Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

On Site: A Small World, After All

Malky Lowinger

If you think the world is too big, try visiting 25 cities across five continents in just three hours

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

 Mishpacha image


A s jaded New Yorkers, we think we’ve seen it all: the tall buildings, the glitter and glamour … the subway. But then comes Gulliver’s Gate, a new attraction located in the Times Square area that manages to surprise us. And that isn’t easy for a New Yorker.

Gulliver’s Gate is a 50,000-square-foot world in miniature where you can visit 25 cities across five continents in the span of a few hours. The vast space contains more than 100,000 miniature people, 1,000 trains, and 10,000 cars. Approximately 600 artists from eight different countries built Gulliver’s Gate, which opened in May of last year.

Creator Michael Langer says he dreamed up the idea more than five years ago, then just happened to bump into Eiran Gazit, the creator of Mini Israel, while visiting a mountaintop in Guatemala.

“I was one of those kids who loved to build models. I just didn’t have the dexterity to do it myself,” says Michael, who grew up in Brooklyn and the Five Towns and now lives in Manhattan. “Together, Eiran and I came up with the idea of building this in the heart of Times Square.”

The $40 million project, which is a full city block, took 16 months to build and the co-founders insisted that each model be built on location. That meant teams of designers, sculptors, and model makers worked together to build the different models, which were then shipped in pieces to Times Square, where a new group of engineers, designers, architects, and painters put the pieces together.

It was a massive undertaking, Michael says. “The nuts and bolts of this project,” he says, “were really hard. I would say it was almost impossible to make this work. But with a lot of tenacity from people who believed in this, we made it happen.”

Did he ever stop and ask himself, “What am I doing?”

“Every single day,” says Michael. “Every single day.”

Nevertheless, he also realized that he had tapped into something special. 


A Giant Little World

I come out of the subway at the Times Square station and am greeted by massive billboards, flashing neon lights, and soaring skyscrapers. The city’s tourist industry is booming and the sidewalks are overflowing with humanity. It’s a festive and noisy atmosphere — but also a bit overwhelming. So it’s almost a relief to duck into 216 West 44th street, the home of Gulliver’s Gate, named for the giant in the Jonathan Swift classic, Gulliver’s Travels.

On this cold, end-of-winter day, the space is packed, especially with families and young children. There’s a buzz in the air as parents and their kids ooh and aah at the different buildings, people, and scenes, marveling at the detail.

I’m eager to begin our tour, so our guide leads us to the airport exhibit, an impressive re-creation with runways, airplanes, terminals, and lounges. Runways are lit up and air traffic controllers sit high in their tower. I look closely through the window of the terminal and I can make out a miniature airport scene, complete with impatient passengers waiting for their flights and hand luggage strewn about.

But this is no static model. A group of boys are glued to the exhibit, totally fascinated as they watch the airplanes rev their engines, taxi down the runway, accelerate, and then — to everyone’s delight — zoom into the air! Gulliver’s Gate is a little boy’s dream come true, a supersized, world-class Lego playland filled with model trains, planes, people, and automobiles.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 702)

Related Stories

Inside Israel: A Reprieve, Not a Cease-Fire, on the Northern Front

Eliezer Shulman

As Iran’s missile threat grows, IDF drills for three-front war

Double Take: Breathing Space

Shaina King

“Right!” I said encouragingly. Was I doing this right? “That’s all. Lots of people live like that. W...

Endnote: The Sweetness of Torah; Don’t Send Anyone Else

Riki Goldstein

“If people were to feel the sweetness of Torah they would ‘go crazy’ for it, because Torah includes ...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you