See the World in Miniature at Gulliver’s Gate in Times Square
By Katelin Walling

See the World in Miniature at Gulliver’s Gate in Times Square

March 13, 2017   |   Local News - Manhattan  

   
Soon, you’ll be able to travel the world—and occasionally through time—without leaving Times Square. 
    

Gulliver’s Gate (a nod to Gulliver’s Travels) is a re-creation of various major cities across the world in Lilliputian proportions—built using the miniature HO scale of 1:87. While the soft opening isn't until April 4, we got a sneak peek at what visitors will find.

The extremely family-friendly venue—changing tables will be in all bathrooms, a private nursing station will be available for breast-feeding moms, and strollers will be welcome—is set to become one of the most interactive miniature exhibits in America. “We think that kids are going to be blown away with the interactivity and seeing the world at their scale,” said Jason Hackett, head of marketing for Gulliver’s Gate.
      

gulliver's gate model citizen scale
Courtesy Gulliver's Gate

The adult model citizens in Gulliver's Gate are approximately ¾-inch tall.

      

A Whimsical, Interactive Experience

Upon arrival, visitors will exchange their tickets for a skeleton key to the gates (beginning May 9), which will “unlock” the interactive elements throughout the re-creation. Some examples we saw include Nessie poking her head out of Loch Ness in Scotland and a bullring spinning to reveal a bullfight in which the bull, in an unusual turn of events, antagonizes the matador with a muleta in Spain. (You’ll want to keep an eye out for other humorous scenes like these—Hackett said the builders integrated some subtle and overt humor throughout.)
     

bullfight at gulliver's gate times square
Katelin Walling

Gulliver's Gate visitors can use their key to the gate to "unlock" various interactive components to the exhibit. Here, the bullring turns to reveal a bull antagonizing a matador in a humorous turn of events.

     

More Than Just Buildings

You’ll see renderings of famous buildings from all over the world—the Empire State Building, the Taj Mahal in India, the London Bridge in England, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and the Eiffel Tower in France, among many others. Just don’t expect to see the full Empire State Building and One World Trade—they are so tall IRL that even built to scale they don’t completely fit in the space. You’ll also see some scenes from history (remember the traveling through time mentioned earlier?). Catch a glimpse of the Beatles walking across Abbey Road, a Lenape village in New York, and Colossus of Rhodes standing over a harbor in Greece.
     

gulliver's gates colossus of rhodes
Katelin Walling

Visitors will see scenes from throughout history, including Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

      

A Culturally Inclusive Exhibit

Eight countries took part in building Gulliver’s Gate (NYC was built in Brooklyn; Niagara Falls was built in Montreal, Canada; Europe was built in Rimini, Italy; Russia was built in St. Petersburg, Russia). The stylistic differences in the models show how the different countries interpret their regions and what they see as culturally significant. “One of the most important things for us is inclusion,” Hackett said. “We want you to be able to see yourself in the model, no matter where you’re from.”

And you actually can—for an extra fee (pricing TBD)—step into a 3-D scanner and be rendered as a Lilliputian-sized model citizen (approximately ¾-inch tall for adults) to become part of the exhibit.
     

gulliver's gate red square russia
Katelin Walling

The Russian section of Gulliver's Gate is entirely handcrafted (made of balsam wood and hand painted), while other countries utilized 3-D printing. 

    

Learn How it Works

Perhaps the most fascinating parts of Gulliver’s Gate will be the behind-the-scenes looks at how the models were made and a peek at how all the moving parts are monitored. When the exhibit opens, the wood and high-tech model shops will remain open for visitors to interact with the model builders and learn how the mini cities were created, and a hallway will be filled with projections of the entire building process. The command center that monitors the circuitry and interactive components of the miniatures will be open for visitors to see, and the engineers are encouraged to explain how things work to guests—don’t worry, they’ll explain things in a way that non-engineers will understand. (Who knew STEAM education could turn into a job like this?!)
        

gulliver's gate brooklyn bridge detail
Katelin Walling
A close-up of the detail on Brooklyn Bridge in Gulliver's Gate—when it opens, some cars and trains in the exhibit will move.

    
Gulliver’s Gate is located at 216 W. 44th St. in Times Square. Previews begin April 4, and tickets can be purchased at gulliversgate.com (purchase before March 15 for an early-bird discount). 


Main image: Visitors will see all the major landmarks of New York City at Gulliver's Gate, inlcuding the Brooklyn Bridge, which is complete with pedistrians, cicylists, cars, and MTA busses.
Katelin Walling


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