. Many human interest stories have been written 
about the map. 

Example: Readers Digest 

4. As a Publicity Tool 

a. The Model has been filmed for advertising such 
as TV commercials, etc. 

Example: First National City Bank of New York 

b. City improvement and city planning movies 
have be en made. 

Example: A. Andrews - "Once Upon a Dump" 

4 



c. 4. (Continued) 

c. Local areas have been photographed for 
Community Improvement Projects and Brochures. 

Example: New York City Parks Department 

d. Over 3 Million people have visited the Model 
and paid admission. 

5 


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