A few friends had whispered in my ear about Gulliver’s Gate, a new exhibit in Times Square. One friend was lucky enough to get a preview of the show before it opened and made a very persuasive case to go see it – thank you Amy. Now let me repeat her advice and shout in your ear: GRAB YOUR GROUP AND GO SEE GULLIVER’S GATE.
We went on a day where I may have let my enthusiasm for being active get the better of me. Sometimes I can oversubscribe our day. Sometimes when I do this the kids get a little annoyed and in turn become annoying. So picture deflated me arriving at the front door of Gulliver’s Gate with two vexed and ornery tweens that had no interest whatsoever in my next GREAT idea for the day. Fortified by Amy’s positive review, I chose to stay strong rather than buckle under pressure as I wrestled my two across the threshold. Luckily I had the back up of my niece Abigail, or I may not have succeeded. Thank you Abigail. And thank you to the masterminds, artists, and model makers of Gulliver’s Gate for saving our day!
One escalator ride and about thirty seconds later, their eyeballs landed on the first mini model of NYC and their moods were transformed. Phew. Gulliver’s Gate is a visual and cerebral feast of mini models of famous places around the world. It gives NYC a whole new riff on “It’s a small world after all.” For two hours we oohed and aahed and pointed and marveled over all there was to see. With your ticket comes a magical key which unlocks whimsical interactive bits in each exhibit. Very smart of the creators to include this as it encourages more active and goal oriented participation. Also peppered about the space are on staff “navigators” who enthusiastically point out itty bitty nuances that one might miss on their own. Oh, I see you now Spidey! Well hello Loch Ness Monster! And is that you Zeus in the clouds? Yes it is.
Each model was created in the place of it’s origination. Each artist was held accountable to the same miniature scale: 1 to 87 which translates to 1 foot = 2 millimeters. This is the same scale used in miniature train making. No wonder this reminded me of the annual Holiday Train show at the Botanical Gardens – anyone who loves that show will love this show. In the back next to Japan, they have an open workspace. Here you can ask the artists all the questions you want and see them working on their next model. The artists we talked to were working on the Alaska model. You can also see the 3-D printers they use to create some of what is on display.
Represented in the exhibit are: NYC, Scotland, Greece, China, Cambodia, Niagara Falls, Russia, Japan, Argentina, Jerusalem, Thailand, India, Paris, Mexico and more. I am sure I am forgetting some of the places but, you get the idea. As we were going through the exhibit my son said, “This makes me want to travel the world.”
Gulliver’s Gate is a happy place and it is an important place. It provides a sense of our place in the world and helps to make sense of our place in the world. Grab your group and go see it. Tip: If you go on the weekend go FIRST thing in the morning or toward the end of the day. I am guessing the middle of the day might be too “it’s a crowded world.” Or go on a weekday if you can, like we did yesterday. This exhibit will be around for awhile. They have the lease for 15 years.
As we were leaving I said to my now ebullient twins, “We should go every year.” They both said, “I’m not waiting a year to go back. Let’s go back next month!” To which this mother said with a triumphant smile on her face: “Well alrighty then. Let’s go!”
To all the mom’s out there. Stay strong. Trust your gut. Sometimes you have to MAKE the magic happen. And some day they will thank you for it.
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