Last Friday night (a week ago – March 6), we had one of our coolest New York City experiences ever: the 8th Annual Panorama Challenge hosted by Queens Museum/The City Reliquary/Levys’ Unique New York, held under the approving light of the Unisphere at the Panorama of the City of New York.
The previous Monday (March 2), I accompanied friend & fellow Greater Astoria Historical Society board member Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York to the Guides Association of NYC 1st Annual Awards Gala (he was nominated & won “Outstanding NYC Website!”), where I was amicably shamed – & rightfully so – by other lovers of all-things-NYC for never having visited the Panorama. Also intimidated thus far from taking the somewhat daunting New York City Sightseeing Guide exam (while I may be obsessed with NYC, my retention of trivia & test-taking abilities aren’t as strong), we decided the Panorama Challenge was the best occasion for soaking up geographical, historical, sports, etc. tidbits on the 5 boroughs from the know-it-alls of the city, so off we went! Arriving through the snowy fields of Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the good nature & humor of other guides & NYC organizations, we were encouraged to create or join a team, not just observe. While trying to come up with a name as pithy as others (“Give ’em Hell Gate” “Metropolitan Trivia Authority” “Below the Beltway”), we settled on “Kings & Queens” (since representing Brooklyn & Queens), but during our over-thinking of the whole process, the 2011 champions & new pals, the “5 Boro Thoroughs,” graciously invited us to their team = there was no turning back. Sandwiches, snacks & beer were on hand, so we fueled up for the laser pointing & questions.
Built for the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair & updated as recently as 1992, the Panorama is absolutely, breathtakingly awesome. One could spend hours – days – studying it, finding your residence, historic building, favorite place, landmark. Team members ideally separate & spread out around the Panorama to gain different vantage points during the contest. The little planes constantly taking off from & landing at La Guardia Airport held my gleeful attention throughout, so I had to remind myself there was a quiz at hand & to focus; despite, more factoids than my little duo’d like to admit escaped us. Fortunately, the rest of our teammates were NYC knowledge all-stars, we pooled our responses, & came in 3rd (57 of 63 possible points)!
Kevin/Forgotten NY got too good in years past & is no longer allowed to “play,” but has since become a judge at the event. The mighty women of Batala kept us going with their drum beats at “half time” & after the game.
We left out into the light of the just past-full moon & Unisphere, determined to come back & do better next year, & more in awe of this city than ever.
(P.S. Other favorite NYC events/experiences include: tours & presentations by Forgotten New York, & the dressing up/down carrying-on-in-the-NYC-streets of Idiotarod, No Pants Subway Ride, St. Pat’s For All Parade, Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival, Coney Island Mermaid Parade, Pride NYC march, & NYC Annual Halloween Parade.)
Click here for: Date With My City’s full photoset of the evening.