It’s One Way to Get Your Hands on a Bit of New York Real Estate
The first taker was the New York Mets. In a ceremony on Monday morning, Claudia Ma, a City College architecture student, walked onto the panorama and, like a giant monster in a Japanese disaster film — but with more finesse — pulled the model of Shea Stadium from its foundation. She fastened the new Citi Field into place, mirroring the real-life replacement under way not far from the museum. (Those nostalgic for the old Shea can now visit the model in the museum’s World’s Fair exhibit.)
In the audience was Helen M. Marshall, the Queens borough president, who donated $250 to adopt her house in East Elmhurst.
Adopt-a-Building will raise funds dedicated to maintaining the panorama and the educational programs built around it, including tours for schoolchildren. The models are to be built by City College architecture students.
The possibilities immediately raised a number of questions both selfish and civic-minded.
First of all, what if you have the disappointing experience of locating your own corner but finding that your building — a 12-story prewar apartment house in distinctive yellow brick with lion’s head cornices — is represented by a generic five-story tenement? (While viewers can delight in spotting precise details, like the green roof of the Carlyle Hotel and the steel-ribbed Unisphere, not every structure merits an exact replica.)
“We’d be happy to update it if your co-op board would like to get together and pool your money,” offered David Strauss, the museum’s director for external relations.
But what if it’s a rent-stabilized building?
“I’d have to boil down the price,” Mr. Strauss said. But he warned jocularly that like stabilized rents, the price might rise by a fixed percentage each year.
Seriously, though, “There is always room for negotiation when working with the general public,” he said. “Like in the real estate market.”