NEW YORK: Manhattan’s latest grand attraction cost $40 million and counting. It’s encompassed in a mammoth 50,000 square foot on Times Square. Gulliver’s Gate – named for Jonathan Swift’s 18th century satire ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ replete with dwarfs termed Lilliputians – is a mind boggling array of superb miniatures of some of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Taj Mahal.
Gulliver’s Gate, unveiled for the media today, on Tuesday, before it opens its doors for the public at $36 for adults, and $28 for children and seniors, has extensively covered Manhattan’s iconic buildings and spaces, including street life showing moving trains and pedestrians, depicting routine life in the Big Apple.
There is a miniature for parts of New England too, apart from buildings from Washington, DC, as far as the US goes. The rest of the miniatures are from around the world. Missing from the space on 216 W. 44th Street is Australia and Antarctica.
Gulliver’s Gate was initiated by founders Eiran Gazit and Michael Langer almost 10 years ago. The duo even took recourse to Kickstarter to make their project a reality.
“We have miniatures that represent some of the world’s greatest treasures,” said Langer at the opening. “You will see the world in a way you’ve never seen it before.”
Adrian Davies, the Head of Model Making at Gulliver’s Gate, has a workshop along with the displays, to educate visitors on the intricacies of the project. He and his team of 20 engineers and electricians are still working on a project called the ‘Airport at Times Square’, a fictional airport.
Davies told News India Times that his team made most of parts for New York City over 16 months. Most other miniatures were commissioned from around 600 teams globally. The Taj Mahal was, in fact, made in China.
This is not an exhibition for those in a hurry with only an hour at their disposal to make a flash tour – the more time one spends gazing at the replicas, the more intricacies one will find, and revel in.
The One World Trade Center is scaled at 1:87, with its top floor grazing the ceiling at Gulliver’s Gate; the Rockefeller Center, New York Public Library, Times Square, the High Line, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building come alive as the eyes wander to street level, where terrific miniatures of milling public and rush of transportation makes it more realistic. Clever details like NYPD cops in action, Spider Man hanging on Brooklyn Bridge, pigeons on rooftops make it clear that this is one project where artists worked in tandem with engineers. The list of minutiae is endless.
Space is demarcated by world regions: the Taj Mahal stands next to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and then the Sands Resort in Singapore. Along the line are also displays from China, including Tiananmen Square; the Potala Palace in Tibet.
There are several dazzling miniatures from elsewhere, including depicting Paris – a sweep of the city which shows both Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe; the Kremlin in Moscow; the Ka’aba, and massive Israel, which takes almost one full wall. There are also realistic miniatures of Stonehenge and the Pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
There are several additional touches one will enjoy. A key, which put into a slot in some of the exhibits, makes some parts of the miniatures move. The Taj Mahal doesn’t have a slot, though. There is for the Ka’aba, with the miniatures of people standing, come to action, begin to circle it.
One can also get a photo taken with a 3D photo scanner, for $44. The price includes a small miniature of choice; for $130 a small figurine will be made of the visitor, become part of Gulliver’s Gate, make one ‘immortal’.