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Queens Chronicle

Panorama Challenge tests NYC knowledge

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Thu Feb 28, 2013.

The Panorama of the City of New York gives visitors to the Queens Museum of Art an opportunity to see the famous sites of the city all in one day, and in miniature. And for the trivia and geography masters, it tests their knowledge of New York history.

On Friday, March 1, visitors can participate in the 6th annual Panorama Challenge, hosted by Levy’s Unique New York!, The Queens Museum of Art and The City Reliquary. They will be asked questions with audio and visual help from the sprawling NYC replica.

“I spend most of my days talking about New York and thinking about New York and a lot of what tour guides do is say things over and over again,” Jonathon Turer, a tour guide with Levy’s and quizmaster of the Panorama Challenge, said. “I like to think about things differently and maybe talk about them differently.”

There will be 36 two-tiered questions, with one easy question and one hard question in each set. And, Turer said, they all have a twist to them.

The two-tiered questions, named “New York Novices” and “Panorama Pros,” are new this year, and will give teams two chances to win. Turer said they also give those who have attended the Panorama Challenge in the past a fresh aspect of the event.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Turer said, adding that last year’s event had about 300 people. “We have people who have been coming back and reformulating teams.”

Turer himself has been coming back for years. He started out just helping with the laser pointers when Levy’s asked for his help, then writing some questions the next year and finally becoming quizmaster.

“It’s sort of addicting,” he said.

But, what makes this event even more unique, is the venue itself — the Panorama, a unique scale model of the entire city.

“It’s one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring things in any museum in the city and the connection with the city itself is really incredible,” Matt Apter, MC of the Panorama Challenge, said. “Its scale is pretty unbelievable. I’ve taken people inside the Queens Museum just to show them the Panorama, and just watching their expressions when they see that is phenomenal.”

Audio clues and laser pointers will highlight various landmarks, architectural structures, neighborhoods and more on the Panorama, and teams will be responsible for identifying them.

An essay questions portion and song clues will also be determining factors for the winning team.

Judges Lee Gelber, dean of NYC Tour Guides; Andy Sydor, NYC Know-It-All; and Kevin Walsh, webmaster and author of “Forgotten New York: Views of a Lost Metropolis,” will be available for the close-call encounters.

Admission will go to support the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Food will also be available for purchase, and The Brooklyn Brewery will be providing beers while the Kings County Distillery will be providing samples of whisky, of course, for over-21-ers only. A free shuttle will be traveling between the Queens Museum of Art and the 7 train’s Mets-Willets Point stop.

“Everybody who works for Levy’s just loves New York history,” Turer said. “They breathe it and sweat it and it’s like an everyday thing. We just love sharing that with other people. We think it’s fun and it turns out other people think it’s fun, too.”

‘Panorama Challenge’

When: March 1, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadow Corona Park, near the Unisphere

Tickets: $10,(718) 592-9700


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