Backman began his unusual career by modeling the city's iconic cable cars when he was in college. He decided to work only with glue and toothpicks. This one was displayed at Maker Faire 2011 in San Mateo, Calif.
It's illuminated by 100 LEDs and has been on display at Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum in Hollywood, Calif.
Praised by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the 28-inch model was part of a 2006 Backman exhibition in the landmark's lobby to mark its 75th anniversary.
He spends an average of 10 hours a day on his art, and won't abide any distracting music or phone calls.