Maker Faire New York

The New York Maker Faire was held on September 17 and 18, 2011. The site was the grounds and buildings of the New York Hall of Science, which is situated on the where the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs were held. Both of us had wanted to get over to see the Unisphere, which is still there, along with some other structures. But we were kept busy enough at the Faire that we simply ran out of time for any other sightseeing. We attended the Maker Faire for both days and still didn’t see everything that was there.

The Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) proves that it's childproof as well as tornado-proof.

A life-sized Mouse Trap game.

This fish bicycle was seen circling the grounds during the show.

Now, where did I put the marshmallows?

In addition to presentations, there was enough entertainment to keep everyone occupied. A life-sized Mouse Trap game re-created the children’s game, a Rube Goldsbergesque device that sent a ball through a series of curving slides and other fantastic gizmos to finally drop a trap over the top of an over-sized mouse. Talk about overkill!

Most of the Faire was set up on asphalt, and there were a lot of people on bicycles of various designs riding about the parking lot. One bicycle was covered with pink fabric and made to look like a fish; another one looked like a shaggy dog. I saw plenty of skateboards and over transportation things that had been modified. But the most interesting transportation device had to be the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, or TIV, built by filmmaker Sean Casey. There was supposed to be a presentation, but we got mixed up with the scheduling or else it was cancelled. The TIV was parked behind the science museum and on full display. Its doors were open, and swarms of kids were climbing in an out of it. There were “do not touch the controls” signs on the dashboard, but it’s doubtful if any of the kids could read the signs. We managed to get a couple of photos of each of us in front of the TIV before the next swarm engulfed it in writhing arms and legs. Okay, that sounds gross, but it was actually kind of funny. There was a drop-down door panel on the left side of the vehicle with a handle. I lifted it to see how much it weighed and found that it was pretty heavy.  It’s one thing to see something like this on television, but up close it’s pretty impressive because you start to realize just how much work and innovation went into building it.

There were sculptures and interactive art thingies, too. The coolest (and hottest) had to be this dragon, which spit out a steady stream of propane-powered fire. Every once in awhile the guy managing it would crank up the flow and a huge gust of flame would shoot out over people’s heads. Saturday it got pretty chilly, and the heat from that flame was nice!

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