Gulliver’s Gate is a 50,000 square foot exhibition that presents miniatures of 25 cities from around the world, including obvious big shots such as Paris, London, and Beijing. At the moment it sits smack dab in the middle of New York’s Times Square. Luckily enough, Buenos Aires made the cut, and is represented in all its glory, with sceneries from Puerto Madero, La Boca, and the porteño downtown.
Most tourists will be driven toward one of the main attractions of the bite-sized Argentine capital: a mini tango show in Caminito that is triggered by a key and plays to the rhythm of Por una cabeza. But let’s be honest, the true jewel of the crown can be found a few centimeters away and is none other than La Boca’s own Avellaneda bridge, complete with a full-on standoff between protesters and police forces. Touristy tango is cool and all, but is there really anything more Argentine than a traffic-blocking protest? Keep an eye out for one of the guys at the forefront of the protest about to launch a stone with all his might.
The folks in charge of Buenos Aires and the rest of the Latin American cities are actually from Argentina. That would be the Martínez family who are from Pilar, located in the northern suburbs outside of Buenos Aires. The enterprise required the work of 15 (regular sized) model makers who worked for 189 days in their (also regular sized) workshop. Ricardo and his four children – Ricardo Jr., Jorge, Peter and Gabriela – have been working with their company Samtrains that specializes in model trains since 1985, so they were undoubtedly the best suited for this massive (yet, ironically, small) feat.
Even though they nailed many of the continent’s most prominent landmarks, such as Brazil’s Christ Redeemer in Pan de Azucar, Peru’s Machu Picchu, and the Panama canal, the creators really went for specific details regarding their home country. Besides the aforementioned protest (again, genius) there is an asado on the side of a road, a family cooling off in a pelopincho on the terrace of a building, and even a construction site with worker holding an UOCRA (Unión Obrera de la Construcción de la República Argentina) flag on top. There are bound to be a few guys sipping mate and bitching about Macri in there somewhere as well, but you’ll have to look really hard and listen in for those.
FYI: even in miniature size, inflation in Argentina is still, somehow, huge. Sorry about that.
You can read more about Gulliver’s Gate exhibit in NYC here.